Bruce Harpham contributed this guest post.
Bruce HarphamPeople come and go in project management. You can quickly become close to your project team in a matter of weeks. Sometimes, you might see more of your team than your family when working on difficult projects.
But what happens after the project is finished? Are you still able to see them? It could take months or even years before you see them again if you’re a project consultant.
Relationships are like a flower in a garden. They thrive when given care and attention, but they die when left untended. You are responsible for maintaining your professional network.
Here are 4 reasons to keep your project network active
It is not hard to see that modern life is extremely busy. Here are four reasons to make time for your professional network.
Each of these reasons should be sufficient. All of these reasons are sufficient to make you feel guilty about neglecting your professional relationships.
1. Contribution
You can help your colleagues and friends when they are in trouble by creating a network. A University of Exeter study in 2013 found that volunteers live longer than those who are not volunteering.
Giving back to others can boost your well-being, and help you feel closer to others.
2. Information Update
Your network can provide you with the best project management tips. Your network can also help you acquire valuable skills.
This type of information could help you land a job or solve a difficult problem at work.
3. Security of employment
Did you lose your job? Did your project management contract end?
If you have already contributed to your network, you can also ask your network about employment opportunities. Mark Granovetter’s Getting a Job: a Study of Careers and Contacts by Mark Granovetter states that more than half of all jobs can be found through personal contacts.
LinkedIn can help you build your career and create a network to alert you when you are looking for a new job — even if you aren’t available to work right now.
4. Leadership
Being a leader is one the most rewarding things I have ever done. Your network can support you in any endeavor, whether it’s to run for political office, collect donations for a charity of your choice, or pursue another goal.
Your profession-based network
How many project professionals do your contacts know outside of your company? This is a key indicator of the strength and diversity of your network. These are five ways to build your professional network.
Always look for ways that you can add value, before you try to get favors. This is my Golden Rule of Networking: Find a way to give back first.
Here are five ways that you can help project management if you don’t know how to get started.
1. Make sure to use professional bodies
Visit your local PMI Chapter.
You can earn PDUs by attending regular presentations in your region. Volunteer opportunities may be available to organize events, speak at conferences or work on a website.
2. Talk to your colleagues
Ask your colleagues.
If you are interested in expanding your network, ask your colleagues to introduce your to project managers at other companies.
3. Participate in events
Participate in a conference on project management.
The APM Conference is available in the UK. (Hint: To get ready, read Elizabeth’s article about how to attend a conference.
4. Reach out to authors
Contact project management authors.
Send an email to the editor if you have read an interesting article on project management in the media (or a publication about project management), to thank them or ask a question.
5. Take a course
Register for a course.
Meeting classmates and chatting with the instructor is one of my favorite reasons to attend classes in person. You don’t have to limit yourself to traditional courses in project management. To improve your Microsoft Excel or Access skills, you might consider taking a technical course.
Serving Your Community Network