Why a strong Project Manager CV is so important

I have been approached by a great deal of seasoned Project Manager’s over the past few months telling me how they would always secure new work whether it be contract or permanent, without a CV. Using their contacts from various areas such as previous clients, other Project Professionals in their field or acquaintances. Most stating that they received recommendations from contacts to hiring managers which would harvest interviews leading to successful placements. But as the market has evolved over the past few years and particularly more recently, they are finding this approach is becoming less than fruitful, often when recommended they are then asked to ping over their CV and are not hearing anything back. Unfortunately, although this type of job hunting is still one of the most successful routes, hiring managers are now pressured to only invite candidates in for interviews when their CV is good – despite the personal recommendation. There are a number of reasons a strong CV is now required; here are a few:

  • As there are less roles available recruiters are taking other steps to make placements such as a proactive speculative approach, identifying matches of candidates for a company / programme and sending over CVs stating “I came across this candidate and thought they would be a good fit in the team, I know you might not be hiring at the moment…” This approach will sometimes work – if you hit the hiring manager right at a point where they may be thinking of expanding the team but it also demonstrates to the employer the calibre of candidate available on the market. The standard of CV is usually exceptional (as it is a speculative attempt by the recruiter, the CV has to be good), this whets the appetite of the employer and also consciously and/or subconsciously sets a bar for what they will accept as a CV.Clarity
  • There also tends to be more presence from those in senior positions to analyse talent coming into the company – “we can’t afford to be taking on dead wood” – therefore those in a position to hire new personnel will be in a situation where they have to present a business case to their management team for new resources. Part of this will be presenting your CV – as much as the hiring manager may be keen to bring you on board thanks to your contacts super recommendation, the senior management team aren’t bought-in. To get them on-board they need to be able to see a good CV which says all the right things before they will consider allowing meetings/interviews to go ahead.
  • HR plays a large part in recruitment within a business and as such; don’t like to be left out of the loop. Hiring managers are reminded that all recruitment activities need to be run past them and CVs also get the full review process, again if your CV isn’t strong you will not get beyond the recycle bin.

Just because it worked before – doesn’t mean it will continue to work – as project professionals implementing change, you know this to be only too true. Although it is an alien concept, you must adapt to the change and present the employers with what they expect to see. After all, the CV demonstrates more than just your skills and experience – it shows others how you present important pieces of information, very significant in Project Management don’t you think!?

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