GAINING THE EDGE
Bhanu Vadlakonda, CAPM, is a project manager
in the project management office of the change
management division of a multinational bank in
technology solutions for day-to-day operations.
Since I worked as a technology support executive, I was given the opportunity to articulate the
requirements to the vendor. That was the moment
I connected the dots: I could practice requirements
management by volunteering for this project and
build on my professional experience.
To date, I still receive guidance from the connections I made while volunteering.
How else can you contribute to your project
management community while gaining knowledge
and contacts? Consider planning and implementing a major fundraiser, organizing a conference or
networking event at a local chapter, or supervising
and training other volunteers.
BUILD YOUR OWN NETWORK
Use your volunteer opportunities to meet new
people, connect personally and share knowledge.
The more you network, the more you get noticed.
Don’t hesitate to contact people for help or guidance. At the same time, offer to help others whenever possible.
If you’re just starting out, the biggest payoff of
networking is job opportunities. The more you’re
connected with other professionals, the better
the chances of being referred to a prospective job
opening. (My first international job resulted from a
referral by a friend I met while volunteering.)
But always remember that networking is not all
about you. Don’t forget to grow your network by
introducing your connections to others in your
network. One such introduction by me led to an
active client-vendor relationship between my connections. Many companies recognize and capitalize
on the benefits of referrals, so a referral can go a
long way for a new project professional.
Tremendous possibilities emerge when you build
strong relationships—which are what successful
careers require. So start making connections now.
You never know which doors they might open. PM
Around the world, organizations across many different industries are facing a project management
talent gap. That means young professionals have
a better than good chance of building a promising
career in the world of project management. But
no career path is guaranteed: Inexperience and a
small network pose challenges to young project
practitioners’ professional development, as they do
to anyone at the outset of a career.
There are two easy ways to overcome these
challenges: volunteering and networking.
HELP OTHERS WHILE HELPING YOURSELF
It can be hard to find time to volunteer, but the
benefits are enormous. Volunteering is the per-
fect way to discover something you’re
really good at and develop a new skill.
Volunteering and networking
may seem to be two different topics, but for me, they’re linked. When
you volunteer, you meet new people
whom you can network with. These
people may or may not be in the same
domain, field or business as you, but
that doesn’t mean a relationship with
them won’t be beneficial. You might
even find a mentor who can guide you
down your career path and offer advice
when you hit a roadblock.
I started volunteering for a local
Launching a career is a project unto
PMI chapter at the beginning of my
career. I was able to interact with
experts and veterans in the industry
who gave me invaluable guidance
and suggestions for gaining work experience. For
instance, the chapter hired a vendor to provide
itself. Two things above all can help
young project managers get ahead.
BY BHANU VADLAKONDA, CAPM