While the world continues to change, one thing is certain: broadening one’s knowledge base is a reliable way to stay relevant. ‘Upskilling’ refers to the individual process of learning new skills. More than ever, remote programs and virtual courses are making it easier to gain continuing-education credits or earn those industry certifications that you’ve been meaning to get.
And it’s not just about job security, it’s also about optimizing your income. A 2020 salary survey revealed that event professionals who hold one of the leading industry certifications earn more than their uncertified counterparts. So, what are you waiting for?
It’s a great time to get certified
To ensure consistent standards in the events industry, certain certifications exist. You have probably heard about most of them, but (as a refresher) here are some of the most popular:
- Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)
- Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM)
- Certified Association Executive (CAE)
- Convention Exhibition Manager (CEM)
- Digital Event Strategist (DES)
Different platforms and organizations offer different certifications. For instance, a Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM) is taught by Indiana University faculty and recognized by Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the largest meeting and event industry association in the world. The trick is to identify the subject in which you’d like to invest in, and then go acquire the knowledge.
Small learning can bring big outcomes
We don’t necessarily need to invest in multi-month, multi-course certification programs to augment our careers. Micro-credentialing is the process becoming specialized in a certain subjects. Typically, micro-credentials are shorter than other credential options, such as certificate programs and certainly college degrees.
Take for instance, hybrid meetings. Most of us agree that hybrid meetings are here to stay. If we’re unfamiliar with the landscape of hybrid events, then perhaps we need to learn what the needs of clients are in this domain. The team over at Cvent is currently offering a free hybrid events certification, which emphasizes the need for content and audience engagement in hybrid event settings, as well as how to create strategy.
A year ago, most of us would not prioritize a Pandemic On-site Protocol (POP) training, but now that’s a popular course at the Event Leadership Institute (ELI).
Beyond meetings and events
There is a myriad of online platforms for learning, some of them for a fee and some of them for free. Coursera offers plenty of free options for new knowledge. Currently they’re focusing on in-demand tech skills — such as how to build websites and eCommerce platforms, as well as other hot topics like machine learning, cybersecurity, and data analysis. Tempted by the prestige of an Ivy League education? Harvard University offers free classes. If you’re interested in exploring your creative sides, Skillshare offers classes in a wide variety of artistic pursuits, from illustration to video editing, and everything in between. Finally (although the list could continue), Udemy is an online learning and teaching marketplace with over 130,000 courses and 35 million students.
Learning ‘soft’ skills
While we upskill, it’s helpful to identify how to create a well-rounded portfolio of skills to your clients. This includes having well-honed soft skills. Soft skills are non-technical skills that relate to how we work — and often this means learning how to work together. They include how you interact with colleagues, how you negotiate conflicts, and how you manage your work.
Sensitizing and educating yourself about the realities of others can also be an important method to not simply advance your career but to bring deeper meaning to your work. Many of the platforms mentioned in the previous paragraph offer classes, such as ‘Inclusive Leadership: The Power of Workplace Diversity’ offered by the University of Colorado on Coursera. For transferable college credits, Cornell University offers a certificate program in Diversity and Inclusion. For those in the travel industry, the Canadian Gay + Lesbian Chamber of Commerce offers workshops in navigating LGBT+ Diversity and Inclusion in the tourism industry.
Be Montréal savvy
Finally, if you’re a travel professional, Tourisme Montréal offers its very own certification! The Montréal Destination Specialist Program gives you a deep dive into the city, its contemporary vibes, its neighbourhoods, and more!