I just returned from a conference with other career development professionals, and it's always an event that I love and look forward to each year.
Leaving the conference, I walk away with TONS of great ideas, best practices, inspiration and new tools to help support my clients and develop my own professional skills.
But my favorite part, and the most beneficial aspect of any professional gathering, is the community.
It's growing new and old professional relationships and friendships with other people who love to support the careers of others as I do. It's an opportunity to exchange ideas, but also to share the ups, downs, frustrations, rewards and most importantly the enthusiasm for what we do.
Not only that, but the relationships that are formed lead the way to form partnerships, hear about potential job opportunities, and connect with people who will be supportive of each other in their careers in the future.
No matter where you are in your career - if you're exploring new jobs and industries, want to grow in your current position, or just want to find a way to stay connected to your interests outside of work, you need to find and build your community.
Find the people who share your interests, relate to your struggles, celebrate your successes, value your ideas, and want to support and help you grow in your career.
Where can you find your community? Everywhere!
You don't need to spend money to fly to a professional conference (although it IS an amazing opportunity to learn and network). Find a group on meetup.com, join a social club, attend local alumni events, volunteer with an organization or cause you believe in, organize a happy hour with your colleagues, or invite someone who you'd like to get to know more professionally to grab a coffee.
Having a community of people who want to support you professionally will do wonders for your career. You will learn new insights and ideas, you'll discover new professional opportunities, and most importantly, you'll know you're not alone on your career path.
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