On the Job Skills Growth

Engaging Your Passion

Creating better balance between your avocations and your vocation. 

Job Crafting

The concept of job crafting entails using your strengths to create opportunities in your current job where you can shine and be more productive.

Perhaps your department throws retirement events for departing colleagues, but you’ve never been involved in the planning. By job crafting, you could volunteer to take the lead on planning all the events (while still maintaining your current responsibilities) to ease the burden on others and promote a consistent message through your department.

Read more about job crafting

Job Rotations

A job rotation allows you to work with your current supervisor and leaders in a separate campus units to develop work experiences that benefit both departments and contribute to your growth and development.

To participate, employees must meet certain qualifications, gain approval from both their primary and job rotation supervisors, and be able to effectively complete the responsibilities for which they were originally hired.

If approved, a job rotation can be an extremely rewarding experience for all parties and provide numerous opportunities for networking and growth.

Volunteering for Nonprofit Organizations

If you are willing to assist another entity pro bono, whether it’s event planning for a nonprofit organization, your child’s school, or even your sister’s wedding, many times the receiving party will not only accept but be overwhelmingly thankful for your help.

As for you, you’ll reap the benefit of pursuing your passion for event planning and might do such a good job that the host will want to hire you again – maybe not for free next time!

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On Campus Ways to Expand Event Planning Skills

Here are a few on-campus and low-cost ways to expand your event-planning skills.

Enhance Your Computer Skills with Lynda

This semester, Georgia Tech began offering Lynda to all faculty, staff, and students. Lynda is an online subscription library that teaches the latest software tools and skills through instructional videos. Lynda has a wide variety of courses available including Microsoft, Adobe, and Google products. Want to pick up some new tricks for your operating system (Mac or PC)? They’ve got that. Need to learn what a tweet is? Social media is also covered. For a full listing of courses by software, check out their full list.  For access information, visit www.lynda.gatech.edu.

Take a Training Class with OHR

Have you recently browsed the Office of Human Resources class listings? New classes are being offered all the time! Be sure to check the list once a month to see if there is anything that interests you. While many of the courses will not have events in the title, they can still be great classes for an event planner. Personally, I think anyone working large events should be trained in CPR and first-aid basics. It is a skill you never hope to use, but will be happy to have in an emergency situation. Some classes that caught my “events” eye in the upcoming semester include:

*Author's Note: These class listings are from the blog post's publication date in August 2012. For the newest offerings and class listings, be sure to visit the current course offering list.

Look for Online Webinars

I love a good webinar. These training sessions cost significantly less than flying to a conference, and you have the opportunity to invite other co-workers or departments to the event to make the most of any associated fees. This month, the International Special Events Society (ISES) announced a partnership with the Event Leadership Institute to roll out approved webinars to augment their growing class listings.  More good events-related webinars can also be found at:

There are a host of sources to expand your events education. For even more options, be sure to read the re-cap article on Professional Organizations at our Event Coordinators’ Network Workshop.

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Making the Most of Conferences

The more you get out of conferences that add value to your department, the greater your chances of securing approval for future conferences. 

Do Your Research Before You Leave

Conference programs are typically available before you even arrive, so don’t wait until you check-in to review them. Read the descriptions and research key speakers in the weeks prior. This will enable you to determine which sessions to attend so you don’t miss out on a great session just because you didn’t know it was happening. A program preview can also help you more effectively plan your days at the conference and avoid feeling rushed.

Cater to Your Colleagues  

Take advantage of those pre-conference materials and share them with your team. Ask your colleagues which sessions they would be interested in, so you can try to get the notes/handouts from the relevant presentations—even if you plan to be elsewhere.

Take the Time to Connect

Ask your coworkers if they know anyone attending the conference you could network with. To make the most of your networking time, start forming connections even before you arrive at the conference destination. Also, take this opportunity to update your LinkedIn profile, and use your new connections to gather more.

Bring the Conference Home

Make sure your legwork at the conference isn’t done in vain. Once you return to office, don’t toss those new business cards into a pile and forget all about them. Solidify your new connections by emailing the contacts and saving their details electronically.

Hopefully, you also took plenty of notes and gathered just as many materials. Don’t let them sit in a folder; type them up, scan them in, and send on to your colleagues to share the inspiration. Go one step further by hosting a post-conference meeting to discuss the new ideas.

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Brushing up on all things Georgia Tech

As an event planner, we often talk with a variety of different people as we plan events with diverse goals. Being familiar with the university will make us better ambassadors to our guests and provide us with more resources in our toolbox. If I was creating a required reading list at Georgia Tech, here's what I would have on it.

Read the Strategic Plan

This is the future of our university and a guide to help us determine priorities. We are all on this journey together. If you have not read it, then you've lost your road map. Read the Strategic Plan.

Watch the Institute Address

Did you miss it this past Tuesday? You can still go back and watch it on the President's website. The Institute Address shares where we've been and where we are headed in the near future.  If the Strategic Plan is our road map, then the Institute Address acts as a landmark to guide us.

Explore the Georgia Tech Website…Again

How long has it been since you last explored the website?  Departments have been hard at work updating and adding new content for people on and off-campus. A few favorites:

Read At Least One Georgia Tech Article a Week

What makes Georgia Tech so special is what we do here- for our students, our staff and faculty and the world through our research. I'm not asking you to learn about all of the research projects at GTRI, but I will challenge you to learn our major areas of research.

The article can be from the Daily Digest, the News Center, or Buzzwords over at the Alumni Association.

Either way, part of learning who we are is learning more about what we do here.