There’s always a lot of talk about skill-sets and particularly transferable skills; however if you want to transfer your career into the project management field then it is important to highlight the right skills which will be of greatest benefit to you and your potential employer. Now we all know there are differing types of project management roles from support through to managing and there are also more technical PM roles too – not just IT, they may be construction / engineering etc where you need to have a good knowledge of the field as well as PM methods to be successful in delivering benefits. So I am going to cover some key transferable skills for the PM aspect not any specific industry based element, here are a few to consider:
- Investigating – Researching and questioning why? Key components to any good PM professional, being able to push back with quantifiable evidence is required even more now that funding is tight and projects benefits really do need to be explored thoroughly before starting off another project.
- Planning – Planning / scheduling projects, predicting outcomes / scenarios, organising events and preparing for tasks – it’s a must!
- Leadership – Core requirement for any good Project Manager and comes in very handy for Programme Support professionals too.
- Influencing – The ability to gain buy-in is a big requirement for PM professionals, whether it’s from senior management, external (or internal stakeholders), sponsors or suppliers – you need to be able to persuade and encourage others.
- Teamwork – Proving you can bond with others and build a strong force which produces results is key to successful project delivery.
- Problem solving – Taking different viewpoints and exploring solutions is a big part of PM, from understanding workstream leads other commitments to supplier issues.
- Budgeting – At some point you with be either managing your own budget or monitoring budgets on projects in a support element.
- Decision making – The ability to look at your options and actually pick a way forward is crucial especially in a critical situation.
- Training – Working with others either as a manager (PM) to mentor and train people in the project team or as a support person (PMO) to train others in various aspects of the project lifecycle such as risk management etc through workshops and 1 2 1 engagement.
- Organising – From coordinating teams and individuals, arranging meetings and resources to scheduling.
- Time management – Meeting deadlines and setting priorities are the core factors of project management and being on time is a given.
- Creating – Not always highlighted as a core skill for PMs but in my experience of delivering projects, inventing, originating, designing or composing play a big part to success.
Now you can use this as a starting guide to performing a skills audit – once you have a list of transferable skills, you then need to provide some good examples of each skill (where you have used them / how / outcomes etc). These will help you form a basis for applications to project management jobs.
Applying for a new role can be tedious at the best of times – we’ve all been there, wondering after making a few applications is we’ll ever hear anything back from recruiters and employers. In a deflated state we start to become less professional to sending off our CVs as there seems little if no point in making any extra effort as no effort is offered in response. I have compiled a list of application mistakes below – some of which do seem a little farfetched, but having spent 5 years in recruitment trust me it does happen!
- Copy and pasting parts of the job advert into your CV – yes we have seen a number of candidates who feel they match a role so well that they simply take the requirements of the advert and paste into their remit and then apply for the role. Shockingly, these candidates do not think they will be found out.
- Applying for any role with “Project” in the title – this can be from Project Administrator paying £20k to Head of Projects paying £80k. There is a huge difference in requirements and skills required for these roles and by applying for roles at polar opposites of the scale you are demonstrating you do not read the adverts or you simply do not understand the roles – either way, it’s a quick route to being completely discarded for any role by that recruiter.
- Sending in an application for a Project Manager role when describing yourself as anything other than a PM and the cover letter even states you are applying for a completely different role. Attention to detail?
- Sending an email to apply for a role without attaching your CV and inviting the recruiter to call you to discuss. Unfortunately, you are highly unlikely to get that call – recruiters tend to have a long list of applications and will be managing more than one role, they need to see your CV first in order to decide whether you have the correct skill set for their role.
- Sending an application and 5 minutes later calling the recruiter to understand if you will be put forward for a role. Slow down! Give it at least a few hours before you chase up for that kind of feedback, it is OK to call and check the email has been received earlier though.
- Calling before applying and being rude to the receptionist – yes it has happened several times over, on occasions it was the MD answering the call. Everyone deserves to be treated pleasantly and you just don’t know who you are speaking with so be polite as rudeness is reported to the recruiter. First impressions last!
- Faxing your CV to the recruiter – this is not a good idea, faxes get lost in piles of invoices etc and the quality of the print is not ideal. Keep to emailing electronic copies; it’s quicker, cleaner and more cost effective for you. Plus, in a world where we email a lot for work – demonstrating your ability and willingness to do so is expected.
- Stating your family and their education etc – don’t do it, the CV is about you and although it is fantastic that you have a son aged 15 currently taking his GCSEs and a daughter currently studying for a journalism degree at university; they are not you! Keep the CV professional and solely about you and your work (and of course hobbies).
First impressions really do last; so no matter how frustrated or fed up of applying for roles you are – make sure each application is a good one. You may not be quite right for that role in the recruiters’ eyes but you will keep in their mind for future applications if you are professional and your CV is good. For advice on applications and a free CV review make contact today: www.thecvrighter.co.uk our CV review is free of charge with no obligation to take up our services.
When was the last time you had your CV reviewed? Your CV is the key tool to gain interest by hiring managers and recruiters. I have had a fair few enquiries recently from candidates wanting to understand why they had applied to many roles with little or no feedback; often describing their job applications disappearing into a “big black hole”, never hearing anything back. There are a number of reasons for this, one being that you may be one of up to 100 applicants (sometimes more depending on role type, location, salary etc.), as a rule of thumb the recruitment process will filter down the list of applications to a manageable shortlist of candidates to speak to or interview outright. When I asked the candidates if they had chased up their applications, a good percentage said yes but felt fobbed off with standard responses such as “candidates with a closer match to the experience required made the shortlist”. When pushed for further feedback the recruiters and HR staff were reluctant to provide any useful feedback stating the CV was OK. However, if the CV is “OK” and you feel you have a strong synergy to the role requirements, why are you not making shortlist? I always recommend going back to the recruiter for further feedback as it is important when you feel your CV says XYZ – why it doesn’t to the person reviewing it for the role.
As a professional CV writer, specialising in the field of project management I have sat on the recruitment side of applications too – I have spent many an hour discussing candidates CVs with the applicants in order to assist them in getting the right information down on the CV to ensure successful applications for roles in their field. As such one of the services we provide at The CV Righter is to perform a free CV review for candidates where a one to one appointment is made and areas of the CV are discussed. I have found the feedback for such a service to be very positive, after all another person’s perspective is always beneficial but particularly when that other person has actually done the job and recruited for hundreds of roles spanning, PMO, project management, programme management, portfolio management, change management and business analysis to name a few.
If you feel your CV needs that competitive edge and you feel you have gone as far as you can with it but still are not securing interviews – then it may be time to let a professional CV writing service take a look. We offer a competitive value for money service which is tailored to your needs. If the CV does not require a complete rewrite then we talk through areas that do need work and charge accordingly. We also offer an insight into the recruitment aspect of applications and advice on how to move forward with success by taking a detailed account of what you do at the moment and equip you with new approaches to applications and getting noticed in your field.
Get in touch with your CV for a free CV review – be prepared for honest and constructive feedback, we believe you can only add value if you know where you are going wrong. Visit www.thecvrighter.co.uk and make contact through our contact page.