Job Search: Find Help from Your Network

Lindsay Scott also shares tips for building business acumen and how to turn down a promotion.

I'm getting nowhere applying for jobs via postings. What else can I do to find new opportunities?  

There’s a not-so-new reality for jobs searches: You need to spend just as much time tapping into professional networks as browsing the job ads. Amid a persistent post-pandemic surge in opportunities, it stands to reason that someone in your network works for an organization that needs project talent right now. The trick is reawakening your network so you can find them—and they can find you. 

Update your LinkedIn profile so your connections know that you’re looking. Make sure your “About” summary calls attention to your availability, your top skills and the type of role you’re looking for. Don’t forget to add your résumé or CV as a download.  

The best way to get back on your LinkedIn network’s radar is to carve out time to share interesting articles or insights or comment on other people’s posts (which means you will appear in your network’s homepage stream).  

Attend in-person events to let people know that you’re looking, learn about potential opportunities and gain insights that will make you an even better candidate. 

Even after you find a new job, don’t stop networking. Staying engaged on LinkedIn or through events will help you maintain genuine connections—and will allow you to reciprocate when others need help.  

What advanced business degrees are best suited to advance my project management career? 

Organizations are looking for project leaders with business acumen who can be strategic thinkers. Adding a business certification or degree can elevate your power skills and boost your project management career. The decision of which one comes down to how much time and funds you can invest. 

In my experience, a wider management degree like the MBA can make a big difference when it comes to expanding career opportunities. Such degrees also give you a deeper understanding of business. But it will require a greater commitment than any certification pursuit, so think about whether you can handle a full-time degree workload or whether you need to spread it out as a part-time student.  

Another rigorous, but less expensive and less-time-consuming option? The PMI Professional Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)® certification. It’s not just for business analysts—the knowledge earned can help project leaders work with key stakeholders to navigate key decisions, like defining business requirements.  

I was offered a promotion, but I don’t feel ready. Can I turn it down without ruining my future? 

I applaud your maturity and self-awareness for recognizing your limitations. My only word of caution: Before you turn down a promotion, have a thorough conversation with your manager about the expectations for the new role. Often, new opportunities don’t require as much experience or as many responsibilities as the job description might imply. 

That said, there’s certainly an appropriate way to decline the offer while showing your gratitude to the organization.  

Make a private list of all the reasons to say no (including stuff like fear and imposter syndrome, which has a nasty habit of popping up in situations like this). This exercise will help you explain to your managers which skills and experiences will better prepare you for the role in the future. To show that you’re serious, follow up with human resources or talent development leaders to see how the organization can help you pursue more training, coaching or mentoring that will make you ready to accept next time.

Have a career question for Lindsay Scott? Email [email protected].

PMI career columnist Lindsay Scott is based in London.

 

View More Digital Exclusives

Lindsay Scott Headshot

PMI career columnist Lindsay Scott is based in London.

Submit Your Questions

Have a career question for Lindsay Scott? Email [email protected]

Lindsay Scott's Column

How to Ask for a Raise in 2022
Plus, tips for transitioning back to full-time work, requesting in-person interviews and sharing the right pandemic anecdotes.

A Strategy for Confronting Burnout
Also covered: exploring citizen development, upskilling agile and taking the freelance dive. 

Three Ways New Leaders Can Find Their Voice
And how to look beyond the job title and navigate "stay" interviews.

Which Skills Can Make You a Better Leader?
Additionally: tips for how remote workers can maintain influence and how to explain pandemic work gaps.

How to Find the Right Mentor for Your Career
Along with thoughts on book publishing, coming out of retirement, and the business case for professional development.

How to Search for a New Job—With Confidence
Lindsay Scott also shares tips for transitioning into a project role and knowing when it’s time to move on.

Career Content

Salary Survey
Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey is an industry-leading source of data for project practitioners who want to stay up to date with today’s salary landscape.

Take Your Best Shot: Scoring a Promotion
How to make yourself marketable and create your own opportunities.

Four Tips for Landing Your Next Job
Keep yourself marketable in a changing business environment.

Career Navigator: Move Your Career Forward
Based on your interests and goals, Career Navigator creates a personalized action plan to match you with the perfect growth opportunities.

More Career Content