There are few careers in the field today that are as demanding, difficult and competitive as a project manager. The job-hunting environment for a position as a project manager can be grueling, but having a few tools in your market might give you the edge to stand out in the fields of applicants.
TOOL #1: PMP CERTIFICATION
The Project Management Professional certification should be your first stop if you’re unemployed. This certification is an exam that will boost your qualifications and credentials in the job market. In order to be eligible to take the exam you must have a high school diploma as well as an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree combined with previous work experience. While this certification is a great step, the PMP is becoming more and more common among professionals. Over 4,300 individuals take this test each month, so you may need a few other tools to put you ahead of the pack.
TOOL #2: NETWORK
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Networking should not be overlooked or underestimated. Be aware of and attend any and all networking opportunities in your area. This includes everything from guest speakers, seminars and yes, maybe even high school reunions. Do your part to seek out experts in the field, make a phone call, ask for an appointment and talk to them about where they see the project management industry going.
TOOL #3: STAY UP TO DATE
Read PMP publications, newsletters, websites, magazines, anything that will give you the pulse of the industry. This will keep you in the “know” and up to date on new ideas, theories, processes or trends. These types of materials will often publicize new companies that are hiring, restructuring or looking for additional project management staff.
TOOL #4: INCREASE YOUR EDUCATION
If you already have your PMP certification, it might be time to brush up on other valuable skills. PM courses available in person or online are a great way to increase your knowledge base and keep your skills sharp. PMCampus is a great web-based program that offers multiple class options ranging from practical software training to PMP re-certification courses or leadership skills training. Embrace these opportunities that will increase your skills and put you a step ahead of the market competition.
TOOL #5: GET INVOLVED
Chances are, if you’re unemployed you might have a bit of free time on your hands. For the displaced worker, this can be a tough transition. Put down the remote and use your time to get involved in pro bono work for friends or local organizations, or volunteering opportunities. Even if they are not project management related, they will most likely include some form of management, leadership or working on a team. Being there, keeping busy and contributing will help keep your spirits high, your skills sharp and will give something to the resume other than a blank period of unemployment. Look at these opportunities as a chance to network, improve your skills and increase your education.
TOOL #6: USE YOUR FACE, NOT YOUR SCREEN.
Today’s job market is fueled and filled by the internet. Too many unemployed professionals stay at home, in their pajamas and search for jobs online. If you are one of thousands of people searching the web for a job, how will you stand out from the rest of the crowd? Stand up, get dressed and get away from the computer. If you have a particular company you’d like to work for, pick up the phone, drop by, make an appointment. Do anything you can to get your face in the door rather than simply your screen name. Many companies know they’re hiring before the position is even posted. Getting away from the computer allows you to tap into the job openings that you never knew existed
Using your unemployed tool kit will ensure that your application will stand out, your resume will have something unique and your job hunt will be short, successful and satisfying.