Getting job in the new economy

Alec is one my favorite Project Managers whom I really enjoy talking to. The economy has made us all aware of our jobs more than ever. So, are there things that we can do to keep us prepared for the next move, the next job, the next strategy- I ask Alec.

Hi Alec, glad to have you back at Stepping into PM. Do you think that with the changing times job hunting has become a new game?

Hi Soma. It’s always great to speak with you. Your question reminds me of a comment a friend of mine made recently. He is a Broadway actor here in New York. For anyone not familiar first-hand with the acting profession, it is a world characterized by many people going to many auditions and chasing relatively few jobs. His comment was, “Now everyone is experiencing what it is like to be an actor.”

What are the three most important things to keep in mind while looking for a job ?

Professional career coaches have always de-emphasized job boards and want ads. This is even more important in today’s economy. I’d go so far as to say if a person looking for a job is spending more than 1 hour a day answering ads and perusing job boards, they are using their time much less efficiently than they could. Three suggestions:

  1. Treat your search like a full-time job. If you’re a project manager, handle it as if you were just handed a major initiative for your client. Spend at least 7 hours a day on your project. If you can’t work at home, find someplace else to go. Here in the States, Starbucks is filled right now with people conducting job campaigns 9 am – 5pm.
  2. Know what distinguishes you from everyone else out there. Are you crystal-clear on what Richard Koch calls your 20% spike – those things that you can easily do better than most others? If not, spend some time figuring these out. This is not the time to apply for any job. There’s too much competition for each position. To have a chance, you must focus only on those positions which tightly correspond to your best skills.
  3. You must reach out to others. Sending out resumes randomly won’t work. You must talk to people, message them, seek them out, befriend them, and seek to serve them without focusing on what they can do for you.

Does networking really come in handy while doing so?

Some people think of networking as trying to get someone else to do something for them. This is called “using”. It won’t work. A better type of networking is developing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. If you seek to serve, to help, to give to others, you are on the right track.

So, lets say I'm looking for my next step to move into project management, what should I be doing to get the job in today's economy?

While the long-term employment prospects for project managers continue to be good, it may be a little hard going at the moment. My belief is that a new project manager will be more likely to find a position in today’s economy through their existing contacts, that is, those people they’ve worked with before and can vouch for them. Go after the jobs which haven’t yet been advertised. Prepare a portfolio of documents, plans, anything you have which can show you know what you’re doing.

Where do you think "social media" is coming in these days in the job search scenario? There are so many recruiters in Twitter, hundreds of candidates who would like to network- what is the right thing to do?

Twitter has now become, "The next big thing". All the media outlets, marketers and others are getting on board. Some recruiters on twitter will be of extreme help to job seekers. Other recruiters are making big promises with little evidence to back them up. The best advice is just to get out there and start using social media. If you have questions, ask the people you meet online. There are many, many generous and helpful people around.

Thanks Alec


Pooja! said...

Hey Soma...

you have an amazing blog!...and thanks for your compliment on my writing


SIPM said...

@pratima- Thanks a lot for stopping by.

Unknown said...

Hi Soma! Your blog has a lot of useful information. I learned a lot by reading it. This article reminded me of the stupid mistakes I made during job search. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Hi Soma,

This is a very useful post, thanks.

Stan Yanakiev