If you want
to work in
you have to be
able to adapt to
>STILL A STIGMA?
There once was a time when a sizable time gap on your résumé was a black
mark spotlighting a career misstep or professional failure. But those days
are fading fast as a tumultuous economy gives way to massive layoffs and
record-high unemployment rates.
“So many people have been made redundant so many times, I really don’t
think there’s any shame involved,” says John Hannon, New Projections, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England.
That’s not to suggest, however, that a lengthy period of unemployment should be brushed off as incidental, especially when on the hunt for
a new job. Rather, project managers looking to reenter the workplace must
“reframe their experience,” Mr. Hannon says, so that potential employers
have an in-depth understanding of career ups—and downs.
Point out legitimate reasons for taking time off work, such as travel, building a new home or caring for someone who was ill.
Nevertheless, there is a limit to what employers see as an acceptable
period of joblessness. If you’ve been out of work for more than a year and a
half, “you’re looking at problems,” warns Theresa Moriarty, senior recruiter,
Management Recruiters of Seattle, an executive search firm in Seattle, Washington, USA.
Just be upfront about it.
“Don’t bury it somewhere in your résumé,” she advises. “Either be honest
or just don’t bother applying for the job.”
Some employers actually view today’s continual talent churn in a positive
light. “Many employers feel they have access to talent they never would have
had in a different economy,” Ms. Moriarty says.
Such flexibility is a business necessity in today’s tumultuous economy.
“If you want to work in different organizations, you have to be able to adapt
to different styles of project management,” Mr. Hannon says.
—John Hannon, New Projections,
Welwyn Garden City,
CORPORATE CULTURE CLASH
Adapting to a new approach to project
management doesn’t have to entail
abandoning the tried-and-true methodologies you’ve adopted over the
years. Try looking for kindred spirits,
Ms. James recommends.
“If you’re someone who loves collab-
oration and you no longer have people
to collaborate with, it’s still worth look-
ing into where else you can find that,”
she says. It might even be worthwhile
to bounce ideas off of a colleague from
a different firm or industry.