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Getting ahead in project management

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The SWWE branch was very pleased to be able to invite Lindsay Scott, of Arras People, to talk about what she had learned from her experience of recruitment in the project market place and how effective communication can help hirers and practitioners engage to meet a mutual need.

Lindsay explained that both practitioners and hirers rated PPM experience as the most important need but practitioners ranked domain experience as the next most important factor, while hirers (75%) ranked personality and style next.

She explained that over 90% of hirers use the CV as their first filter – but then have the problem of how do they judge personalities?

How has the market place changed?
With about 9% of practitioners being currently employed there is a move to contracting and this is driving down contractor rates. In this buyers market there is also a move to fixed term contracts. 80% of vacancies are never advertised; and even when they are the role filled is not necessarily the role advertised. A straw poll of the audience supported that view. Most vacancies are filled through network contacts, directly (head hunting) or created for the candidate.

With regards to employees 45% are content where they are, of the remaining 55% only 41% have a plan of what they are trying to achieve and 51% don’t have a true picture of how good they are. Most practitioners (51%) base the assumption that they were better than their peers on gut feel, some (41%) use an employee led assessment and some (27%) use the APM Competency Framework.

How do you put together a plan?
Lindsay described how you should do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, understand your USPs (unique selling points) and plan how you are going to market yourself. In today's market that must include exploiting social media.

Some useful hints she gave were to:-

  • Change your CV so that it sells you. Explain what you did not what you were responsible for.
  • Design an approach in your CV that suits your personality
  • Supplement your CV with social media like LinkedIn, do not have your LinkedIn profile the same as your CV
  • Your CV should start with your objectives.
  • Have you got a brand image?
  • Are you clear about your USPs; have you clearly shown them?
  • What were your key achievements? (not responsibilities)
  • Then your experience and responsibilities
  • Don’t put dates on your education (The Equality Act)
  • How do you demonstrate personality?

In Lindsay’s organisation at the first sight they only use CV and LinkedIn (a question from the floor asked about covering letters – Lindsay thought that the CV should be specific to the role being applied for – hence no need for an extended covering letter.)

So its important to get your LinkedIn profile right and current. 92% of project managers have a LinkedIn account.

Some useful hints she gave were to:

  • Edit the LinkedIn URL to something that is meaningful
  • Show your personality, and passion – but keep it professional
  • Make sure your design is pleasing to the eye
  • Be active on LinkedIn – try and do something every week on LinkedIn!
  • Develop and maintain that network

Martin Gosden thanked Lindsay for a really interesting and engaging presentation, there followed a number of questions from the floor.

Mike Kimmins
SWWE Branch Professional Development


Lindsay's presentation slides can be viewed here.


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