Back in the old days when people rarely switched jobs, references were not particularly a priority for career management. Before you left a company, you might have asked a coworker, mentor or even your boss to write a reference—or else, this might have been left for the potential new company to do, with contact information you provided.
Well, it’s not the old days any more. A reference strategy must be part of your career management planning. And this month, you can turn to PM Network® for advice on how to make references work for you.
First thing you need to know is that you don’t need to have a new opportunity in mind to ask for a reference. If you have references in your pocket ahead of time, so to speak, that makes it easier when that new opportunity comes along.
When should you ask for a reference? Right after closing a successful project is an ideal time, the article says. This way, your teammates’ memory of working with you is fresh. And as you manage the project, keep in mind that providing extraordinary service to stakeholders will pay off in great recommendations later.
Whom should you ask? Experts say diversity is paramount. Get colleagues, sponsors, bosses and peers to “write you up.” If you already know what opportunity you are seeking, try to match the desired recommendations with the needs of the new job, such as skills in a particular tool or strategy expertise.
How do you ask? In person is always best, but if that can’t happen, a phone call allows for full explanation of what is needed. Once the potential reference agrees to help, urge him or her to provide specific project details, positive anecdotes and relevant metrics.
Where do you put recommendations? Written ones are always great, but public references on LinkedIn will help you show up on recruiters’ searches.
The article also covers what to do if your reference wants to help but does not have the time. Either you or the reference might suggest writing your own recommendation to be endorsed upon completion. As long as you maintain objectivity, this should work. Another possible way around the time conundrum is to provide your reference bullet points to expand upon.
Finally, one sure way to meet the need of having a recommendation written for you in the future is to write recommendations for others. Offering it before being asked and extending your reference role beyond the usual places (such as people you interact with in volunteer work) are sure ways to strengthen relationships. And good relationships mean good recommendations in the future.
We’re here to support your career journey, so be sure to read PM Network every month for practical and helpful information.
Remember the mobile-app explosion that changed the tech landscape around 10 years ago? According to a feature article in February PM Network®, a similar mad rush is now occurring in the emerging world of voice-assistant technology.
Here are some numbers: In 2018, more than 5 billion consumer devices made use of some type of voice-driven digital assistant. Use of this technology is growing: 61 percent of adults ages 25 to 64 anticipate using these devices more in the future than they have in the past.
Driving the race to bring voice-aware speakers into every smartphone, vehicle and kitchen are Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Home. Picture these major brands as blank canvasses for third parties eager to develop voice-controlled apps, tools and features. For example, the number of “skills” built for Alexa surpassed 50,000 toward the end of 2018, double the number from the beginning of the year.
Just like when mobile apps became a force, a lot of experimentation and education is needed before best practices become standardized. Companies now have to design for devices that don’t include screens and rely more on conversational forms of interaction. Often, the first step for voice-assistant projects often is educating the sponsor on the best ways to use voice technology. The next step frequently is writing a series of conversation scenarios which are submitted for client approval. Project timelines are generally shorter than those using screen interactions.
Project managers need to pay close attention to privacy concerns. Surveys show a leading sentiment among potential users unwilling to embrace voice assistants is privacy. Some small developers are waiting for security recommendations to be made by the major platform providers.
Read PM Network every month to keep up with the latest technology. This will help you take advantage of opportunities created by the changing tech landscape.
Obstructionist (Or Absent) Bosses
Categories: career management
So you want to climb the career ladder. You’re doing well in your job but you envision yourself growing, doing more, gaining skills and managing larger teams and initiatives.
A good boss can help you on your career path. He or she will mentor you, promote you with company executives and let you know about great opportunities.
Unfortunately, every boss is not a good boss. As a matter of fact, your boss could be the biggest obstacle to your ladder-climbing ambitions.
An article in this month’s PM Network® looks at several different boss behaviors that could derail your career journey. Fortunately, there are ways around these obstructionist managers, and this article details what you can do.
For the boss who tends to steal credit for project wins and accomplishments, the article recommends promoting dialogue and forging direct relationships with key internal stakeholders. This is especially important right after wrapping up a successful project.
If your boss is the type that is too busy to map out a skills development plan or talk about career goals, you can stretch your role and its responsibilities in order to grow on the job. Opportunities may come up that will enable you to show what you can do beyond your ordinary duties.
For organizations with very loose reporting structures for project professionals (i.e., you don’t really have a boss), the article suggests relying on project peers and company mentors to give you the advice and props that you need to forge ahead on your career path. More senior project managers may be able to help you out.
And in case these ideas don’t help you move forward, the article includes a sidebar that explains when it might be time to find a new employer.
If you are looking for career advice, be sure to check out PM Network every month. PMI members have been turning to it for valuable information and perspectives for over 30 years.
Do your New Year’s resolutions include finding a new job? Get help on where to look with the 2019 Jobs Report, published inside the January edition of PM Network®.
While overall demand for project managers is very strong, it is not consistent from country to country and sector to sector. This year’s Jobs Report focuses on eight countries: United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, United States, India, Nigeria, China and Germany.
Here’s a quick trip around the hiring world: In the U.K., construction is booming. There are more than 500 tall-building projects in the pipeline in London alone. Mexico has a new government and an evolving project management culture. Be ready to work as a freelancer or contractor.
In Brazil, offshore oil is growing fast while growth forecasts for the overall economy are pessimistic. The U.S. is enjoying robust growth predictions and is seeing talent shortages in many sectors. India has widespread demand for project managers but there is a gap between skills needed and skills offered. Nigeria should see growth in its infrastructure sector to help the country climb out of a 2016 recession.
China has shifted from a manufacturing and export-oriented economy to a technology-driven economic growth model. Germany’s economy remains brisk and buoyant, with its growth rate outpacing other European countries.
The Jobs Report is peppered with advice from professionals on how to get ahead in your career in 2019. An infographic covers worldwide outlooks in six sectors expected to generate high demand for project talent. As a bonus, the report includes a feature-length article explaining how to get hired when the recruiter doing the first sort is a computer with artificial intelligence.
PM Network welcomes you to 2019. We hope it is successful and that your resolutions come true.
In this, the final blog post for me in 2018, I’ll acquaint current and potential readers of PM Network® with the magazine’s Edge section.
Edge contains a collection of quick-reading, newsy articles that will update you about interesting projects, trends and potential opportunities. In December’s PM Network, the section begins with a heartwarming profile of a water park in Texas, USA that was built so everyone, including those with disabilities, can enjoy the facility. The team behind the water park tweaked the design based on stakeholder feedback.
Next is a brief article that testifies to the power of disruptive technology. The article reports that Dubai is now requiring 25 percent of new buildings must be 3D printed within the next seven years. The reasoning behind the mandate is to reduce human construction labor by 70 percent in a place where heat makes it difficult, and to cut building material cost by up to 90 percent.
Digital transformation is part of the next story, as well. Oil companies will use technology to help them profit from drilling small or very remote wells.
Next story…same story. Restaurants are using more and more robots to not just serve food but cook and prepare it as well. Robots are ideal for repetitive tasks—a recent analysis pinned 73 percent of food service and accommodation industry workers now perform could be automated.
Flipping the page, the Edge reader learns that despite a recent collapse of a prefabricated overpass that made big headlines, the modular building method is still quite popular in the construction industry.
Edge then focuses on a growing area of the economy (and result of a growing economy), the increasing challenge of properly disposing electrical and electronic waste. Projects are bringing electronics recycling plants to several parts of the world as a means to solve this challenge.
New York City certainly has a growing economy. It also has a subway system in massive disrepair. Projects to overhaul the system are being planned, but funding has not been found.
In between these two final Edge items is a short report about the perils of failed IT integration. This was pinned as the cause of suspected money laundering at a branch of Danske Bank A/S. The branch relied on its own IT platform rather than using the bank’s IT platform, resulting in questionable transactions not being flagged.
As you can see, Edge covers a world of interesting projects and project-related news. We invite you to follow Edge (and the rest of the content of PM Network) in the new year. Look for our annual Jobs Report in January!