By CSU Global - December 19th, 2018
There are many ways to advance in your career, including earning a certificate to learn a new skill set, setting and meeting professional goals, and earning an advanced degree. However, there’s another, often overlooked, way to learn more about your industry and become more successful in your career: attending a conference.
If you’ve never attended a conference, you’re missing out on numerous personal and professional opportunities. Industry conferences spanning an array of topics are held around the world. Some companies and professional organizations will pay for their employees to attend so they can achieve continued career development and growth.
Since every industry has yearly updates, announcements, and data to share, it is recommended that professionals attend at least one conference a year. You might also find monthly conferences and workshops in your city; LinkedIn is a great resource for finding events. When researching upcoming events in your field, look at each conference’s full schedule, breakout sessions, speakers, and other information, to find one that will support your current professional development.
Here are five benefits of attending a conference:
1. You can discover cutting-edge industry tools and products.
One of the most fascinating aspects of a conference is getting a sneak peek at new tools and products in your industry. Many speakers share details about upcoming launches to generate buzz and showcase how they might benefit their audience. You might also have the opportunity to test out gadgets and technology platforms.
2. You can learn in depth with breakout sessions and workshops.
Conferences vary in size, depending on their industries, the cities they’re held in, and the speakers who attend. Look for conferences with breakout sessions or workshops, where a smaller group of attendees are able to receive a more focused presentation. An example would be a digital marketing conference with a breakout session that discusses Google algorithm updates.
3. You can get the latest on industry updates and trends.
Besides serving as a venue for previewing and launching new innovations, conferences are a great place to learn about updates and trends. If you were to attend a conference for web design, you might hear about market trends, such as new user experience (UX) techniques. If you work in healthcare, you might learn about ways to make intake processes more efficient.
4. You can ask experts your burning questions.
Another great aspect of conferences is that you usually have the opportunity to meet with experts and speakers one on one. Q&A sessions are common at conferences, but many speakers stick around after their presentation to answer questions, as well. Depending on the conference, representatives from companies within your industry may have booths set up to introduce you to their products. If you’re considering purchasing from one of these companies, this is a great opportunity to ask questions in order to ensure the product is a good fit before you buy it.
5. You can network with peers.
Conferences also allow their participants the opportunity to meet other working professionals in their field. A connection can be very valuable, and you never know when it may turn into a client, employee, or partner. Print your own business cards before attending a conference, and share them with people you want to connect with.
By attending at least once per year, you can learn more, make connections with people in your field, and continue exploring ways to advance in your career.
The CSU Global staff continually researches topics that are of interest to CSU Global students. Our goal is to support student success and learning outcomes.