Thursday, November 8, 2018

The PM Job-Search Effort

 AuthorBenny A. Recine, MBA, PMP, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, CAMS

The PM Job-Search Effort

 I am an active member of several job network groups in New Jersey. I have been privy to many job-search stories from Project Managers (PMs) and individuals outside the  PM field. I must tell you that the job search is no different from any vocation. We may think that our own vocation has its own idiosyncrasies, but in truth, all job-searches have the same common elements.
However, as PMs, we should know that putting together a job search is very similar to setting up a project. As a matter of fact, it’s exactly the same. So let’s go through the phases in a project-oriented fashion.

This beginning phase can occur in one of two fashions. You may believe your current organization is not in your long-term plans and it is time to move on from your current position. Or, in a worst case scenario, you are let go by your current organization. If this is the latter, most likely you did not see this coming. Whether or not you should have is another discussion, but let’s say the signs were not there for you to read, and one day you get the word that you are no longer part of the organization. Either way, the planning must begin. Sure, you want to start hitting the job boards and calling your close contacts. These may not be the best things to do first.
When planning in a job search, you have to begin with the end in mind, to steal a line from a famous author. Is what you have been doing or what you are currently doing what you want to continue doing? One of the first steps is to begin a campaign to research the organizations that you would like to be associated with. Hopefully, they are not too far from your home and are a short commute.
Also, begin by writing your marketing plan. This is the written document you can share with your contacts that highlights what it is you are great at and includes a brief description of what role you are seeking to fill. Next, you should list the companies that you have researched.

As you are writing your marketing plan, you should begin writing your job search plan. This should include, but is not limited to, a list of individuals and companies you want to contact, what days you want to be out “pounding the pavement” and meeting individuals, and if you were let go, the beginnings of a budget because you likely now have limited funds.
In this plan, I would suggest putting together a board, a group of individuals who can offer you advice and counsel during your search. I would suggest that most of these individuals be in your line of work, but there should be at least one individual who is not but who is successful in their own line of work. Plan to meet with your board via conference call (there is a free website for conference calls, on a monthly or every other month basis. I would suggest that they make it a point to hold you to your plan as you should report your progress to them. You also want to continue working and finalize your marketing.
I strongly suggest that you join a network group. I belong to several and like to keep active in them.  I know that, if by some chance I am asked to leave an organization, my contacts and my network groups know me and can help me as soon as the separation happens. I urge you to join a group and stay active even after you land a job.

Execution and Control
Once you have your plan in place, it is time to execute it. While you are executing the plan, you must document your progress (the control phase). This is what you will be using to report to your board, or to just see your progress.
Yes, you should keep your significant other in the loop regarding what you are looking for and what is happening. As a matter of fact, you should employ your whole family in this endeavor. It is in their best interest to help you. This is all part of the execution and control of your plan. You may also discover, as in a project, that you must re-plan or re-scope a portion of your plan. Hopefully not your whole plan, but never stop reviewing your plan for updates and for modifications.

This is the phase where you land a position. When this happens, you must still keep in touch with the contacts that you have made and the groups you belong to. You should also make an effort to help those you can; as you sought help, others will look to you for help. The closing phase is really the “never forget” phase. Yes, you will be busy making a decision on which organization you want to join and other critical factors. But never forget that you once were looking for help and others helped you.