Tag Archives: project management careers advice

8 Interview tips you need to know – PM Career Tips

So you’ve worked hard to get noticed by the employers or been through the battle of getting recruiters to represent you and the hard work has paid off as you have an interview pending, or if you are fortunate then you may have a few lined up. This is the point where you don’t sit back and wait for the day; you need to apply yourself to really impress the interviewers. Often those who have reworked their CVs find it an important refresher for what they have done over the years and it really brings home the fact that we easily forget important (and relevant to interviews) pieces of work. Also those who have sat comfortably in a role for a long time or have secured assignments without interviews will not be as prepared as those who regularly go for interview. Here’s a guide to getting yourself ready and creating a good impression at interview:

 

  1. Go through your CV and refresh yourself on what you have been doing over the past few years, pay particular attention to areas relevant to the role you are interviewing for and dig deep into your memories by walking through assignments step by step to draw out any additional detail which may not be addressed on the CV.
  2. Read the job description and draw out key areas of requirement, those listed core competencies are a good starting point. For example if they are asking for Change Management then you will need to supply a good example of when you have managed change, think about the bereavement curve, what the key challenges were and how you overcame them.
  3. Start to pull out some strong examples which you feel will be good to talk about and apply the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Actions, Results), be clear on the message you want to deliver and keep to the facts, being theoretical is not useful to the interviewer especially when you’ve actually done it so tell them how it was.Interview Preparation
  4. Examples of work, some interviewers may ask you to take an example of a stakeholder communication plan or project plan – in this case take a portfolio with some strong examples and be prepared to answer questions about it.
  5. Research the company, so many people barely do this so take time to really understand what the business does and what key challenges they may be facing, who are their competitors, what’s new on their news pages. Also take a look about what others are saying about them, know all there is to know – really demonstrate your buy-in to them and the role.
  6. Do a dummy run to the offices – don’t leave the journey to chance. It is always good practice to time how long it takes and which trains/buses you need to take (or where to park the car) and going at the same time of day as the interview will take place a day or two before will give you a good idea of traffic etc. Do remember to take enough change for the meter if you are driving, I have known one candidate turn up to interview stating they can only stay for half an hour as they only had enough change for that on the meter – yes really!
  7. Organise what you are going to wear a day or two before; ideally all should wear a suit or smart office clothes, even those who are fashion conscious need to tone it down for an interview. Nothing too outlandish or uncomfortable either.
  8. Put together some good questions to ask the interviewer, it is good practice to think through the role and business – this will naturally bring up some questions about how you will fit into the team, what you’ll be doing and what is expected from you within the first few weeks/months. Write a list, better to include more than you’ll ask as some will inevitably be covered by the interviewer during discussion.

7 step guide to job application – PM Career tips

Here’s your 7 step guide to reaching success when looking for a new job:

  1. Research – when you take the decision to start looking for a new role you really need to understand the industry and the roles you are applying for, make a start by looking at the types of roles you wish to apply for. Job descriptions and adverts are widely available online, by reading through them and understanding what is involved you will quickly identify the roles most relevant to you. Also spend some time researching the industries you wish to work in. Look at some of the larger corporate websites to gain a greater knowledge of what is hot at the moment as these will likely be the growth areas in that field. Start to match up your skill-set and exposure to relevant projects, make a note of these and use them as examples in your CV.
  2. Make a list – gather a list of the relevant role titles to your skill, and place in a spreadsheet to keep track of websites which yield good search results for them. As well as searching job boards, think about placing random searches into search engines as you will also bring up roles with direct employers too which you may have otherwise missed – a lot of employers will only advertise on their own websites.
  3. Focus – Ensure you are spending time on roles which you can meet a minimum of 90% of the criteria listed, this saves you wasting time on roles which you are unlikely to get into the short-list for and keeps your list down to a manageable size. It is important to streamline your applications so you can spend more time tweaking your CV and writing a cover letter for so you can yield more results. It is quality not quantity!7
  4. Make another list – create another spreadsheet of roles you have applied to and through which websites, when etc. you need to be organised when you start receiving calls from HR / recruiters etc. it does make all the difference when you sound on the ball during these calls.
  5. Follow up – leave it a day or two after you make an application then call up the person handling your application. Check it has been received and offer to clarify anything further they may need to know. Round up the call by asking when you can expect to hear a response regarding your application – remain professional throughout, this includes speaking to receptionists etc. be friendly, clear, helpful and don’t let frustrations show. The person handling your application makes the decision whether to pass on your CV to clients/hiring managers so keep in mind they are testing you from the first point of application. Put yourself in their shoes – if you come across abrupt or desperate then they are highly unlikely to put your forward through fear of having their reputation soiled. 

12 stage plan to finding that next role – PM Career Tips

Decided to take that next step and look for a new role, but don’t know where to begin? Look no further, here is you 12 step guide to finding that next role:

 

1.    Check your CV – get it professionally reviewed, plenty of organisations will do this for free including The CV Righter.

2.    Make appropriate updates – listen to the feedback given and make sure you address these in your CV.

3.    Make a list – what do you want to achieve? More money, a new challenge, career progression.

Moving on 4.    Research – look at the roles out there which match your skill-set and start to really understand where your applications will progressed.

5.    Networks – make contact with your networks and let them know you are looking for a new opportunity.

6.    Get your CV out there – place your CV on job websites and register with agencies. Make sure you refresh regularly so you are not going to the bottom of the pile.

7.    Decide who you want to work with – having made a decision about which agencies and job boards work for you, keep to a short list of these and keep in regular contact.

8.    Be clever – set up “jobs by email” and google alerts so you can let the technology do the trawling for you.

9.    Research employers – understand all there is to know about the companies you wish to work for and keep an eye on activity. You may get ahead of all your competitors by anticipating new roles due to changes in the organisation such as new product launches, partnering with other businesses and mergers.

10. Join in professionally related discussions – LinkedIn and Twitter often have lots of discussions; you can get yourself noticed and hear about new roles through such networks.

11. Review – keep an eye on your applications and see what works and what doesn’t, you may need to revisit point 1 if you are not harvesting interviews.

12. Keep organised – a simple spreadsheet covering all your applications and endeavours to keep track of everything is a good way to help generate new ideas and see trends for the right jobs for you with specific agencies and job boards.

Not getting a good response from your job applications – PM CV Tips

Taking that step back into the UK job market can feel like a lonely place at times, applying for roles and waiting for calls. But how do you know if you are being seriously considered for the roles you really want. We’ve all applied for jobs we’re not entirely bought into; often this is done whilst we are applying for roles we really want. Therefore if we look at the volume of applications being made versus the call backs and subsequent interviews being secured we will have a good indication of whether your CV is working for you or not. Proof is in the pudding so to speak, so you should be seeing a healthy response from your efforts – if you aren’t then it is probably time to revisit your CV. Of course it could also be that you are not applying for the right roles, you must be realistic in your aspirations, matching roles to your skill set and ensuring your CV reflects your seniority.

Scores on the door

All common issues and all easily tested through seeking feedback from your applications, recruiters can be difficult to get a hold of admittedly but you should be making the effort to speak with them about your applications; asking for feedback is a good idea. Be careful of those recruiters trying to engage you into training or paying for thorough feedback and also those who will say anything to get you off the phone. A good reputable agency will take time to speak to you about your CV with some constructive feedback. If you haven’t been considered for a role, ask why? What is missing from your CV which would have you be considered for the role. Remember recruiters see hundreds of CVs per day and some feedback isn’t asking too much. It is in a recruiter’s interest to help you, the better your CV is, the easier you are to place. Do not assume that agencies rewrite or tweak your CV for applications – this is deemed as too time consuming and writing CVs is a honed skill set which doesn’t naturally correlate for all in the recruitment profession. Make sure you gain some feedback from your peers, do you know anyone in HR who might be willing to look at it for you? All feedback is good feedback, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time – learning how others translate your CV is very important, once you have the feedback, be constructive and make changes – it could be the difference between getting interviews or endlessly applying for jobs with no response.