Underperforming Project Manager CVs

August 13, 2013

Our CV is a personal thing, in that we take it personally when we receive no feedback or rejection for jobs. After all, we have spent hours of blood, sweat, and tears putting together a document which talks through our life’s work and it reads great to us so why don’t others get it?

Lots of reasons I am afraid, and it is difficult for you to be objective when you have spent so much time creating it and you understand what the jobs involved. To others though it can be a mix of lists and terminology which they have never come across before, and when they have literally hundreds of CVs to review they will not spend extra time trying to decipher or pick up the phone to ask you to clarify.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons a CV may be underperforming:

  • Gaps in the CV – naturally there will always be a gap or two in a CV, it is (thankfully) not the law that you must go from one role to the next without a break. But you do need to address the gaps, if you were travelling, then fine, add in a line.
  • Nondescript profiles – this is very common on a CV, your profile needs to tell the reviewer what it is you do rather than telling them that you are motivated and have good time-management – a given for a project professional surely!
  • Less is not more – often the more senior the PM Professional the less information they add to the CV. Big mistake, huge! As you will be a high earner and the role will demand a lot more, you need to address this and demonstrate your worth. Work hard to really drill down what your role involves and don’t be shy when talking through the project lifecycle – employers do want to see this, especially reviewers who may have a tick list which will inevitably involve a number of competencies based around the project lifecycle.
  • Poor grammar and spelling – yes, we’ve said this over and over but still this is prominent in a lot of CVs. Think about how others will view this, if you cannot construct a document which makes sense and is spelt correctly what type of communications will you be sending out to customers and internal staff!?
  • Structure – PM is all about structure, no matter how ad hoc you perceive yourself to be. Structure is important for success and demonstrating this on your CV with an easy to read, flowing document is a must.
  • Internal terminology – easy to use this especially if you have been a organisation for a while. However it makes little sense to people outside the business.

If you are applying for roles and not getting responses, equally if you have your CV in databases for recruitment agencies and online and no calls – it is time to go back to the drawing board and work on your CV.

© Nicola Caswell-Thorp

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