It’s a new year and many people are looking to do something new with their meeting planning careers. However it is a tough time to think about “jumping ship” given the current shift in economy. Jobs within the meetings industry are not as plentiful as they were two years ago. In addition, accepting a new position can be risky. There is padded comfort in the stability of a tenured position. Yet, there are potential detours that you can take to grant you some time while waiting for the next opportunity.

New Goal
Set a new goal for yourself and your meetings. Laying a fresh new method, or idea can spice things up. Maybe you want to implement some “green” ideas into your meetings. Maybe you want to lay a better strategy for your planning process. Whatever your goal may be, having a new goal can stir up some passion to get you through the storm.

Switching it up
Sometimes a new goal just isn’t going to cut it. For those working for corporations, third parties, association management firms, or hotels, maybe there is an option to switch areas of work. Meaning if there is a particular department you work with, request a new one, for a new challenge. Another example is working with a different “type” of meeting, perhaps you are just doing trainings, and you might want to work on incentive programs. Speak to someone about your decision, you never know what opportunities it can open up for you. It certainly can help to prevent burnout.

Research, Research, Research
There are several sites out there that can help you with your search for meeting planner jobs, hotelier jobs, meeting support or supplier jobs. Meetingjobs.com is a great site to add to the repertoire of any job search. Also visiting an industry organization’s website and venturing into their career area can be helpful. However, most positions still come from sites like Monster.com or local career sites in your area, so keep checking them out. Subscribing to notifications of new jobs that meet certain search criteria might also benefit your search.

Join an industry organization
If you aren’t involved in an industry organization, join one – if you can. There can be a lot of value in relationships and connections that are made by being an active member. Active sites like Meeting Professionals International, Professional Convention Management Association, and International Special Events Society are a good start and can provide a wealth of knowledge for meeting & event planners and suppliers. Check out these and other organizations and if you have the means to – join one of them and reap the benefits.

Educate yourself
While you wait – educate. Yourself that is. Education can take you places, and while you are sitting and waiting for a better opportunity it can only help but to beef up your resume. Take a strategic management course, or learn more about ROI and the return of investment in meetings. There are also opportunities to get your certification in meeting planning or a meeting management certification. Education in the field of meetings continues to expand and encompass certain areas of meeting planning, management, and design – so it can only be beneficial to know a little bit more.

Network
Having a good chat and a glass of wine, bottle of beer, or cup of jo can go a long way. Network with your co-workers, or even go to a industry organization’s event, both are great methods for connecting. For those more techy networkers, social networking sites can also help you – try LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook to sharpen your networking skills. Networking is a old school way to making connections and possibly getting that position you always dreamed of.

Thank god, thank the universe, thank goodness (thank whom or whatever {insert here}) you’ve got a job!
Reality is – you have a job. So, at least we can all be thankful for that.