Project Management

The Subtleties of Career Advancement

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I have a feeling that some of this article may be a bit controversial. That’s okay; I would much rather spark debate among readers than have everyone agree. This month’s theme is about career development, and that got me to thinking about how I could write something that was a little bit different. That in turn led me to areas that people don’t want to talk about or acknowledge, and that seemed like a good topic to focus on.

To explain what I mean, consider the situation where two people with identical skills and experience are applying for the same job. Their résumés could literally be swapped for each other and no one would know. But one of those people is known by the hiring manager, they have supported that manager on a few projects and have always gone out of their way to help that manager out. The other is unknown to the hiring manager. Which one’s going to get the job?

It’s obviously the one that the manager knows and respects. And that’s what I want to talk about here—the steps you need to take above and beyond simply doing your job well to maximize your chances of a successful career. Call it politics if you like, call it something less complimentary—but recognize that it is a valid and valuable approach to advancing your career.

To define some boundaries for this piece, we&…

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You know what I love? How there's two nuts named after people: Hazel and Filbert.

- George Costanza