Attending an industry conference is a great way to move forward in your career and it should be something you plan on every year.
If it’s not part of your repertoire of career-enhancing tools, consider the following five ways that attending a conference can boost your career.
Learn what’s new in your industry
This is obvious but should not be taken for granted. Attending a conference often provides opportunities to learn about the cutting-edge technologies, theories, and practices that will impact your job and industry in the coming months and years. Understanding what the trends are will help you as you take on a more active leadership role at your work place.
Meet and learn from industry game-changers
Large, national conferences usually offer the chance the hear from well-known (and sometimes, famous) experts in your field or industry. Be brave and ask questions or seek out opportunities to speak with these experts one-on-one. The speakers and presenters at conferences are usually approachable and enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise with attendees.
Expand your professional network
Of course, attending a conference allows you to network and expand your contacts nationally (and even globally, depending on the conference). Come prepared with business cards and curiosity about the others in attendance. Prepare some discussion questions in advance, research individuals you are interested in meeting, and consider contacting them ahead of the conference to set up conversations over coffee or lunch.
Discover job openings in your field
At some conferences there are opportunities to meet with prospective employers and interview for open positions. If that’s not the case at the conference you attend, it is still possible to learn about available jobs through conversations with other attendees and from company representatives. You might even discover a job board and notifications made on social media
Recharges the batteries
Struggling with motivation? Feeling uninspired or burned out? Considering a job change? Many times, attending a conference can provide a needed boost—from an inspiring keynote address, to the new technology that will save your business time and money, to the interesting new colleagues you connect with. You might just find a renewed enthusiasm for your job, along with some new ideas to apply to the office, when you return.
Research the key conferences in your field or industry and make plans to attend at least one event this year.