Monday, October 03, 2005

Strategies for Finding the Right Project

Everyone in the Big Four knows there is a lot you can do to manage your fate. You don't have to sit and wait for somebody to find you. In fact, you'll be a lot happier if you seek out the projects you and and position yourself to get on board. You'll build relationships, work on projects that interest you, and generally be seen as a "go getter." It's easy to be perceived as ambitious when it gets you what you want!

The importance of networking cannot be understated. This is the best way to build your visibility, and a properly managed network can put you in the enviable position of having multiple projects from which to choose. You can expand your network simply by talking to people. When you go to practice or firm-wide events, don't spend all your time talking to the people you know. You'll talk to them soon anyway. Introduce yourself to people you don't know. Find out what they do. These are acquaintances that definitely will remember you when they need you.

Keep track of people. It's easy. On most projects, especially big projects, you'll meet a number of new people. After the project ends, shoot them an e-mail every now and then. On many projects, especially during the proposal or ramp-up stages, my project managers would ask existing teammembers if they knew of any talent for project team positoins that hadn't been filled yet. Keeping in touch with former teammates can definitely help you. Yours will be the name that comes to mind when their project managers ask.

Work on proposals - as many as you can. Yes, proposal work is frustrating, tiresome,a nd of course not billable. But, it positions you at the front of the line when your firm wins the work and the project team needs to be assembled. Also, working on proposals expands your network.

When you wait for a project to find you, you're stuck with whatever finds you first. By finding projects on your own, you stay ahead of the game, and you'l be more likely to find interesting, satisfying opportunities. You'll notice the difference during your appraisal process at the end of the year.


Jack Payne said...

The only one of your networking suggestions I do not follow is working on multiple proposals. Being a mono-maniac, this is very hard to do.

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