CV writing tips for securing the best project management positions

Published on: 1 Feb 2024

Finding your ideal job in project management is easy, you can take a look on our website right now, but securing that job in project management? This requires more work. The best way to start is by writing an effective CV that helps you stand out. It’s crucial for your CV to showcase your skills, qualifications and experiences that indicate you are the perfect fit for the project management role of your dreams. Let's delve into the key elements and strategies for writing a CV that’s tailored for a job in project management.

CV writing tips for securing t

Shout about your qualifications

Project management is a rapidly growing industry, with more companies looking to invest in people who know how to successfully manage a project. But did you know there’s a shortage of qualified project professionals? Be sure to talk about your project management qualifications to boost your employability – it’s what employers are looking for. Being qualified will set you apart from other candidates and demonstrate to employers and recruiters that you’re invested in your career, and you have the technical knowledge needed for project management.

In fact, APM’s Qualification feedback Survey revealed that 95% of people believe that taking an APM qualification will add value to their career.

“I’m certain that having two project management qualifications helped incredibly when it came to getting this job, as not only were PRINCE2 and APM assets on my CV, they also gave me a huge amount of confidence.” Emily Thornton, qualified project manager.

If you haven’t got a qualification but are still dreaming about a job in project management, definitely consider getting one. Holding a project management qualification like the APM Project Fundamentals Qualification (PFQ) will help you get to grips with theory, jargon and project management concepts, and they’re a great way to kick start your journey towards your dream job, and perhaps even becoming a Chartered project professional!

Skills to focus on

Every project management role is unique, and your CV should reflect how your skills and experiences align with the requirements of the position. The APM Salary and Market Trends Survey 2023 highlights the growing concern that there aren’t enough skilled staff, with “61% of respondents worried that this shortage will result in projects not being delivered successfully.” It’s important to identify the skills you need to be a great project manager everyone will want to hire.

The project manager salary trends for 2023 also highlights key skills that are essential for future project professionals:

  • communication leadership stakeholder engagement planning and monitoring, and risk management.

Read various job descriptions carefully and note down some of the key skills listed so you can include the most common ones in your CV. This will save you time when you’re adapting and editing your CV for different applications.  Use the Competence Framework to understand the competencies you need for the role you want, and align this to your skills and experiences in your CV. Create a dedicated section that covers your competencies and include how you used these skills in your previous roles.

Here are some examples of the technical and soft skills you should demonstrate in your CV that are also key competencies from the Competence Framework:

  1. Risk assessment and mitigation. Have you assessed and managed potential or actual risks? Talk about it.
  2. Budgeting and cost control. Show off your expertise in creating and managing budgets, ensuring financial goals are met.
  3. Demonstrate leadership. What happened when you were managing a particular team? How did you facilitate collaboration among cross-functional groups?
  4. Project planning and scheduling. Give examples of your ability undertake time-based planning with an emphasis on activities and resource.
  5. Stakeholder engagement. Highlight instances where you built and maintained positive relationships with people, both internally and externally, to build support to achieve intended outcomes.
  6. Understanding various methodologies and life cycles. Are you proficient in linear methodologies like waterfall or Agile frameworks like Scrum or Kanban? Express your experiences in hybrid and traditional project environments.
  7. Assurance. Demonstrate how you provide confidence to the governance board that change initiatives were on track to deliver intended value.
  8. Team management. Have you supervised others or delegated work? Share the ways you select, develop and manage individuals to create and sustain teams.
  9. Communication. Explain how you clearly and effectively articulate goals with team members, stakeholders and clients.
  10. Adaptability and agility. Explain how you successfully work in dynamic environments; talk about your ability to flex between methodologies, team structure and project scope.

Here are a few other skills and competencies you might want to think about:

  • Contract management
  • Quality management
  • Collaboration Resource management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Portfolio shaping

Electronic scans play a huge role in CV screening processes, so integrating keywords and skills from job descriptions will make sure your CV has extra visibility. 

Quantify your professional experience

Highlight your professional identity and key strengths, giving the reader a glimpse of what sets you apart. Prioritise and emphasise experiences and achievements that align with the requirements of the project management role you're applying for. Demonstrate the impact of your work, for example cost savings, efficiency improvements, or successful project completions.

Summarising the ways in which you’ve used your competencies, skills and experiences to enable success and achieve goals is key. Project management is about delivering results. Back up your skills with tangible, experience-based examples of success, rather than a simple list.

For example:

Project manager, XYZ Company (Month/Year - Present)

  • Supported a team of 10 professionals in the successful delivery of a £2 million project, completing ahead of schedule.
  • Implemented Agile methodologies, resulting in a 10% increase in project efficiency.
  • Developed and maintained strong relationships with key stakeholders, ensuring alignment with project goals.

Customise per role

Think of your CV as a template that can be customised for each application. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the role and organisation by showcasing how your expertise can contribute to their success. Do some research on the company and the person who might be reviewing your application. Then adapt your CV to reflect your compatibility with the organisation’s values – this can set you apart as a candidate who not only meets the requirements but will fit into the company culture seamlessly.

Remember:

  • Always include your personal information, such as your name and contact details.
  • Your CV is a living document, so update it regularly with key achievements.
  • Infuse enthusiasm into your CV to let employers see your passion and excitement about the possibilities a new role could bring.
  • First impressions matter and a cluttered CV may lead to it being overlooked, so keep a clear layout with bullet points and short sentences.
  • Meticulously read and reread your CV to eliminate typos, spelling errors and duplication.
  • LinkedIn is an extension of your CV and network, try to keep an eye on it.

Your CV is your ticket to securing the best positions. A well-tailored CV not only highlights your qualifications but also demonstrates your ability to lead, organise and deliver successful projects. Consider it a reflection of your professional identity so don’t be afraid to make it shine with all your achievements. Good luck!

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