Explore a new career path by attending an industry conference

You will quickly learn if you and your new industry are a good fit

CALGARY, AB, Jan 8, 2014/ Troy Media/ – Thinking about making a career change? You’re not alone; the average Canadian switches industries at least once during a career, and although the oft-quoted statistic that people will experience seven career changes during their lifetime has been debunked, it still indicates how often people break away from their initial jobs to see what life is like working in another field.

However, many people jump into a new career feet first without doing the necessary research, which only leads to additional workplace unhappiness down the line as they soon realize that their new jobs were not at all what they were expecting. A bit of research would have saved them significant time and energy, and possibly helped them find a more fitting career path.

Attending an industry conference will introduce you to the key issues and challenges facing your potential new industry and let you meet the types of people you may end up working with. A good industry conference will also give you a leg up on networking and put you in touch with the movers and shakers in your potential new career.

Once you’ve chosen an industry conference to attend, here’s what you need to watch for:

Are the panels about achieving growth, or avoiding decline?

Some industries are all about growth. Healthcare, pharmaceutical research, engineering, and financial/wealth management, for example, are all fields which are going to feature conferences and panels dealing with how to grow their various businesses. A quick look at the Advanced Wealth Management Conference in Chicago, for example, clearly reveals that this is an industry full of growth and opportunity. Click here to visit the conference web site and learn more.

Other industry conferences are about preventing decline. Think journalism, education, and other hard-hit areas. This is not to dissuade you from pursuing these career paths but simply to make you aware of the difference between an industry that is actively working towards growth and an industry that needs all of its resources to stay in the same place.

What are the other attendees like?

It’s been proven that good coworkers are one of the chief elements of job satisfaction. Being part of a strong team boosts your productivity and helps you become better at your own job. Pay attention to the other people while you are attending an industry conference. Do they look excited to be there? Are they bored? Do they give off positive, welcoming energy, or are they negative and defeated? Are they the kinds of people that you want on your team?

Pay further attention to whether the people in this industry are predominantly introverts or extroverts. Some careers, such as sales, naturally draw in chatty, extroverted people. Other people gravitate towards industries where they can do the majority of their work in solitude. Understand what type of work you prefer and look for an industry that attracts similarly-minded colleagues.

Do you find the big questions interesting?

Every industry conference is focused on one or two big questions: how to handle emerging wealth transfer trends, how to create affordable sustainable energy, how to educate adults on health management techniques. During the conference, pay attention to your own interest levels. Do you find the big questions intriguing? How involved are you in what is being discussed? If you end an industry conference feeling bored, it is a good sign that this industry is not for you.

A good industry conference can teach you more about an industry in a weekend than you can learn in months of research. After a conference you’ll have an idea as to whether you and your new industry are a good fit – or whether you need to sign up for a different industry conference and try again.

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