June 10, 2013

Think Like a Project Manager to Land your Next Job – Part 1

Structure your search

You need a new job, but where do you start? There is so much to do! Why not create a project plan like a project manager would do? Everyone uses basic project management skills in everyday life; a professional project manager just does this on a much larger scale. Consider finding a new job as your next project!

Don’t become overwhelmed with the process. Having a structure or plan in place will help.

First, define the scope of the project. Do you want to find a position in a company similar to your last employer where you can utilize your skills and expertise, and earn enough money to pay your bills? Do you want to get a job that pays more? Maybe it’s time to switch industries and take your career in a new direction.

Start with a basic project plan

A project manager typically uses special software such as Microsoft Project which can automatically update the project’s progress. Don’t worry if you do not have this software; you can use Microsoft Word or Excel to track your progress. However, you will need to update everything manually.

Break it down

To start your project plan, divide the big task of finding a job into smaller tasks. This is called creating the work breakdown structure (WBS). Begin with a few high level categories such as:
  I.     Preparation
  II.    Networking
  III.   Company Research
  IV.   Job Applications
  V.    Interviewing

Next, list the necessary tasks within each category. Preparation might include:
        A. Résumé
        B. Business cards
        C. CARs/PARs
        D. Marketing plan
        E. Interview outfit
        F. Office supplies
        G. Training classes

Then drill down even further. Under Résumé, you might add:
   1.  Record previous employers and dates
   2.  List significant accomplishments
   3.  Choose a format
   4.  Review
   5.  Proofread

You are creating an outline of all of the necessary steps to complete each task. Remember to indent and label each level accordingly. Create as many levels as you need to be aware of all the necessary tasks, avoid too many details or you may drive yourself crazy.

Remember, every person is unique, so each person’s project plan will look different.
-      Annette Lange
Project Manager
Communications Committee

Part 2 of the series will continue with creating a chart. 


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