As I’m preparing to attend the annual conference of one of my professional associations (October 3-6), I’ve been thinking about how a well-planned and well-presented conference can increase one’s value to employers. If you haven’t considered that aspect of your career management recently, I encourage you to give it some thought now.
I could list several reasons you might want to attend conferences. These are just a few:
I mentioned that conferences need to be well-done to be as useful as possible. A poorly planned and executed conference is likely to be a waste of time and money.
Worse, such a conference could demotivate you and send you back to work with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm. It’s also not going to impress your employer if the company expected you to come back ready to contribute greater value in your work.
Important note: A conference can come with a high price tag, but that hefty investment doesn’t mean you’ll get what you pay for.
You have at least a few tools to help you determine whether a professional conference has good potential to increase your value to employers.
Some steps you should definitely plan to take include:
My question each year actually is, “Can I afford not to attend this conference?” I suggest you ask yourself the same question. In the ideal situation, your company would pay for you to attend. However, as we know, that has become an increasingly uncommon situation.
So, again, ask yourself whether making the effort to pay for it yourself makes good career sense. Who knows what professional doors your attendance might open for you, either in the near term or down the road a ways? The result could prove well worth whatever planning and possible sacrifices might be necessary to make your attendance a reality.
P.S. If I can’t squeeze in another blog post before my conference, I’ll try to do one shortly thereafter, to share some of the great stuff I learn!