8 Tips for a Better Project Management CV

8 Tips for a Better Project Management CV

Writing a CV as a project manager is difficult. You need to get your experience over to potential clients but, often, it is easy to fall into the trap of just listing all your projects whilst failing to showcase what you did and how you achieved it.

A great CV will open doors that you never thought possible and will give you many more career options, whilst a poor CV will get you nowhere. In today’s competitive, project management market you need to be a cut above the rest but how do you make sure you stand out? Here are 8 tips to help your CV to the top of the pile.

1. Write it yourself.

The task of creating your CV is never the most thrilling prospect, so the temptation can be to get a professional CV writing company to build it for you. This never (or hardly ever) works; a CV is a personal document, and you are the best placed person to build it. So, bite the bullet and get started.

2. Highlight your most recent work.

This is a paragraph (5 – 6 lines) that tells us what you are doing now and, very briefly, how you came to do it. Include biggest budgets, largest teams, methodologies, sectors worked in and state that you are delivering full life cycle projects (if you are).

3. Think about it.

Imagine that you are looking for a project manager yourself, what do you want to know about that person you are hoping to hire? You’ll want to know: what they have delivered; how they have delivered it; the scale of project (value / time);the number of people working on it (matrix management, 3rd party suppliers) and who their stakeholders were. Now make sure your CV answers those questions.

4. Keep it brief.

Research has shown than when CVs are being sifted through, the reader will spend one minute reading your first page, 45 seconds the second and 15 seconds the third. Most of the time, they will not read anything after this. Long CVs show poor communication skills, and most candidates are rejected purely on this basis, by recruiters, managers and HR teams. You don’t need to tell the reader about every project you have worked on, nor every technology used on every project.

Write about your role generally and tell us about the interesting projects in bullet points. You can change these projects depending on the role you applying to. The perfect CV is two pages, three pages is still good.

5. Be realistic.

Let’s get real no one single person can manage a £100 million pound project, or a team of 100 people, so don’t make claims like this. The truth is you might have 100 people working on your project, but you will not be managing all of them so tell the reader how that breaks down. Likewise with the budgets, we are only interested in what you have managed, not what the overall programme budget was.

6. Include Technical Skills where necessary.

While we’re not really fans of skills matrices on CVs, if you have skills in niche technologies or want to get picked up in a word search then do put the skills matrix at the end of your CV.

7. Be flexible.

You will find that each application you make will be asking for different skills so be prepared to change your CV for each position. Make sure you ask your agent what needs to be changed and this should increase your hit rate massively.

8. Avoid writing a long CV

When candidates edit a long CV it is always obvious. The CV never flows and the language just does not hang together. If you are sat with a 5+ page document right now, then write it again from scratch. You will miss / forget the stuff that is not important and your CV will be relevant and fresh.

Author

Stephen

Date

01 October 2021