Writing a Project Management Resume – Are you too modest?

In my experience, most of the skilled project job seekers I meet are modest about their project successes.  Many tell me they dislike having to write their resume. This aversion, combined with modesty, tends to be reflected in their resume.

Honest reflection and a unique value proposition will create an authentic resume to stir interest in most hiring managers. Your UVP must underpin all of your projects and your significant contribution to those roles. The following 2-3 pages should clearly detail how you were solving problems, addressing a need or taking advantage of an opportunity. This is where the endorsement resides – why you should be hired, without appearing arrogant, flashy or overbearing.

When the resume lands in the hiring manager’s inbox, it needs to create a positive impact and trigger curiosity. Some seekers have created several versions for various project roles. In some versions, when applying for a lesser role, their competencies and the title of their role has been deliberately weakened in an attempt to downplay skills and experience.  Other seekers have written a generic resume. Hiring managers may not know what they or their client needs and at times, can advertise a project role, when in fact it is business as usual. The seeker discovers the mismatch after spending time applying – their generic resume appeared to match the advertised role.

Projects are complex and different to business as usual (BAU).  Business as usual is acknowledged as meaning there will be no significant change in the near future.  The BAU business is repetitive, ongoing, has balanced objectives, enjoys stable resources, has stability and tends to be operational.

Projects are unique, have finite resources, unbalanced objectives, transient resources, need flexibility and have a high degree of risk.  Does your resume resonate with a sense of urgency, technical and leadership abilities and understanding of a client’s expectations in response to uncertainty? Is there a declaration in your resume which reflects your specialist knowledge of projects – phases, scope, stakeholders, quality and risk.

Projects even differ between themselves: transformation projects will seek leadership skills – migration projects look for process skills – optimisation programs will want knowledge of different criteria to reach an optimal solution. If the role matches your competencies by approximately 95%, you should have secured a conversation with the decision maker.

The conversation with a decision maker is all about them and their project. If you record the times when you made a positive impact on past projects and where you can repeat it again in the future, you are nearing your goal. This is the key function of the interview.

After every conversation I have with a Job Seeker, I always ask.  “Why is the information you discussed with me, not reflected in your resume?” The response is always “Everyone has these skills”.  No, not everyone does and cannot. Your insights from numerous projects, processes and stakeholders are unique and of exceptional value. This is your differentiator and eclipses modesty.

If you are one of those who Job Seekers who dislike having to write a resume, or have written several versions and would like a skilled Recruiter and Project Management Trainer to write it, please contact me directly on eilleen@shieldtp.com.au

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Eilleen Shields

About Eilleen Shields

Eilleen Shields is Principal Partner of Shield Talented Professionals, a Proactive Recruiting Partner and Job Ready Coach with expertise in ICT, Project Management, Training and Recruiting