The Experience section of your CV should clearly identify the value you can bring to a new employer by highlighting tangible results rather than dull descriptions of duties. The advice is always to quantify your achievements and be specific about the work you have done. Including projects on your CV gives recruiters something to sink their teeth into, and can bring you to life as a person and potential hire. With this in mind:
How much should you really say about your work?
What kind of detail should you ideally give?
Is it ok to include this level of detail on your CV?
And what if you can’t state specifics?
What kind of details do recruiters want to see?
Recruiters want to know that you can do what you say you can do, and there’s nothing better than a tangible project example to show that you can cut the mustard.
They can provide evidence of your skills in action and, if presented to best effect, will show the value you added and your relevance for the job in question.
Whether projects are the norm for you or once in a blue moon, they are still relevant to include on your CV.
If your job doesn’t revolve around projects, then examples of out-of-the-ordinary work can really bring your CV to life. The time you helped with an office relocation, a secondment to train others within your company, or when you were asked to collaborate with a partner or supplier to improve efficiency and reduce costs – these are all examples which can boost your attractiveness to recruiters.
If you work as a consultant or in another kind of role where projects are your bread and butter, you can showcase the best examples of your work in line with your career goals. Think about the projects you are most proud of and feature them in a prominent position on your CV. Displaying a range of projects is a good way to demonstrate how you can apply your skills and knowledge in different scenarios.
Things to consider when including projects on your CV:
What is your marquee project – the one you are most proud of?
Which key projects reflect your bread-and-butter work?
Why was the project commissioned? What was the background?
For internal projects – who were you accountable to?
For external/client-facing projects – which clients did you work for and what was the contract value?
What were the main challenges?
How complex was the project?
How much autonomy did you have in your project role?
When did the project take place? What was the duration?
Where did the project take place? Was it a global or multi-site initiative, or focused around one central location?
Who did you work with? Who were the key stakeholders?
How did you make a difference?
What value did the project deliver?
Should you share this level of detail?
A common concern is how much detail you should share on your CV. After all, your CV is a document for the public domain, even if you send it out to a specific recruiter, the likelihood is that it is sent on to clients. In this day and age, what you write on your CV is so traceable, so listen to any niggling doubts and seriously consider the implications before you include juicy details.
I often hear people worry aloud about whether to include client names, project values and other details on their CV. If you are worried about how much detail to include, then consider:
Will it breach your employer’s contract with their client, or put them or you, as an individual, in an embarrassing situation?
Is the information you are worried about sharing already publicly available online, in case studies, news articles etc.? If so, then you are not sharing
anything that isn’t already out there.
Is it relevant? Will it add value and boost the interest-factor of your CV?
Ultimately, make sure you are completely comfortable with the information you are sharing on your CV and online before pressing the send button.
If you can’t openly share information, what’s a good plan B?
If the information you’d like to divulge is sensitive, then there are ways to get around this.
Give just enough away to whet the recruiter’s appetite and entice them to meet you to find out more.
For example, if you are working for a well-known prestigious client, but are not sure about naming them on your CV, then consider using a generic description in place of their name – for example: major financial services organisation, UK fashion retailer, global energy supermajor, or even leading local construction contractor.
A note on LinkedIn
The same also applies of course to your LinkedIn profile, which is a more publicly available form of your CV.
However, LinkedIn now features the ability to add key projects to your profile. You can add project name and relevant webpages, name other project stakeholders (so if they accept, the project can show up on their profile too) and a project description. If the project data isn’t sensitive, I’d recommend adding details to your LinkedIn profile in this way. As a further add-on you could ask other internal and external team members to recommend you for your work on this particular initiative. That will certainly boost your credibility.