This past week, I attended The National Resume Writers’ Association’s conference, this year held in Portland, Maine. Though it’s nice to be able to interact with members virtually, I get more in the 3.5 days each year than I do in 12 months!
Ironically, where I learn the most at these events is outside of the conference room. With no set agenda, topics come up naturally – I end up learning things I didn’t know I even needed to know! Still, I’d guess that some of my biggest takeaways at conferences come from conversations I’ve had with colleagues at dinner, while exploring the town, or in-between sessions.
Of course, there is immense value in attending the conference workshops. I get to update specific skills, learn about industry trends, and pick up new ways of doing things. I do the same thing virtually when I attend teleseminars, webinars, and group calls. But one thing is missing – the human interaction. While technology has enabled me to meet and stay in touch with connections, there’s a longer lead time. On the other hand, it’s not unheard of for two people to become fast friends after meeting at a conference or symposium.
Though online networking is necessary in this day and age, it would be disappointing if they completely overtook in-person conferences. For those with the option, I’d like to encourage everyone to invest in their careers by attending at least one on-site conference a year. Though online is definitely cheaper, I can almost guarantee a higher ROI on your investment of money and time when you attend an in-person conference. Your career is worth it!