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Blog: Using Project Planning Skills in A Job Search

Blog: Using Project Planning Skills in A Job Search

Today I want to demonstrate how I effectively use my project planning skills in my CIO job search.

Last week was a slow week for my job search, but busy in other ways. Our triplets started high school last week, with a new schedule and routines. As well, one of my four sisters, who lives overseas, returned to the USA for a two-week visit. Finally, we had two tornado funnel clouds tease our town last Thursday.

On the positive side, I had what I believe was a very good second interview via conference call for a VP of Technology position with a firm supporting the financial services industries with specialized marketing software and services. I also scheduled a follow-up interview, my fourth, with a Midwest defense contractor for this week, where I hope to discuss initial consulting work I could provide for them. As noted last week I interviewed with a major satellite and systems integration defense contracting firm and had an informative call with a 3rd-level deep networked lead who advised me on how he transitioned into the defense industry just last year. Finally, through this latter lead, I applied for an interim CTO position overseas with another defense contractor.

Perhaps more importantly, I took the opportunity to get my home office and myself re-organized. I reviewed all my notes and task lists that I have drafted so far in my job search and consolidated and prioritized them by criticality, resource availability, requirements, and geographic location.

If the consolidation and prioritization of tasks sounds familiar, they should: Those are some of the first steps in building a project plan.

I've noted previously that I treat my job search as my JOB, and I manage my work efforts using my project management skills. I propose that treating a job search as a major project should be relatively easy using standard project management methodologies.

In order to do so, my project must have clearly defined goals, quantifiable objectives and deliverables, available resources to accomplish those goals and deliverables, assignment of those resources to specific deliverables to meet critical timelines and/or priorities, and a means to track the use of those resources and attainment of deliverables. Once my project plan is created, the tasks and deliverables must have metrics to determine whether my goals are still on track. And if any are not on track, then the manager of this plan must take action to bring the plan back in line, eliminate or reduce barriers, and determine if additional resources are needed to regain potentially lost momentum.

The basic requirements per the above are:

Clearly defined goals and deliverables

I have previously noted my goals of this project, including my preferred industries. I have also met with my business partner (aka, my wife) to determine acceptable alternatives if it appears that our primary strategic goals may be delayed. In this case, as an alternative short-term deliverable that will meet most of our business needs until the primary project can be completed, an interim consulting position will be set as a simultaneous goal, with a start date no later than September 30th.

Resources: personnel, time, equipment and services (e.g., Internet, phone, coffee)

As for resources, to steal a phrase, I am an army of one. Or perhaps better stated, I am actually managing and coordinating multiple vendors (that is, executive recruiters, career site automated job alerts and even prospective employers) on this project, with primary analysis, team calendar and duty assignment maintained in house. Time resources allocated to the management and details of this project by in house staff was also previously stated at approximately ten to fourteen hours per business day, plus an additional eight hours required per weekend (sorry, it is in the job description after all - so no overtime benefits).

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