5 Project Management Tips to Optimize Your Job Search

Posted by The Editors on July 23, 2012
5 Project Management Tips to Optimize Your Job Search
Jumping into the job market can be a daunting experience at any time, but particularly so for those making the leap for the first time. The current economic climate is compounding the challenges. Nationally, unemployment was stuck at 8.2% in June 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, it’s important not to become intimidated or discouraged by those numbers. After all, unemployment plummets as educational attainment rises – the rate was 4.1% in June 2012 for job seekers with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

With that more encouraging statistic in mind, there are numerous ways that job seekers can boost their hopes of securing employment in a competitive market.

Here are 5 project management tips that can be incorporated into a job search:

Initiating: One of the hardest parts of the job search is getting started. Finding the motivation can be a real burden but procrastination won’t help. Consider designating a spot in your home or apartment as a work zone. For all practical purposes, this new workspace is your office until you find a real one where someone is willing to pay you.  

Planning: A job search doesn’t come with a secretary, unfortunately. So, you’ll need to fill that role yourself, which means keeping track of everything that affects your search. This is where organizational skills come into play because job hunting involves lots of lists. Keep track of everyone you’ve contacted and the names of companies with potential employment openings. You’ll also want to keep a schedule with the times and dates for each interview so you don’t overlap or miss out on a potential lead.

Executing: Think you’ve got a few minutes of down time? Wrong. Now is when you need to be working on polishing your interview skills. Practice in front of a mirror or have a friend conduct a mock interview. Get comfortable talking about yourself, your accomplishments and how you can benefit a potential employer.  Now is also a good time to do some research about the company that might hire you. If you’re asking them to make a sizeable investment in you, returning the favor is only natural. Spend time learning more about the company, the industry and the person who will be conducting the interview.

Monitoring and Control: Meticulous record keeping is vital for a successful job search. The more information you have at your fingertips, the better. So make a list that you can reference to help keep tabs on your industry and the job market. Remember, it’s vital to make contacts. Even if you go to an interview and it didn’t feel particularly strong, log the information – it could later prove helpful. Have you ever seen a name and not been able to remember where you met that person before? Good record keeping eliminates this problem and gives you an upper hand if that person is in a position to hire you down the road.

Closing: You’ve done your homework and someone finally called with an offer of employment. Before you say yes, and celebrate, take some time to make sure you’re asking the right questions. You don’t want to accept a position that will leave you unhappy and wishing you had kept looking for other work. Evaluate the offer completely, including salary, benefits, hours, company holidays and start date. Don’t forget: This is business and you should negotiate if you believe it’s in your best interest.

Looking for work is never going to be fun or easy, particularly at a time when so many others are doing the same. However, approaching a job search as if it were a project to manage may help keep you on task and ahead of the pack.

Erin Palmer is a writer and editor for Bisk Education. She covers topics such as PMP prep course information. Through the University Alliance, Erin writes articles to help students gain a certificate in project management.

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