We’ve gone over all the various aspects that make up a winning project management CV over the past few years but I thought it was a good opportunity to have a refresh at the core elements:
- Profile – your profile needs to be a good description of what it is you do, this makes sense but you’d be surprised how many feel the need to tell us they are organised and cheerful blah blah blah…! Think about the reviewer, give them a snapshot of your core skills and what it is you deliver/support/manage etc. If you cannot summarise what you do in a paragraph then there is a big problem, and this will be picked up on.
- Key Achievements – Tell us something about how you work, don’t repeat detail about delivering xyz on time and to budget, talk to us about the bits that make you a success. Think about what it is that you do best, whether it’s turning around teams, working with suppliers etc we want to know about it and how you bring out the best in what you do.
- Employment History – Balance the detail of the projects versus the core competencies; think about what job descriptions ask for, whether it be risk management, change control etc these are the things you need to address in your bullet points.
- Education & Training – List most recent first, pop on all those courses relevant to PM and don’t forget to list your practitioner candidate numbers.
- References – “references are available on request” is perfectly sufficient; we don’t want your referees to be harassed by recruiters looking to generate leads.
I’ve had a number of clients come to me recently asking how difficult it is to transfer into permanent roles for a number of reasons; one main concern is lack of stability with contract positions. This is why I always question those who decide to take a contractor route, in an ideal world you would command a good day rate and aim to work 6 months of the year with 6 months out of contract – however day rates aren’t always ideal and those who don’t plan carefully will need to be in contract for the full 12 months of the year. If you are looking to move into a permanent role, you should also realise that the change isn’t always ideal for everyone. The fact you have moved around a lot means you probably don’t settle too well into a permanent scenario. It is this reason that employers may become wary of considering you for a permanent job, they will question whether you are just taking the role because there are no contracts about and will you leave when the market improves.
It isn’t impossible to make the transition, however you will need to put in extra work with your CV and I would also recommend a strong cover letter detailing why the change from contract work. The CV will need more focus on where you have delivered from start to finish – not necessarily picking up part run projects and I would also focus attention on where you have improved team performance. Evidence of hitting the ground running is great for contract work but not necessarily required for FTE. However areas where you have improved overall project capability and really worked with the business will come across favourably in the CV.
Be ready for questions about your motives, you will be scrutinised at recruiter level, HR level and by hiring managers so it is important to get your story straight and believable.