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Home > Audio, Podcast > Organizing can be a great boost to your career

Organizing can be a great boost to your career

April 25th, 2008

Career Opportunities podcast logoOrganizing can be a great boost to your career
By Douglas E. Welch

[audio:http://welchwrite.com/career/audio/2008/career-op-20080425.mp3]

Listen: Organizing can be a great boost to your career

Meetups are everywhere and the topics they support include technology, sewing, writing and a thousand other things. You might even attend some of these meetups or other user group meetings or conferences on a regular basis but have you ever thought of starting a meetup of your own? Surely there is some area where you would like to share your interests with other people. While meetups and user groups can be fun, they can also be a way to enhance your career while learning new things and having a great time.

First, let me be clear that organizing anything – whether a meetup, a project, a family reunion – can be a lot of work. There is no denying that. Still, if you are having fun with the project, all the work will seem worth it in the end. In fact, that will always be the defining factor of your work. Is it fun?

Even with this work, there are many benefits to organizing a group. The most important benefit you derive is the major expansion of your personal network. While most members of your group will know a few other members, everyone in the group will know you. Whether you are just talking to them at your meetup, or connecting to them through Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn, you will gain contact with a large group of people who you can help and who can also help you. Becoming an organizer greatly increases your Visibility (See Visibility and Your Career Video). You will be introducing yourself to new people at every single meetup and every time you talk about your group to others.

Through your new found visibility, you can become a “connector” someone who regularly connects talent with those who need it — someone who is asked to offer recommendations for products and services – someone people seek out when they need advice or a new job.

Organizing can also effect how you are perceived by others. I know that I have a profound bias towards those people who can “get things done.” Organizing a group is a management task, even if you are still working as a departmental staffer. It is a way to both gain experience, and demonstrate your abilities, to anyone who is watching. Being the founder or president of a group can look very good on your resume, especially early in your career, when you don’t have much work history. It shows drive. It shows initiative and it shows the ability to be organized and organize others towards a central goal.

Organizing can also effect how you are perceived by others. It is a way to both gain experience, and demonstrate your abilities, to anyone who is watching. Being the founder or president of a group can look very good on your resume, especially early in your career, when you don’t have much work history.

There is one important caveat to all this organizing, though. You must always remember that the group is not you and you are not the group. Too many organizers end up leaving the group they started because they find it difficult to let others have a voice in managing and directing the focus of the group. I always try to remember that the group will dictate its own direction after a while. I can provide the impetus, the place to meet, the original members, but eventually the members will take the group in whatever direction they see fit. This may not always mesh with your own personality or desires, but it is inevitable. In most cases, this is not a personal attack or a refutation of your goals, only a clear indicator of the shared goals of the group. You ignore that at your peril. You may find that it is a perfect excuse to go and start that next group that focuses on another of your goals.

Organizing any group, whether for a project, hobby or work, is a great way to develop work experience, improve your visibility and expand your network. Furthermore, it is both entertaining and enlightening. If you have a special interest in your life, why not share it with others and organize a group today. Your career is sure to benefit.


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