When you’re looking for a new role in PMO, we never start with the thinking that we’re looking for an average job, something that will do. It’s about putting our best selves forward so we can find and secure a great PMO job.
In the last article – Where to Start in Finding a Great PMO Job – we started by getting into the right kind of mindset and understanding what it is that you’re selling. Here’s what those eight areas are again:
It’s when we start to understand what we can offer across those eight areas that we begin to understand what kind of PMO practitioner you are. When we get a clearer picture about who you are, that’s when we can start thinking about putting pen to paper with writing a PMO CV.
What Have You Got?
It’s probably agonising; you’re probably thinking, just get on with it and show me how to write the CV. What I want to do is set the groundwork first; that way, you’ll be able to write and update your PMO CV throughout your PMO career. There’s no point rushing to write the CV unless you’ve thought about what’s going in there and why.
That’s why I want to share five different sets of questions which will help you to not only update your PMO CV but also prepare you for the interview stage when your CV is starting to open doors.
Here we go then, first up:
What Makes You a Credible PMO Candidate?
The first question then. Take a step back and think about what makes you a great candidate for the post? It doesn’t matter which PMO role you’re going for or what experience level you have so far. You need to be able to articulate to anyone who asks – what makes you right for the job.
In the previous article – Where to Start in Finding a Great PMO Job – we go into this in great detail.
What we’re looking for here is that you clearly understand what makes you credible and that there is evidence to back that up. The evidence will be clear on your CV and you’ll be able to articulate that well in an interview.
So that’s the first thing – I want to see that I’m hiring someone who knows how to do the job.
What Level is the PMO Support Service You Offer?
It’s crucial with PMO CVs that we make what kind of PMO experience you have – that’s the type of PMO you have gained your experience in.
We all know that there are so many different types of PMOs and different names for them, so it makes sense that when we write our own PMO CV that we make it clear, so people who are reading the CV have a clearer idea.
So in our CV, we’ll be writing about if its a Project level PMO and services are mainly carried out in the reporting and assurance area – or perhaps it’s a Portfolio level PMO and you’re working at a higher level – a more strategic level.
Hirers need to build a mental picture up of where your experiences have come from plus they will be looking to understand what your level of PMO has been to date. If you can make this clear on the CV, you’re already making a big difference in your applications from hundreds of other PMO practitioners who fail to do this.
Context of your experiences is everything. As a hirer, if I can’t clearly understand or see what kind of PMO and therefore, what the context is, I might just pass you over for someone who does make it clear.
So what else can we be thinking about?
Next, we want to understand more about the services you have gained experience in:
What is the Most Important Aspect of Your PMO Support Service to Senior Management?
Rather than just listing out the different types of PMO services you have experience in, take a step back and think about the order of importance of those services.
What is it that the business and the senior management need from the PMO and which service areas do these fall into?
The idea here is you’re thinking about what’s important about the PMO service offerings – making that link with real business need.
You’ll also be creating a way of prioritising how you write about the PMO service experiences you have – which sounds like a good idea when it comes to providing the order on the CV?
If you’re not already familiar with writing about your experiences in relation to PMO services, one good source of inspiration is the P3O manual, specifically the Appendix F. Here all the service areas of the different types of PMOs are fully listed. [You could purchase the book] and gain inspiration about how you might write about your own PMO service experience using this as a guide.
We can take that to the next level by digging down into the service areas to understand what our processes and tools knowledge areas are within these services.
What Types of Processes and Tools are Important in Your PMO Support Service?
With this question, we’re looking to understand what some of the roles and responsibilities are – the tasks and activities that are carried out by you. It might seem like a granular detail, but actually, when people are looking to hire PMO practitioners, it is the level of information that they need about you.
In fact, this is your bread-and-butter stuff – your livelihood, it’s these things that you’re doing, day-in and day-out, that the hirer is paying you to do.
It’s this level that forms the basis of your Career History in your CV so, again, it’s good to think and jot down your thoughts about what it is you’re doing every day, week, month and year within your PMO role.
So far we’ve been thinking about what makes us credible; what type of PMO our experiences have come from; how important our PMO service support areas are to the business and how we carry out those services at a task and activity level.
There’s one further question:
What Makes You Successful in Your PMO Support Service?
This is the one that makes a lot of people squirm. What makes you successful?
It’s the blowing your own trumpet time because if you don’t who will?
We think about this because ideally, we would like some key achievements to add to the CV – we’d also like to have a few stories ready for when we interview too.
More importantly, we want to create a more confident mindset when it comes to the whole recruitment process. We want you to give it your best shot – put your best self forward and to do that we need to focus on success.
Here we’re thinking about specific experiences you’ve had in your PMO career. Is there a time where you’ve made a big difference to a project or programme? Perhaps you’ve added a new service or process? Possibly through something failing you’ve managed to turn something around by making a new suggestion of an idea? Maybe it’s your own individual style or leadership approach which has changed the PMO from one thing into another?
Take the time to think about the successes because ultimately when all the other things mentioned in this article are in place, it will be how you articulate and highlight the successes that help you to secure that great PMO job.
In the next article, we take a look at actually starting to write the PMO CV:
If you’re struggling with your own PMO CV, why not take a look at the [Project Management Careers Clinic] and book a session.