Project Management

Are You—and Your Career—Ready for a Post-COVID World?

From the Voices on Project Management Blog
by , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

cyndee miller
Lynda Bourne
Kevin Korterud
Conrado Morlan
Peter Tarhanidis
Mario Trentim
Jen Skrabak
David Wakeman
Wanda Curlee
Christian Bisson
Ramiro Rodrigues
Soma Bhattacharya
Emily Luijbregts
Sree Rao
Yasmina Khelifi
Marat Oyvetsky
Lenka Pincot
Jorge Martin Valdes Garciatorres

Past Contributors:

Rex Holmlin
Vivek Prakash
Dan Goldfischer
Linda Agyapong
Jim De Piante
sanjay saini
Siti Hajar Abdul Hamid
Bernadine Douglas
Judy Umlas
Abdiel Ledesma
Michael Hatfield
Deanna Landers
Alfonso Bucero
Kelley Hunsberger
Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina
William Krebs
Marian Haus
Shobhna Raghupathy
Peter Taylor
Joanna Newman
Saira Karim
Jess Tayel
Lung-Hung Chou
Rebecca Braglio
Roberto Toledo
Geoff Mattie
Dmitri Ivanenko PMP ITIL

Recent Posts

How to Align Stakeholders During the Pandemic

Have Traditional Reports Passed Their Use-by Date?

Building Effective Team Habits in the New Work Ecosystem

Learn to Fail—It’s Just Part of Being a Resilient Leader

Damage Control: Repairing Relationships on Troubled Projects

Categories: Careers, Disruption

By Cyndee Miller

Project leaders are no strangers to change. But between a massive shift to remote work and a global recession looming, many wonder what it all means for their careers.

These are unprecedented times, no doubt—but previous downturns can help point to a path forward, explains PM Network® columnist Lindsay Scott on a recent episode of Projectified. She predicts an “extremely competitive” job market, “just as it was back then in 2008 to ’11,” following the economic meltdown known as the Great Recession.

That makes networking a must, Scott says, even if it has to be adjusted to the realities of today. With happy hour mixers and conferences IRL likely not happening anytime soon, she offers up a nice hack for virtual events in a recent PM Network® digital exclusive: “Open the chat functionality on the video conferencing software to join real-time conversations during presentations. If you like what you’re reading from others, hop onto conference messaging to let them know and make more formal introductions.” The same goes for speakers: Reach out with a thank you, noting what you enjoyed most about their presentation. “It’s an easy way to warm up the introduction you’ll make later via email or LinkedIn,” Scott says.

Here’s where I add a blatant plug for PMI’s Virtual Experience Series and point you to my post about the last event—and remind you there’s another one on 25 August on the theme of The Community: Together We Rise.

Beyond virtual networking, now’s the time to take advantage of any extra pockets of downtime to sharpen skills. During the last downturn, Scott said, many project leaders neglected their professional development and were unpleasantly surprised by the underwhelming response they got from HR. So whether it’s checking out free learning resources from PMI or devoting an hour each day to keeping up with trends or prepping for a certification exam, putting in some work now can give you a real career edge.

“When it comes to a crowded marketplace with lots of people suddenly looking for work … you want to find some way that you’re going to be able to stand out,” Scott says on Projectified.

And it’s not just about technical chops. The COVID-19 crisis is bringing communication to the fore, she says. It’s always been “a massive part of project management,” but with so many people managing dispersed virtual teams, there are new areas to learn about: “How do we keep people motivated and engaged? How do I make sure that their well-being’s all right? How do I make sure that they’re on track with their deliverables and they’re checking in and all that kind of stuff?”

Given the current climate, perhaps the most valuable skill of all will simply be the ability to embrace unrelenting change. “I believe black swan incidents, like Brexit or COVID-19, might become a new normal phenomenon in the future,” says Stephen Xu, PhD, PMP, head of the project management office for business unit infrastructure at Alibaba Group, Hangzhou, China. “That will make strategic agility even more important,” the PMI Future 50 leader told PM Network®.

For project leaders with the right skills and the right mindset, career prospects remain bright. “Organizations are still hiring,” Scott told Projectified. “It’s about understanding what those organizations are and what their particular opportunities are.”

How are you making adjustments to your career development during the COVID-19 crisis? Share in the comments below.

Posted by cyndee miller on: August 25, 2020 12:28 AM | Permalink

Comments (7)

Please login or join to subscribe to this item
Very interesting, thank for sharing

Thank you for sharing. It is a challenging marketplace indeed to stand out in the crowd. I have found spending some of my time learning new skills and improving skills. I found e-learning is a fair use of my time waiting for opportunities to come my way. I am excited to get back to work.

I agreed with Mark, demand is less versus supply means for one job opportunity there are hundreds of applicants. Hope things get better in coming days

In this time, best way is to upgrade the skills, as people working from home they are saving commute time and utilize that time in learning new skills, taking some online courses.

PMs will have to reload and reshape to fit into the soon coming competitive job market

Hi Cyndee, thank you so much for this great article. Learning and volunteering have been my main goals the last few months. Stay safe! Yasmina

Please Login/Register to leave a comment.


"I went into a McDonald's yesterday and said, 'I'd like some fries.' The girl at the counter said, 'Would you like some fries with that?' "

- Jay Leno