Stakeholders are key to project management and how you work with them can seriously impact your success, so it is important to ensure you are including detail about your stakeholders and how you interact with them within your CV. All too often I hear PM professionals say that “it goes with the job” – yes it does but don’t assume that reviewers of your CV will draw information like this from a job title. Also, we all work very differently and have differing levels of challenges with stakeholders; therefore you really do need to address your experience within the CV.
One good area to start would be to include an example of where you have overcome stakeholder challenges within a key achievement, this is a great opportunity to tell a story – keep it to the point and ensure you cover what the challenge was, how you overcame it and what the result was. Including your key achievements towards the top of the CV will ensure this detail is read within the first instance and is particularly useful for applications for roles clearly stating/highlighting a need for strong stakeholder engagement/management.
When writing the remit for your roles further information should be included in a bullet point, keep the focus on who/what/where/when. Not everyone deals with external stakeholders or globally dispersed – you can really talk about cultural issues etc with these examples. Internally there may be other factors such as matrix management environments, very senior staff and differing business priorities etc.
Your communication in PM is paramount; don’t expect not to be using this skill effectively in your job applications and the all important CV.
Stakeholders play a huge role in projects and effective communication is key to success, working closely with the team to ensure we are all singing from the same song sheet.
So why do so many not talk about their stakeholders in their CV? Your CV is the first piece of communication a hiring manager sees from you, by omitting detail about arguably one of the most important aspects of your role from the CV you are selling yourself short.
Let’s take a look at the fundamentals of stakeholder engagement:
- Establishing who your stakeholders are – once engaging in a new project it is important to understand who your stakeholders are and list them in order of importance to the project.
- Create a communications plan – work with your stakeholders to schedule in regular contact, understand their other commitments and set up a style which fits with this.
- Honesty – don’t hide major issues from your stakeholders, talk about them and provide tangible solutions. You aren’t doing anyone any favours by keeping them in the dark, being upfront but constructive is essential.
Adding this kind of detail alongside some context such as stakeholder locations, involvement and difficulties (yes we have all dealt with tricky customers), you can really start adding value to your CV. It is the anomalies and how you manage them which really start to set you apart from your peers in the field.
I have seen far too many CVs which place all the emphasis on the projects and none on how you work – yes, we want to know what the projects are but remember the CV is about you so we also want to see how you work. Simply listing a string of skills just doesn’t cut it with employers, actually adding in detail about what this means in your role is where you really add value. Forgetting the stakeholders is not giving the right impression and this is the first impression, so work on creating a CV which is inclusive and really tells the reader about you.