Do you remember the Want Ads? It wasn’t that long ago that you would pick up the Sunday newspaper and turn to the classified section. You would then scan down the categories…automotive, banking, business, finance, management, sales…until you came across the category you were interested in finding employment. Then, you would read every listing in that category for the job that you felt would be best suited for your talents. Finally, you would call or mail the company a resume in the hopes of setting up an interview.
Wow, times sure have changed! Employers look for people so differently now. They put out the word on the internet, job sites, send out emails, texts, tweets, LinkedIn posts and so many other ways of finding people to fill open positions.
Despite these different ways of looking for people, you may still find it hard to land the jobs you need to keep your career moving forward. Jobs are also more specialized these days too and you could be seeing vacancies for experts in project scheduling, planners, portfolio managers and more. What can you do to land one of those for yourself?
The secret to finding project management jobs that are suited for your skill set is to remain visible. We all know the expression “out of sight, out of mind” and that’s especially true when you are looking for work. If potential employers don’t even know you exist, how are they going to know what you can do for their company?
The following are some suggestions that you can apply to remain highly visible so you are the first person that comes to mind when a company is looking to fill a position. You’ll need to look at the following as an investment of time up front that will pay huge dividends later.
OK…this one is a no-brainer. Of course, we all know that we need to network with others to remain visible. But, you need to analyze your motive for networking.Are you networking for the sole purpose of finding work? If so, that comes across as just plain obnoxious. We’ve all been on the receiving end of that conversation.
Someone starts up an engaging conversation with you…only to find that they are currently in transition and wanted to know if you knew anyone that had project management jobs available. The conversation abruptly comes to an end when they find you don’t.
The better approach is to network with the intent of seeing what you can do to help others. Find out what their challenges, struggles, and frustrations are and then connect them with someone else who may be able to help them. In doing so, you’ve helped out two people, created good-will for yourself, and made yourself highly visible.
This is a HUGE area when it comes to remaining visible. There are many project management associations that are designed to further the career of project managers. Find one you like and then jump in the deep end with volunteer activity. Again, the purpose is not to go around asking about project management jobs, but rather to forge and nurture relationships that can come back around in the future and help you out when needed.
3. Stay Connected When People Leave Your Company
Your current company is a gold-mineof people to stay connected with that you have already established good relationships. People may decide that the company is not the best fit for them and move on to another job. Make sure you are connected with them on LinkedIn and have their pertinent contact information before they leave. People unfortunately may leave in droves if there are layoffs or downsizings. However, make sure you stay in touch with as many of these people as well – first, to help them find a new position, and second, you never know where they are going to end up in the future.
These are great people to stay connected with because they know what you stand for, your accomplishments as a project manager, the types of projects you managed, and other skills you possess that when a position does open they could pass your way.
4. Stay Connected When YOU Leave Your Company
It’s a cliché, but it holds very true…never burn any bridges when you leave a company. As much as it depends on you, leave your company on good terms.I know a colleague who is so connected in the project management industry that whenever he leaves a position, he offers to get the process started for finding his replacement. He’ll send out an email to his peers about the project management job that needs to be filled, the qualifications, and experience needed and then even bring in the candidates to interview them during his remaining two-weeks. Now that’s the way to leave a company!
Make sure you get all the contact information like you did when others leave your company. That opens the door for a LOT of people to stay connected with that will eventually move on to bigger and better opportunities themselves.
5. Remain Visible Online
There are so many opportunities to stay in front of people online that it’s a shame to not take advantage of them.For example, you can have a blog about your thoughts on project management, have others follow your tweets about project management, share opportunities with others, and keep your LinkedIn updates steady and relevant. This steady stream of meaningful and insightful observations keeps you in front of hiring managers for your benefit in the future.
6. Set Yourself Up as an Expert
I was just as much an expert as this person was…I just needed to put myself in the highly visible position that he did. You can do the same. If you’ve been in project management for 10 or 20 years you know A LOT about project management. Don’t discount your experience. You’ve been through the ups, down, trials, and tribulations that come from the position. Share this knowledge with others. Speak at project management events. Assemble e-Books that pull all of this together and send it out to those who were in attendance.
What an incredible way to stay visible, connected, and top of mind for any vacancies that come up.
I had an epiphany one day while I was sitting in the audience of a project management conference. The person that was the ‘expert’ on the stage was saying all the things that I already knew to be true. What was the difference between us? He was on the stage…and I was in the audience. This person took the time and effort necessary to set himself up as an expert. He connected with the right people, honed his presentation skills, put together an interesting PowerPoint, and got up in front of hundreds of people while I sat in the audience and finished my salad.
Newspaper want-ads are a thing of the past. So are the old ways of getting hired. There are countless people that are applying the 6 principles above in making themselves very visible. They diligently market themselves and put themselves in line for great project management jobs.
It’s up to you to do the same!
There’s a lot of static and noise in the market place. But, by applying the 6 principles above you can separate yourself from those around you and land your next project management position.
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