Retaining your job and securing a new one during an economic downturn.

The global agile and project management job market is looking more competitive amidst the fear of an economic downturn. While there are thousands of jobs being advertised weekly on Linkedln, Indeed, Glassdoor and other job boards, getting one requires persistency, consistency, focus and smart work.

Here are few steps you can consider to (i) keep your job (ii) get hired as a Scrum Master, Product Owner, Project Manager, Business Analyst and Agile Project/Delivery Manager.

To keep your job, here are top seven things to consider:

  • Stay visible: this is not the time to be quiet and not contribute during meetings and community/chapter events. Contribute to the success of your team through collaborations, and by committing to enough work that will move the project and team forward.

  • Meet deadlines: do not joke with hard deadlines and communicate early enough if you may not be able to meet up.

  • Add value: this is the time to wear many hats and add tremendous value. Don't be rigid with your role, be flexible, make a difference and help other team members succeed. It is only fair to know a bit about manual testing, budgeting, DevOps, solution design, requirement gathering and other value adding tasks that contributes to the success of the project.

  • Increase your skills, get relevant knowledge and certifications: do not be stagnant especially with the knowledge and certifications that earned you your present job. Get more knowledge, certifications and make your accomplishments known to your team and Manager, especially on how the new knowledge can add value. Widen your skills set, especially in the areas that your team struggles with.

  • Have frequent communications with your Manager: ensure you have frequent touch base with your line Manager to discuss your goals, targets and productivity. Deepening your relationship with your Manager, communicating continuously and getting feedbacks means a lot at this time.

  • Be aware of your vulnerability within your team and organization: you may have unhealthy competitions within your team, and your organization may also be vulnerable in this economy. It is highly important to activate your emotional intelligence, so that you can respond professionally to different situations or at least stay aware.

  • Avoid confrontations and unhealthy conflicts: healthy conflicts that triggers learning opportunities are good for any team. However, this is not the time for you to be in the bad news. Avoid quarrels, arguments and conflicts. This does not mean you have to be passive.

Consider these ten action items to secure a professional employment, especially in the agile and project management space:

  • Have the right resume/CV and LinkedIn profile with the right keywords that matches specific role descriptions.

  • Have relevant certifications; Scrum, SAFe, Scrum@Scale, CBAP, PMP certifications are preferred for Agile and Project Management roles.

  • Apply daily and give yourself a target such as 10 direct job applications via the career website of reputable organizations and 5 contract roles via recruiters.

  • Apply for jobs not older than seven days.

  • Submit a very good cover letter if requested for.

  • Prepare for every interview by researching about your Interviewers, getting familiar with your meeting bridge, rehearsing your answers (stories) and preparing a quiet place for the interview.

  • Answer every interview question explaining what you did (use a lot of "I did"...and not "we did") and back your answers up with experiences captured on your resume.

  • Be a good storyteller and know when to stop. Give just enough information always, as too many may be distracting and portray you as a less precise person.

  • Ask questions at the end of every interview.

  • Send an appreciation email after every interview and follow up for feedback without desperation.

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