Getting Started with a PMO CV

At the PMO CV Workshop in July, PMO Practitioners got together to work on improving their CV.

There are three crucial areas of the CV – the opening profile, the career history and key achievements.

Here’s what they learnt about the three areas:

  1. Create the opening profile of a CV which is guaranteed to tick all the boxes and get yourself noticed for all the right reasons. It will focus on understanding your own Unique Selling Points.
  2. Learn how to write the career history part of your CV – conveying your skills and experiences in the way that hirers want to read. Learn to write about each position in your career – focusing on the facts that prospective employers want to see. You’ll learn about the power of combining responsibilities with key project competencies.
  3. Include hard-hitting key achievements that help you stand out from the competition. Catch attention for specific roles – learn out to mix and match key achievements for maximum impact.

Until we run another PMO CV Workshop in the future, (take a look at the previous PMO Mini-Masterclass if you can’t wait) in this article we take a look at the beginning stages of creating a CV – the things you have to think about before you even put pen to paper.

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It’s always interesting when you speak to a PMO practitioner and ask them to tell you about their previous experiences, the skills and competencies they have that make them a good PMO practitioner.

You get a multitude of different answers – some that give a good account of themselves, a bit of trumpet blowing without drowning out the whole orchestra! Others need a bit of coaxing to bring out their best side and others often get stuck completely because they’re not even sure about which skills and competencies are worth sharing and knowing about.

Before you write a PMO you need to have an understanding of what your Unique Selling Points (USPs) are.

If you’re setting out a market stall, selling your wares, you’d certainly make sure you know your apples from your pears – so why should setting out a CV be any different?

You need to understand what it is you’re selling (yourself) before you can set out your stall (your CV).

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In the PMO CV Workshop we talked about the Unique Selling Points (USPs) that people had.

The question prompts above are used to get people thinking about themselves in a PMO context. It’s also useful because it forces people to take some time out to sit and reflect on themselves and their career.

The prompt sheet also gives some examples to think about against each of the five areas.

The example below is specifically for PMO support roles like Analyst, Co-ordinator and Administrator. The prompt sheet is different to the PMO Manager level ones but it should give you the idea.

Of course this is just a prompt sheet, I’m sure you could also think of other bits of ‘evidence’ that will enable you to answer the question like “What level is the support service you offer?”

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Being able to gather your thoughts, remember experiences, collect evidence to support your experience and skills is just one part of the picture but doing this activity certainly gets you in the mood for creating a CV.

The other part of the picture is how well do you understand your own competency areas and levels – not just in yourself but also against other PMO opportunities in the wider marketplace?

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The PMO CV Workshop session shared a series of prompts for both support and managers in this area too. If you’re interested in gaining insight into what kind of competencies we would expect to see on a PMO CV I recommend you take part in our 5 minute research piece which – on completion – gives access to the list of competency areas in PMO (in Excel).

This is useful because we need to understand how our experiences line up with others in the PMO field – plus competency areas are what employers buy when they’re considering hiring you so they want to see them mentioned on the CV.

An example for a project support officer would be something like this –

Competency area – Planning

Tasks and activities include – maintaining the project plan (Gantt), maintaining the PID, organising planning workshops for the team.

Skill level – intermediate

You might be able to start to see how I might convey my planning support experience on my CV….?

Planning is just one small area, consider what you would write for reporting; resource management; methodologies, risk management, change control etc.

 

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Thinking about ourselves and what experiences and skills we’ve built up to date is the ‘pre-writing the CV’ part of the process.

It’s actually the hardest part of the process because pulling together personal stocktaking notes and understanding what PMO competency areas you are experienced in takes time. And so it should because you want to make sure you’re giving a good account of yourself – it’s your career that’s at stake here.

So in this article we’ve only covered the first part of the process – we’ve not even started writing the CV yet.

Moral of the story is, like all good projects, it’s all about planning, planning, planning before execution.

If you’re interested in bringing a PMO CV Workshop session near to where you live or work, why not let us know?

About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay is the founder of PMO Flashmob. She's also the creator of London's first dedicated PMO Conference; Director of Arras People and PMO enthusiast

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