If you’re a project or change management professional in banking, you have the rare privilege of finding your services in demand. While banks cut back in the front office, project and change management specialists are being drafted into to deal with everything from MiFID II transformation projects to digital initiatives aimed at competing with the slickest fintech firms.
But as keen as finance firms are to recruit PMs and change managers, some people are still woefully neglectful of their CVs.
“A lot of project managers – particularly in the contract market – view their CV as a necessary evil rather than the primary document to sell their services,” says James Murray, associate director of project and change management at recruiters Robert Walters.
So what should you include on your resume? Here, according to specialist recruiters are the six steps to a perfect resume.
1. Project managers must condense their CV to two pages
If you’re applying for a private equity job, a one page resume is standard. Junior bankers and other front office employees are allowed two pages. Project and change managers must adhere to the same rules. If this sounds obvious, it’s more challenging for them to do so, says Murray.
“What we find is that people only update their CV when they need a new position and usually just add their latest job to every other assignment without considering the role they’re applying for,” he says. “I’ve seen contractor CVs that stretch into eight pages.”
2. Qualifications over degrees
Higher education is less important than the right qualifications and experience, suggest the recruiters we spoke to. Prince 2 and the PMP (Project Management Professional Certification) are both good, as is knowledge of Agile.
Neil Owen, director of Robert Half Technology, says that ITIL certification is also valuable as “the financial sector is looking to automate processes and are implementing enterprise resource planning solutions”.
Murray suggests that Lean Six Sigma is specifically requested when processes are being re-engineered internally.
3. Demonstrate domain knowledge
With a lot of the project work currently focused around regulation, trying to fudge your knowledge of this area will get you nowhere, says Murray. In fact, in the current climate, project and change managers must demonstrate their specific expertise.
“It is very important to highlight which systems you have experience with and to what level of competence, and the asset class/product experience you have,” says Owen.
4. Show tangible achievements
In project management, things seldom run perfectly smoothly. When you’re outlining your experience on your CV, don’t just regurgitate your job description or talk about how much experience you have – demonstrate it.
“Break out some case studies to show what went wrong and how you overcame it. Demonstrate some evidence of stakeholder management,” says Paul Bennie, managing director of IT in finance recruiters Bennie MacLean.
5. Think in terms of ‘full project lifecycle’
To an extent this comes back to the point about being selective with the information you present. The more senior your role you’re applying to, the more responsibility you must show on your CV.
“We want to see the size and scope of the project and your specific involvement in it,” says Murray. “We want to see that you had full budgetary control and saw the project through the entire lifecycle.”
6. Show evidence of being a communicator
Project management is all about communicating your ideas to diverse groups of people and ensuring that everything runs smoothly.
“Communication skills, managing stakeholder group and using interpersonal skills to drive programmes forward are key,” says Murray. “You should show evidence of this on your CV.”
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