Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Keeping Project Management Skills Sharp After Lay - Off

Alina Dizik of The Wall Street Journal writes that M.B.A's who find themselves laid-off often struggle with keeping their skills sharp. She advocates for individuals to participate in certification programs, meet-ups, conferences and valuable networking opportunities. You might also consider attending free web seminars, which we strive to bring to you frequently.

Dizik also offers other ideas:

* Stay connected to industry associations. Check out your membership rights with trade groups or unions. Many times, you can continue your membership for free or at a reduced rate if you’re out of work. “That means you get booklets, magazines, all the information that will help keep you up to date with what’s going on,” says Gerry Crispin, co-founder CareerXroads, a Kendall Park, N.J., consulting firm that helps companies recruit.

* Hit conferences. Attend industry or professional conferences by checking out association Web sites and groups on social media sites like Facebook. Often, associations will waive or reduce conference fees for members, or for those who are unemployed.

* Join local interest groups. Local organizations like the chamber of commerce provide good networking opportunities and sometimes offer skills classes. Offer to help run the program committee, which sets the agenda for speakers and events. You’ll get a say in who is invited and network with guests.

* Take classes—in person. Taking an online class is easy, but it eliminates that face-to-face networking that often lands jobs and opens doors, says Ms. O’Donnell. “You need something where you physically show up,” she says.

* Consider entry-level coursework. One of Ms. O’Donnell’s clients was laid off from a project management job in banking. He wanted to become a project manager at a software company, but didn’t know the lingo. He took a basic Web design class; his younger classmates taught him industry terminology. “He came back so excited about learning a new industry and was much better prepared for interviews,” she says.

What other ideas do you have for laid-off workers looking to keep their skills sharp? We'd like to hear your ideas.

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