Project Management CV – Writing in the First Person

One of the most common things I see in a project management CV that jumps out straightaway and tells me that the rest of the CV might not be all that great is the use of the first person in the profile.

Is it just a pet hate of mine or is it something that other hirers have a problem with too?

Here’s what I mean:

I am a highly motivated individual passionate about effective project management. I have proven experience in the successful delivery of various projects across a number of industries including IT, Railway Engineering and Public Affairs. I have strong ‘hands-on’ experience of different project management methodologies with the ability of knowing how and when to apply them efficiently. I have a good track record in effectively engaging various types of stakeholders and managing difficult risks during complex projects. In addition I possess an in-depth understanding of different business analysis techniques supported by the thorough and detail-orientated approach to their application.

I’m also not overly keen on the use of the name either, like this:

Bob is a result-focused and self-motivated Project Manager. He is a certified Prince2 Practitioner & Agile Scrum master with double MBA degrees from Cranfield and Oxford, Bob has a high degree of commercial acumen and technical flair which is demonstrated through an outstanding career record.

Bob demonstrates excellent project management skills providing leadership and guidance to the delivery teams, managing client and stakeholder expectations, delivery teams, delivery risks, issues and dependencies effectively negotiate with clients and internal teams. He has extensive experience in major change / transformation/ transition projects related to multiple technologies from initiating a project to its planning, design, execution, monitoring controlling and closure of the project using agile methodologies. Bob has hands on experience in running day to day project management activities on both very large and small-scale projects.

Bob offers a track record and reputation for delivering high quality complex programmes within demanding cost and timescale constraints with efficient stakeholder management and risk management.

Writing in the third person has always seemed more professional to me; the CV is written about someone rather than a personal story which is what the use of “I” and “Bob” indicates. For the CV profile in particular I prefer a factual account written as if it is one step removed from you.

Here’s how I would rewrite that first profile:

Highly motivated project manager with a proven experience in the successful delivery of various projects across a number of industries including IT, Railway Engineering and Public Affairs. <I would get something in here about the qualifications> Strong ‘hands-on’ experience of different project management methodologies <ideal opportunity for some keywords here? which ones?> with the ability of knowing how and when to apply them efficiently. Excellent track record in effectively engaging various types of stakeholders and managing difficult risks during complex projects. Additional experience and an in-depth understanding of different business analysis techniques supported by the thorough and detail-orientated approach to application.

To make the CV profile even better – make it tighter and punchier with the right kind of detail and keyword use, Arras devised a formula that works very well.

Here it is:

CV-Profile

 

So would you agree that writing a CV profile in the third person is much better than the first? Leave your own comments and thoughts below and let me know what you think.

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Comments

  1. Hi Lindsay,
    Given most CV’s are read by computers, I don’t think the issue of which person you use really matters much, as all the computer is looking for are key words. Nothing more, nothing less….

    What I do NOT agree with is your “Formula”……. We hire a fair number of PM’s and as we are also in the manpower placement business, these are the 4 filters we use…..

    #1) Experience which is as CLOSE to the project we are hiring for. (We do NOT want or need people with oil & gas experience for a bridge or rail project)
    #2) Personality “FIT” with our team…. Values, Work Ethic, Committment
    #3) Technical Qualifications- Degrees or LICENSES such as Professional Engineer (PE) license
    #4) Certifications (as opposed to licenses) We use those only as a TIE BREAKER between two or more otherwise equally qualified people who passed the first 3 filters.

    One more factor that your readers need to at least be aware of…… 90% of the people we hire and/or place are NOT coming from job boards or advertisements. They are coming from our networks, in particular, Linked In. In many cases, if we have a very unique position open, we do a search on LI and then head hunt the person who fits that very specific and unique skill set.

    BR,
    Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia

  2. Hi Paul

    Not all CVs are just read by computers – it’s our job to look at every CV we get because we know keyword searches don’t work for project practitioners.

    Interesting breakdown of your filters, here are my thoughts:

    #1) Experience which is as CLOSE to the project we are hiring for. (We do NOT want or need people with oil & gas experience for a bridge or rail project)

    Yes, that’s why the formula indicates highlighting sector your experience is in – so don’t apply for a bridge/rail project if you’re an old and gas person.

    #2) Personality “FIT” with our team…. Values, Work Ethic, Committment

    Good luck with getting a good sense of this from a CV – it doesn’t tend to work very well so the formula sticks with the facts and the keywords that are more likely to get you through a shortlisting filter.

    #3) Technical Qualifications- Degrees or LICENSES such as Professional Engineer (PE) license

    Yes – that’s in the formula too

    #4) Certifications (as opposed to licenses) We use those only as a TIE BREAKER between two or more otherwise equally qualified people who passed the first 3 filters.

    Yes – that’s in the formula too.

    Hard to see what you’re really disagreeing with here.

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