PM Skills Aren’t Enough

It’s a bit early, but the surveys of hiring managers for 2012 are starting to trickle in.  When asked what skills they plan to hire for next year, the top two are software developer and project manager.  But now it seems that there’s a growing interest in having a PM who can also act as a business analyst.  While this is certainly viable for small projects, it leads me to wonder if this trend anticipates lower capital spending next year.  Based on the stock market, it seems like we’re headed for another recession, and if there will be fewer “large” projects, it might be tempting for some employers to shed some of their most senior (read: expensive) project managers.

If you’ve been too busy to do a career self-assessment, this might be an excellent time for it.  Update your resume and then compare it to the jobs listed on Dice and some of the other technology job boards.  What are employers looking for, compared to what you’ve got?  Education?  Professional credentials?  Product-specific experience?  Industry-specific experience?  Does your ten years of experience read like one year of experience, ten times?

Take a look at your professional network.  Are you on LinkedIn?  Is your profile up to date?  When was the last time you went to a PMI chapter meeting?  What is your personal brand?  Do you have a 30-second elevator pitch that describes you and your skills?  Can you deliver it in 30 seconds, and make the listener want to give you another five minutes?

Don’t wait until you have all the time in the world to re-examine your career goals.  Even if you don’t want to call it a contingency plan, it’s better to have a clear plan than a gnawing anxiety.

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About Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a project manager with over twenty five years of experience in implementing human capital management and payroll systems, including SaaS solutions like Workday and premises-based ERP solutions like PeopleSoft and ADP Enterprise. He has an MS in IT with a concentration in project management, and a BS in Business. He also holds the project management professional (PMP) designation, as well as professional designations in human resources and in benefits administration. In addition to his articles and blog posts, he curates a weekly roundup of articles on project management, and he has authored or contributed to several books on project management.