Tag Archives: Project Management

Essential Directory to Making PM Job applications

I have written a number of articles containing tips and advice based on assisting PM professionals in securing that all important next role, job hunting should be a structured approach and does take some planning. Although the job websites make applications easy with one click to apply functionality, however some planning and organisation is required if you want to truly reap a good harvest.

A key starting point is setting out how and what you are applying for, this article provides some great ideas on how to structure an approach to your applications.

Once you have put together an action plan you need to start visiting some of the PM specific job boards and agencies, here is a list of some very useful sites.

Next, once you have a list of roles you wish to apply for you should take some time to match up your relevant experience to the job advert / job description. A cover letter can make the difference between being seriously considered for a role and being placed in a rather hefty pile of rejection CVs.  This article has an example of a cover letter which is written in response to a job description so you can really understand what detail you should be including.


I have said this before and I will say it again – don’t leave job applications to chance, with the market being flooded by applications it is important to make sure you are doing all you can to ensure your CV is being viewed positively. Taking the pepper gun approach of applying for everything just doesn’t work and can be detrimental to your endeavours – often making recruiters and hiring managers disregard your applications as soon as they see your name in their inbox again and that may well be the role you are well matched to but having seen you apply for lots of other roles which aren’t relevant to you, you have unwittingly given yourself a bad name / reputation.

Taking a targeted approach to applications will have your applications taken seriously and remembered for the right reasons.

Switching Industry – Project Manager CV Tips

There are many reasons you may be looking to swap into another industry and sector, such as growth areas in other industries like Financial Services, limited growth in your current field or you may just fancy a change. The job market is constantly evolving and competition is high with a great deal of project professionals looking to take on new assignments. Most advice tends to be that it is incredibly difficult to make the shift over but it isn’t an impossible task, just because there’s reported competition and hiring managers are deemed keen to employ what they know doesn’t mean you cannot do it. Establishing some diversity in your career achievements can really assist you in your career goals moving forward, demonstrating your ability to manage or support projects in a variety of industries and programmes / projects will really boost your perceived flexibility and validates you project management skills.

It is important to make sure you pull away from industry specific terminology in your CV and take a look at the bigger picture, in the Change routefirst instance if you have a great deal of experience in one area such as engineering or public sector – look at the projects which may be transferable into other sectors such as IT/technology or business change pieces of work.  Talk about the actual change and how you were instrumental in implementing; put yourself in the hiring managers’ shoes – what would they like to see? If they have a project which needs delivering, what areas are relevant to them? Think about the project lifecycle – how you deliver, and the type of projects, complexity, team sizes, budgets, technologies, tools used etc. By writing a more generic CV which addresses the users, impact and cultural changes you are starting to build a good picture of what your experience is, set aside from the industry itself. By coming from a different background you can add so much more to a business – asking questions which might be overlooked and bringing a fresh approach to “how we normally do things” whilst offering assurance with your stellar delivery track record.

Working to regulatory compliance is also a great skill that can be transferred into other industries, a great deal of industries have these types of projects and by demonstrating an ability to decipher conformity needs and work to them is valuable. Such as FSA regulations which are applied to new systems in industries across the board – fantastic if you are keen to get into Financial Services.

Don’t go too generic with the CV so the reviewer cannot understand what you have done but take back the terminology and focus on key deliverables combined with your competencies – produce a balanced CV which demonstrates your management style, highlights key achievements and sells you as a PM professional not necessarily an “Engineering PM” or “Public Sector PM”. Be defined by your delivery not the environment.

Writing a strong Project Manager CV – PM CV Tips

The title “Project Manager” covers a multitude of roles under its umbrella therefore it is important to paint a clear picture of what your role actually involves. Remember that project management is all about delivery, the reviewer needs to see what projects and programmes you were engaged on, were these multiple concurrent? Were they interdependent?

All PMs work differently and organisations work differently. Some organisations are matrix managed and others have dedicated PM teams. This can make a huge difference to how you get things done.

Programmes are more strategic by nature so giving the reviewer an idea of how involved you are strategically is paramount as is team and line management exposure.

Make Notes

A great deal of PMs fall into the trap of writing a long paragraph about the company – think about it, the CV isn’t a marketing document for them, it is a marketing document about you. Don’t waste valuable space, a short statement (a few words) can easily encapsulate the business and then you can use the space to talk through what you were engaged to do, including some detail about the project. This statement should be clear in that is states the type of business and what you are/were doing there. Then run through core competencies in the bullets underneath, do not cut and paste the job description – apart from it being so very obvious to reviewers it reads as lazy and we all know that the job description isn’t necessarily the reality of the role. We need to have some context which is where these questions come into play:

  • How big are the teams you are leading / working within?
  • Who do you report to?
  • Are you hands on or do you manage teams to deliver?
  • Who are your stakeholders?
  • Where are your stakeholders based and how do you communicate with them?
  • How structured an environment is it you work in?
  • What structures / methods are adopted?
  • Have you Introduced and embedded new processes / structure to projects and programmes?
  • Do you have full budgetary responsibility?

In addition to this, make sure you highlight out some key achievements, talking through the challenges you have come up against. Project management is rarely straight forward, it is this additional piece of information which will make you stand out from the crowd and bring some personality and management style to the document.

BA PM PMO PgM – Jack of all trades? Project Management CV Tips

A question I often get asked by recruitment candidates how describe themselves when they feel they are “a jack of all trades”. I was recently working with a client on their CV and asked them how they would describe themselves and was faced with a 5 minute dialogue. I pointed out that if he didn’t know, then how would a recruiter or hiring manager figure it out? The person in question is very much a team manager, contract manager and operations/projects manager. So when we drilled down to what the day to day role actually included it became clear that first and foremost he was actually head of operations and programme manager, he has significant exposure to contract management and leading large teams of circa 200 people. So when it came down to describing him on his CV we took this lead and placed him in a recruitment pigeon hole – unfortunately it is pigeon holing, but as much as we do not like being labelled it is important to define yourself clearly so others can understand what you do. If a reviewer cannot understand what it is you do in the first statement they will reject your CV, it is as simple (and harsh) as that.

Playing the game

Therefore when you are writing your profile on your CV you must think about this and categorise yourself, you can talk about demonstrable exposure and experience too but you must make that decision as to where your skill-set belongs. I don’t know too many project professionals who don’t have some exposure to Business Analysis or PMOs and equally, established PMs will have often delivered programmes of work and it is these blends of skills which are greatly appreciated in the business world. After all, how often have these additional skills and exposure come in handy for non-related assignments? Employers see it as having more for their money, but you do need to decipher the initial quandary for them – realistically, what is your job title? What is it you actually do?

I have seen some getting around this by having various versions of CVs, each tailored to one element of the skills and experience which can work too – the only issue I see arising from this is having multiple copies of your CV online and registered with agencies may raise questions, again about how you define yourself.