Networking for the 20-something PM Professional

I went out to a Professional Development Dinner Meeting, courtesy of the Project Management Institute- San Diego Chapter, this last Wednesday. I love networking events- the reason being that I have a propensity to talk to complete strangers in social gatherings, and networking events such as these allow me to fully capitalize on this characteristic instead of trying to suppress it. 

I took off for this networking event with a full arsenal of business cards, notepad and pens, and a cheerful disposition (which was partially due the unseasonable nice weather we have been having here).

I have been making more of an effort to go to PM networking events as of late, as I think it is important to tap into the local community of peer project managers for inspiration, collaboration, and support. Attending these events I have noticed that while there is a handful of other young professional Project Managers, there is not as many as I would have expected. I think as the Project Management Profession grows increasingly popular amongst the 20-something crowd, networking events will eventual reflect this. The leap is making young project managers aware of events and for them to realize the benefits associated with networking. 

I interviewed one young PM Professionals at this dinner to get a gauge on what her motivation was to attend PM networking events, and this is what I found out..

Name: Sarah Elizabeth Aronsohn

How did you here about the PMI networking event: I’m a member of PMI, so I look on the monthly calendar on their web site for events like this. I actually heard about PMI from my friend’s boy friend that is in it.  He took me to my first meeting.

What are you hoping to get out of this PMI dinner and networking events such as these: I want to meet people in the San Diego community so I have an idea of what’s going on in this town.  It’s not that I can’t meet people on Garnett (local street that is popular with the college crowd, but not what you would call a “professional oriented” scene); it’s just that those people aren’t necessarily going to help me get my PMP one day.  It’s great to get to know people who aren’t in your daily routine, especially because I’m still pretty new to San Diego.  Even though I love my job and am not actively looking for another job, you never know when something even better might come along.  I also really want to get more involved in PMI for experience and a resume builder. Oh yeah, and building your conversation skills and learning how to handle yourself at dinner with strangers is always a great skill to have.

What are your feelings about networking, particularly networking as a young professional, at these events: It’s so much easier for us 20-somethings to get career advice and guidance at events like these than at longboards (popular local bar). It’s nice to be able to step away from your own peer group for a few hours and meet people who you want to mirror professionally.  At every event I’ve gone to I’ve collected a few business cards and have actually kept in touch with those people.  They’re really a great resource.

Looking around, I don’t see many people here under 30. Why do you think that is, and what would encourage more young PM professional to come to these events?  Because it’s intimidating for a 20 something to walk into a room with older, serious looking, professionals and strike up a conversation with just any Dick, Jane or Harry.  Eleanor Roosevelt said you should do one thing a day that scares you.  Going to these meetings was that one thing for me at first.  The funny thing is though, once you start going, you meet so many people that you forget that you came alone. 

What are your goals in obtaining your CAPM? What obstacles are you facing in taking this test? My first goal is for my company to pay for it!!  They stopped all tuition reimbursement and programs that would pay for these tests, so I’m going to wait until I can get their money to take it.  I’m an assistant trying to become a PM someday, so I’m really hoping that taking the CAPM will edge people to taking me more seriously at my goal.  I wish there was a really cheap class to study for the CAPM too, I learn best in a class setting, but they are all way too expensive!

Are there any other perks you find in coming to these events?  

I must also say that the 20 something people that do show up at these events are quite the lookers.  I’d so much rather meet a guy here than at PB Bar and Grill (yet another popular local bar).

Well there you have it folks, straight from the mouth of a real live young PM Professional who is using some her best assets-intellectual and social capital-to give her career a significant boost.

Thank you Sarah or sharing your thoughts. And to the young networkers out there everywhere- PM or otherwise- in these times where financial capital is not of great abundance, networking is a great activity to boost your career and strengthen the assets that you do have.

Thanks for reading,

Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM    

Comments are closed.