A Career by Any Other Name...

Career ChangeTimes are still tough for many of us in our industry. It's no longer news that when the economy took a beating, our meetings and hospitality community took a beating, too. Many of us are still on the prowl, desperate for work. Even those of us with jobs are being asked to do more with and for less, so not only are the unemployed searching, but so are the overemployed.

As someone who has, over the years, sent out more than his share of resumes, I can say that it's a plus to keep your options open. Don't be afraid to look outside of our industry. One, our skills transfer easily from field to field. Secondly, people hire meeting planners all the time, it's just that they often use a different title. The challenge is getting a potential employer to understand that your talents go from place to place and industry to industry.

For example, have you ever read a job description for a local radio producer? It's basically someone who gathers all the parts necessary for a radio personality to host a radio show. That might require some scheduling, working with marketing and PR, and generally making sure all the pieces come together. Sound familiar?

How about a project manager? The terms they use in that particular role might be different, but if anyone knows how to manage a project, it's a Meeting Planner. There are several roles out there with different names, vocabulary and requirements, but in many ways it takes the same skills we as Planners have.

It's not always easy to make your resume reflect those industry idiosyncrasies, but if you study the company website and adjust your resume to fit the job advertisement or description, you might just be able to convince someone that you can do the job. And that's what a resume is for. The real selling happens during the interview and that's when you can really shine.

As someone who has done hiring for meeting roles, I've seen the reverse. As a matter of fact, I once had an applicant whose background was in television news production. My immediate thought was, "are you crazy? That's nothing like planning a meeting." But on closer inspection of that resume, I could see where the applicant's knowledge could easily work in our world, too.

Expand your search and include job boards that you wouldn't normally check. And then, in the words of Nike, just do it.
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