People in PMOs – well that’s what a successful PMO is all about surely? It’s all well and good having frameworks, templates and processes but without the right people behind them driving, nurturing, coaching, selling, and adding value to the business change will not happen. So, are you talking about this aspect in your CV? I didn’t think so! I’ve touched on this on a number of occasions, as your teams are also a big part of the role. As a successfully PMO professional you will be dealing with and educating a wide range of people, from senior management teams, sponsors, delivery staff, users and technical teams to name a few. Your influence can mean the difference between an inclusive and responsive experience or poor comms, delivering out of scope and no buy-in to the value of what is trying to be achieved. Therefore it is important to think about what involvement you have had, and positive changes you have made to businesses – capture this information and make sure you demonstrate good examples of this on your CV.
PMOs are often challenged by senior management for their effectiveness and ability to add value so don’t just focus on process, you are an interface and as such you will provide a range of services whether it be consultative, supporting, mentoring & training or policing… Every business is different and if you have a range of exposure to PMOs then you should exhibit your portfolio to really enhance your chances or securing that next role and improve your rate/salary.
Over these past few weeks I have written a series of blog articles aimed to give you some ideas about putting together a strong PMO CV, as a definitive guide to cores areas which you should look to address when tackling your CV here is a list of all the articles related to the series with links:
The key thing to remember when putting together your CV is to ensure you add in some context, do not fall into the trap of writing a job description (or copying and pasting one), this will lead to a flat piece of writing which demonstrates you are either lazy, not adept at presenting pieces of information or do not really understand what or why you have been doing things. Your CV is the first thing an employer will see about you, how it is written speaks volumes about you, your intelligence, professionalism, and how you feel about your roles. As a PMO professional, you will be required to write reports, presentations and guidance notes, therefore if you cannot be clear and engaging in your own CV then it doesn’t look too good for the documents you will be producing at work. It goes without saying that spelling and grammar are always checked and do not get me started on formatting – how many of you state “advanced or intermediate user of MS Word” yet you cannot get your font right or bullets aligned?? That screams less than basic user to those reviewing your CV.
Next in the series of PMO CV tips I would like to talk about coaching and mentoring – arguably one of the most valuable roles a PMO can play within an organisation. Of course there are varying levels of coaching that can take place, depending on how the business is structured. Those who do not have a dedicated project management team that assign business heads to manage projects. Those growing in-house PM teams and the well established PM functions that may need some steering in the right direction. It is always worthwhile noting down a few details about what you are doing in your role regardless of whether you intend to move on or stay put for the meantime – this way, when you are ready to tackle the job of updating your CV you will have some notes to work from.
- Think about the skill-sets of those you are working with, their seniority within the business and how many you are supporting.
- What is it you are educating them in – planning, risk, change, benefits management, reporting etc.
- If you have those new to PM, are you teaching them how to manage a project? Working through scoping to close and lessons learned or on specific areas.
- You may have implemented new frameworks and be training top down.
- Have you been running workshops? Have you put together the presentations, workbooks and handouts?
- Are you writing training materials?
These are just a few areas to get you thinking, once you have made some notes you will be in a position to write some good bullet points for your work experience and you may also draw out an interesting case for a key achievement.
PMOs have evolved over the years and generation of the P3O® method has certainly pushed forward the promotion of the PMO working as a consultancy for the project team, as such the roles have become far more progressive therefore it is important to include this detail within your CV to really showcase your abilities.
We are all different and view our careers in a variety of ways; however one theme I have seen with a lot PMO professionals is passion. They really do enjoy going into organisations and making their mark, whether it be picking up the reins of a PMO, setting up a PMO or putting together programme strategies. The passion comes from seeing their work really making a difference to the business and of course, working with people. So when it comes to a CV, how can you really demonstrate this passion?
- The first point would be to think about some of your favourite examples of when you have added value, by listing some cases you will no doubt identify some themes.
- Bunch the instances into categories and think about what you enjoyed most about the experiences.
- Start to draft short statements which run through a basic overview, actions you took and results / benefits achieved.
- Now some examples may well be worth highlighting – these can be placed in the key achievements section, make sure you drive home the bits you are proud of and are demonstrated in your bullet points.
- Other pieces of work which are notable but may be better placed under the specific roles, I would suggest reducing the content down in this instance but you can still ensure you are getting the message across about your enjoyment of your work.
I have read many a PMO CV and some are fantastic, some are OK, others are not doing the candidate justice. On discussion I often find that there is a real passion and warmth around the work being done but the CV reads rather flat, when I point this out I am met with agreement. It often takes an independent evaluation of the CV to really highlight where improvements can be made, I always actively encourage people to ask for feedback from anyone they can as there will always be something brought to your attention.
I remember a few years ago I attended one of the APM PMOSIG events and took part in a group session talking through what is important for a successful PMO, lots of great suggestions were thrown into the hat but did tend to be along the lines of process, people, buy-in etc and not one of the PMO professionals had considered passion until I pointed it out. The winner of the most important element for a successful PMO ended up being “passion”.
Now job applications tend to be faceless with the process being “submit your CV for review” – you are not given the opportunity put across your personality or passion in person, so make sure you do it in your CV. PMO roles are very competitive (especially the well paid ones), you could be up against dozens of really strong candidates, what actually makes you think your CV will be picked over someone else??