It’s that age old question – to get your CV written professionally or do it yourself? The problem with asking someone else to write your CV is that you may miss a lot of the key detail required to secure you that all important place in the shortlist. However this professional CV writing service focuses primarily on you and what you have achieved over your career, making sure that all the key information sought after by recruiters and hiring managers is drawn out. We don’t just take your CV and reword it like many other CV writing services, we spend time with you to understand what your objectives are and ask all the right questions to produce a strong CV which really sings your praises and gets results. We have extensive experience of working specifically within the Project Management recruitment field and have actually worked in project management so we know that success is drawn by much more than just process. It is this unique skill set which makes us stand apart from other CV writers, you are taken along the journey to producing a strong CV which will equip you with knowledge and insight into how to update your CV in the future as your career progresses. Not everyone can write their own CV, often we are approached by clients who are happy writing others CVs but struggle to really convey their own experience. It usually takes someone from an objective perspective to be able to ask the right questions and put together a coherent document. We all have something we are great at – you are great at managing / supporting projects and we are great at getting all that detail down on paper.
Dear Nicola, I have been in the same role for 5 years (a Project Coordinator) within Central Government with a lot of experience in supporting hardware and software roll outs. I am due to be made redundant next month and so I have updated my CV and applied for 10 positions but not heard anything back. Can you tell me where I am going wrong please? John, Project Coordinator, London.
Hi John, many thanks for getting in touch. Firstly let me start by asking if the roles you have applied for are similar to the one you are currently doing? As it is common for PM professionals to apply for anything with PM job titles without reading the job description/advert properly. As you’ll probably be aware, job titles can be very misleading so it is important to read through each role before applying for it. Ensure you can meet at least 90% of what they are asking for, employers are very cautious on the skill set they will want on board the team and in a time where training has been cut they will want a close match to their requirements so you can slip into the role with minimal handholding. Once you start to look at all the roles out there, and there are quite a lot, you will start to recognise the ones you should be applying for and avoiding ones which aren’t going to gain a response.
The next step is to look at your CV, as I have reviewed your CV I can see you have gone into a great deal of detail around the core competencies used throughout the project lifecycle, however these do look a little bland in that there is no context so we have no clear idea of the size of projects you support or indeed the number of PMs you support. There is also a vague overview of the technologies you have been supporting the delivery of – something which can be very transferable into your next role. Your CV comes across very process driven, which is fine but there is little detail about engaging with stakeholders, PMs etc. which gives the impression that you may prefer to be hidden in project documentation. Not ideal when a Coordinator is usually the central point of contact on projects for the business.
The other issue may be that you are applying for private sector roles, and there is a prejudice with some employers that public sector staff will not transition well into a commercial environment. I believe that support roles are fully transferable; however you need to convince employers of this. By talking through the projects/technologies themselves and any exposure to dealing with 3rd party suppliers/stakeholders external to the council, you will assist the hiring manager in matching up your knowledge and abilities in supporting the delivery in such projects. By taking all the above advice and revising your CV you will have a stronger chance of securing interviews moving forward.
Project Management is all about variety and achievement – however it isn’t as simple as getting from A to B, anyone who has managed a project which has run smoothly will appreciate the hassle free approach but in reality this is a rarity. It is the challenges and blockers which really make for an interesting project and can really add value to your CV. These challenges can range from cultural issues, resistance to change and suppliers going under. Not to mention disparate teams and no buy-in from the senior management team – every PM professional I have spoken to has a portfolio of stories to share but it is rare to see any evidence of this on their CVs. Employers are usually aware of the major issues faced within the organisation when looking to bring in fresh talent and sharing these war stories can really add a new dimension to your application and set you apart from your peers. It isn’t about whinging, trust me, a lot of PM professionals feel sharing such detail would come across like this however written in a positive light on how you overcome significant challenges you are addressing some core areas such as management style, problem solving and organisation. Although the other perception is that it is all part of the job, to a point yes it is but it takes real skill to turn around a failing or troubled piece of work and as such why are you not singing your own praises? Focussing on particular aspects of PM such as the people element or process are key skills sought after by employers. Quantifying your skill set with some key achievements is a great way to showcase yourself in your CV and let’s face it; the job market is flooded so it is imperative you are marketing yourself in the document. Choosing a few achievements with some variety and also targeting specific examples for the roles you are applying for will certainly highlight you for the right reasons with employers and the all important gate keepers (recruiters/HR).
When noting your achievements you should look to set the scene with enough detail to be clear on the challenge then talk through what you did to rectify the issues, followed by the result / benefits. Keep to a short statement (the CV needs to be concise) and don’t be tempted to share more information than is necessary – it always gives the impression you struggle to get to the point with long winded statements; this is not a good impression to make as hiring managers will assume an hour long interview is likely to go on for 3 hours and project meetings will unnecessarily overrun. Remember it is not just the content that is being assessed, are you being clear, concise and demonstrating an understanding of what it is you do.
Last year seemed to fly by and the holidays often spring thoughts of change – whether the break sparks a need to move on from the old routine at work or for a completely new start, now is a good time to start updating your CV. At an event the other week I was having a discussion with a Project Director who told me he often puts his experiences to the back of his mind, well once it is done and dusted there’s little point procrastinating right!? True to a point however it is good practice to keep adding detail to your CV even if you haven’t time to shape it up. That way you are keeping a record of interesting pieces of work which will refresh your mind when you do have time to update the document properly. Another project professional I was speaking to told me that at the project close down meeting he rounded up by telling his team to update their CVs, ensuring they are keeping a record of achievements. This is fantastic practice and something I believe is quite rare for project leaders to promote. He is clearly demonstrating great leadership skills, not only encouraging celebration of success but also caring enough to have his team think about their own personal development.
Of course it isn’t always possible to keep updating your CV as work and personal commitments take priority and before you know it the thought has slipped your mind. If this is the case then now is the time to set some time aside to really work that CV and make it work for you. As the new year prompts a health kick and resolutions to give up bad habits, you can also take control of your career (which is less excruciating than giving up chocolate etc) – make a list to start, think about you as a professional and what you would have others read from your CV. If you have a proficiency in a particular area which yields you results then now is the time to start thinking about good examples of this skill so you can really back up what you say you are. Flex out those pinkies and get writing about what you enjoy in the PPM domain – you’ll find that it will come across as far more interesting than just stating XYZ like a job description and it will actually help hiring managers understand more about you.