Learn about three steps that you can take to find the Project Management job that is best suited to meet your needs. If you invest some time into this process, then you may be able to abandon your job search… and the best Project Management jobs will come to you, rather than you investing a ton of time and money seeking them out. This will not happen overnight, but if you stick to this process, then it will enable you to stop wasting your time and money running in circles and find the best work for you.

 

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Summary:

Following the traditional process of searching and applying for a Project Management job often takes a long time and yields poor results, including ultimately landing a job where you are under-utilized and under-paid. This can be due to reasons such as:

  • You and other Project Managers are chasing the same handful of jobs
  • There is little opportunity for you to distinguish yourself from the others
  • Job postings are often duplicated by multiple recruiters trying to fill the same position
  • Many of the best Project Management positions are never published

Instead of following the traditional job search process, follow these three steps to land fulfilling and rewarding Project Management work:

  • Decide what you want
  • Become a recognized expert
  • Market yourself

If you invest some time into this process, then you may be able to abandon your job search… and the best Project Management jobs will come to you, rather than you investing a ton of time and money seeking them out. This will not happen overnight, but if you stick to this process, then it will enable you to:

  • Stop wasting your time and money running in circles
  • Work for the type of company that you want
  • Work on the types of projects that you want
  • Have the type of working arrangement that you want
  • Have the type of lifestyle that you want
  • Have a job that takes advantage of your skills and experience… therefore feeling fulfilled and appreciated

 

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Full Transcript:

(The following is the full transcript of this episode of ‘The Project Guide with Tony Zink’, where Project Management author and trainer Tony Zink shares his insights on how to use tools and techniques to get better results on projects.)

Hi, Tony Zink here, Project Management author and trainer and creator of the Project Manifesto. I show people how to use tools and techniques to get better results faster on their projects, whether that means saving time, saving money, reducing risks, or providing a more stress free and pleasant experience for everyone involved in your project. If you’re new here, please consider subscribing or following me on this channel. If you’re not tuning in directly on my website, Tonyzink.com, then you can go there to get the video for this episode and others like it. You can download the audio podcast for this episode. You can read the entire written transcript and get other goodies, too.

It can sometimes be difficult and take a long time to find a new job in Project Management. Some people spend many hours and get really frustrated searching through job postings, sending in resumes, completing online application forms with no results to show for it. Some people spend a lot of time and money attending networking events that yield no results as well. Some people end up taking jobs that don’t take full advantage of the skills or experience that they’ve amassed over the years. Therefore, they don’t feel fulfilled or appreciated in those jobs. Some people also take jobs that come with salaries that are lower than they feel like they’re worth.

It can be difficult and oftentimes very frustrating to find jobs in Project Management, and this can happen because first of all, oftentimes people end up chasing the same handful of jobs that everyone else is chasing that are published out on the job websites or on company websites. There’s also, oftentimes, very little opportunity for people to distinguish themselves from one another and really demonstrate their skills and their expertise, especially if your only options for applying for a job are submitting a resume or even worse yet, completing and submitting a sterile job application form. Job postings are also often duplicated by recruiters. Oftentimes you’ll have multiple recruiters that are trying to fill the same Project Management positions that are opened at a company. Therefore, people end up spending their time running in circles, chasing after the same positions that are being posted out there by multiple recruiters. Oftentimes, many of the best positions that are out there are never even published on the job websites or on company websites.

Because of these and other drawbacks that I haven’t even mentioned, I don’t recommend the traditional approach to searching for Project Management jobs. I’m going to share with you three steps that I recommend that you do to find better Project Management work that’s better suited for you. If you follow these three steps, you may actually never need to go out looking for another Project Management job ever again. This is a long game, but I think it’ll pay off for you.

Step one (…and this might seem pretty obvious, but it’s actually worth spending some time on)… step one is that you should decide what it is that you want. This comes in a few different flavors, or you could look at this from a few different perspectives.

First of all, ask yourself what kind of a company would you like to work for in an ideal world? Some people like to work for large companies, and other people like to work for small companies. Some people like the corporate culture and other people like the small, almost family type of an environment, or a startup type of environment. Different people thrive in different types of environments. Also, would you like to work for a company that designs and develops and maybe produces products, or would you like to work for a company that sells services? Those different types of companies have very different types of projects that you can have the opportunity to manage, which brings up my next point.

You should think about what types of projects would you really like to manage. That could be a number of different options like product development projects or service delivery projects. IT projects are actually very common out there. Or construction projects or fabrication projects. Just a handful of examples, but think about what types of projects you really enjoy managing, and basically put that on your list or put that on your goals for your next Project Management job.

Another thing to think about is, what type of working arrangement would you like to have in your ideal world? Some people prefer to have the feeling of security… of working as a full-time employee for a company. Other people prefer the flexibility of working as a contractor. Being a consultant is another really common option. That could mean not only managing projects for a customer, but it could also mean advising them on managing their projects, or even helping them to put Project Management processes and practices in place, or tools in place to help them manage their projects better.

Then, finally, what type of a lifestyle would you like to have? Do you like working as an in-house Project Manager where you basically go to work for a company every day and you have a desk that you work at and you manage the projects for that company? Or do you prefer being a travelling consultant where you travel all over the country or all over the world, managing projects or doing consulting, like I mentioned a moment ago? Do you like to work in an office, or do you like work remotely? Whether that’s working at coffee shops or working from home… or working from different offices every day. What type of a lifestyle would you like to have in your next Project Management job? Think about that before you go out looking.

Once you’ve decided what it is that you want in your next Project Management job, I would recommend that your next step be become a recognized expert. Notice I said recognized expert. What that means is, not only are you good at what you do, but also other people can see that in you.

There’s a few different aspects to this, starting with studying in your field of interest. Whether that means joining professional organizations and reading articles and their publications, or reading news in your field of interest, or watching videos on your field of interest. There are many different ways that you can learn about your field of interest that you would like to work in when you’re managing your projects.

Another thing that you might want to consider is obtaining one or more certifications. An obvious one would be to obtain Project Management Professional or other Project Management certifications. Some employers prefer that you also understand and are very competent with certain type of Project Management tools. If a company has built their Project Management infrastructure around certain tools like Microsoft Project or Primavera or what-have-you, then they prefer that you actually know and are well-versed in using those tools. You might want to consider getting a certification in those tools to demonstrate that you are good at using them in managing your projects.

There are also certifications that you can obtain in your preferred field or industry. Many employers want to see that you have certifications because it proves that you have dedication to your craft and you know something about that field of interest. If nothing else, it proves that you have a basic level of understanding in that area.

The next point here would be to contribute in a number of different areas. That would go a long way to showing people that you really are dedicated to your craft and dedicated to your field of study or field of practice. There’s lots of different places and ways that you can do this. Out on LinkedIn or on Facebook you can find groups and contribute to those discussion groups. You can find discussion forums in a field or industry groups and user groups. There’s a lot of different ways that you can find where those people hang out, and contribute to those areas.

Another thing that I really recommend that you do if you want to stand out is start writing about your field and your craft. Obviously, you can write about Project Management and your philosophy and what kind of practices you like to follow when you manage projects; you can write about your field of interest as well. If you want to work or if you do work in construction or in IT, write articles about construction or IT. It doesn’t have to be specifically about Project Management, although I’d recommend that you probably mix some of that in as well. There’s lots of different opportunities and places that you can publish articles or things that you’ve written in these various areas. Inside your company: if you work for a large company, you may have publications or even a company intranet where you can publish things. Out on LinkedIn, you can write articles and very easily publish them out there for many, many people to see. You can even set up your own blog. It’s really easy nowadays to set up your own blog for free and start writing and publishing things out there for the entire world to see. User groups and field or industry publications is another place where you can publish things that you’ve written.

Taking it a step further than writing, I’d recommend that maybe you start presenting on the things that you’re passionate about and the things that you’re interested in. Company events would be a great place where you can speak about Project Management and other aspects of the types of projects that you want to manage. Lunch-and-learns or brown bag lunch type of events at your company… those are great ways for you to practice speaking. Toastmasters is another fantastic way for you to learn about techniques and practice presenting and speaking in front of groups of people. Project Management events, user groups, field or industry events… there’s oftentimes many, many different types of opportunities — if you look — to practice speaking and getting your word out there.

Then, to really kick it up a notch, start recording. Whether that means maybe you start a podcast or whether you start recording video like I’m doing here, this is a fantastic way not only for you to show the world what it is that you’re passionate about and talk about the things that you’re interested in and show your expertise… but it really gives people the opportunity to get to know you on a personal level. There are many free channels and tools out there that you can use that actually make this fairly easy. There’s podcasting platforms out there where you can record things and publish them for people to listen to. There’s YouTube, where you can create videos. If you have a webcam or you have a camera on your phone, then you can start recording and publishing videos out there for people to see.

Once you have decided what it is that you want in your next Project Management job and you have started working on establishing yourself as a recognized expert, the third step that I recommend that you do is start marketing yourself. In other words, the idea here is to convince people to seek you out, rather than you going out and hunting for jobs. In a perfect world, the jobs — the best jobs — will come to you rather than you going out and chasing them along with everybody else.

Start by finding out where your audience hangs out. It’s really easy to find the people that you want to connect with out in LinkedIn groups or on Facebook groups or other types of user groups or industry forums. Then, once you’ve found those people, start building your online network. Join those LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups and other types of user groups or industry associations and start connecting with those people that you’re finding out there. Build that network, and you’ll find that it should be pretty easy for you to do when you’re doing it online. It’s one thing to attend local events, Project Management events, or industry events, where there might be a few dozen people or even a few hundred people. It’s another thing entirely when you start connecting with people through groups online. You can really multiply your effort and connect with a lot more people and get in front of a lot more people.

Once you’ve connected with those people and joined those groups, start contributing in those areas where they’re hanging out. Contribute to the discussions that are going on in those LinkedIn or Facebook groups or industry or field forums. Let people know how you think about things and how you do things.

Share your work as another really important way of getting in front of these people. All these things that you started doing, writing articles, even recording podcasts or videos, share that work with those people in those groups. I’m sure you’ve all been out in LinkedIn and in Twitter and in Facebook and you’ve seen people posting articles and videos. Well, that could be you. All this hard work that you’re putting into writing and publishing things and recording things, put that out in front of those people that you’re connecting with out in these groups.

Which leads me to the next aspect here, which is… you should have a home and drive people back there to that home base. What I mean by that is, have a place where — if people want to find information about you — they have one place where they can go and do that. That could just simply mean that you drive people back to your LinkedIn profile where you have information about yourself and the things that you’ve worked on and the things that you like to do. Or if you want to take it a step further, set up a website or a blog. Again, it’s really easy to do that these days. You can do it for free, and some of the tools that are out there are fantastic. You can drive people back to your home base when you start publishing your work in front of them in these different channels, in these different social media channels.

Then, finally, start looking at and pointing out the social proof. Whenever you publish things on LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook and other social media outlets, there’s oftentimes the opportunity for people to like the things that you’ve written or posted, or to share the things that you’ve posted out there. The more you do this, and the more people you get in front of, you more likes you’re going to have and the more shares you’re going to have. In the world of marketing, that’s referred to as social proof. That’s basically proving that, when you’re talking to somebody or someone’s looking at what you’ve published out there, the number of likes and the number of shares that you have, that’s proof that other people like or agree with the things that you’re putting out there. That’s a really important measurement of your expertise, and the things that you’ve shared out through these channels.

To wrap up, if you take the time to complete these three steps — decide what it is that you want, become a recognized expert, and then market yourself — then you will find the jobs that are best suited for you more quickly. You will not waste your time or money with job postings or local networking events. You’ll get jobs that are more fulfilling for you. You’ll get the lifestyle that you want. And you’ll hopefully get jobs that pay well.

Thanks for tuning in and spending this time with me. I hope that you enjoyed these tips and that you found them useful. I’d like to take a quick moment, though, and remind you of two things.

Number one… if you’re not tuning in directly on my website, then you can visit my site at TonyZink.com. You can watch this video and others like it, you can read the entire written transcript, you can download the audio podcast, and find other goodies there, too.

Number two… please post your thoughts in the comments section. Do you have any questions, tips, or recommendations that you’d like to share? How do you handle situations like this? Some of the best questions and tips come from folks like you — the Project Management community — the people who are out there in the trenches every day working on projects. So definitely connect with everybody in the comments section.

Until I see you next time, go back out there and keep building great things.