The Chicagoland Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (CCASTD) Student Special Interest Group (CCASTD SSIG) leadership team recently met to develop goals for 2011. This is our second year as a student-lead wing of CCASTD and we felt we had some opportunities to ensure we were effectively supporting the needs of local students and other CCASTD members. The outcome of this meeting was a much more simple approach that we feel will help us reach our goal. Oh yes- our goal… We should probably share that with you, right?
The CCASTD SSIG 2011 Goal
Provide a safe and comfortable connection between students who may be intimidated by initially participating in CCASTD events. This will be accomplished by bringing students together at every CCASTD monthly meeting so they can network amongst themselves and have a strong base with which to connect with more seasoned members of CCASTD.
The Back Story
After our initial year of activities and success we realized that, although we provided value-added benefits to student members of CCASTD we have some opportunities to connect students with the general CCASTD membership. Student-to-student networking is a vital component of our goals as a group. The ultimate goal, however, is to transition from a student member of CCASTD to a general member with an awesome career! We want our members to feel comfortable enough to attend their first meeting so they can “get their feet wet.” We are confident that once our members go to that first meeting they will feel comfortable enough to come back again. Once you start attending regularly you will start to see things really “happen!” Mentor relationships will be developed. Peers will connect. Meaningful professional relationships will be fostered. Your name will be “out there” and your “professional brand” will become established. Jobs not posted to the public will now be available to you. Nice, right?
Five Easy Steps
What we would like to offer you here is five easy steps to successfully connecting to CCASTD so you can maximize on your membership. Consider these steps a “recipe” for you to follow to make your career what you want it to be.
Look at your calendar. CCASTD now holds meetings every third Thursday of the month. This makes it quite easy to schedule some professional development time for yourself… so look ahead and plan to attend the next event so you can gain some professional development competencies and network with other local students and “movers and shakers” in the local workplace performance and training industry!
For a full listing of 2011 CCASTD monthly meeting dates and locations click here!
Take a minute to determine” where you are” now and “where you want to be” from a professional development standpoint. Attending professional development events like CCASTD meetings are a fantastic way to further your career. Simply attending is good… Getting what you need to land a job you love is MUCH better! If you have a plan in place you will likely leave your next meeting feeling confident that you networked effectively and have some contacts that can help you develop your specific career goals.
There is a fantastic tool that can help you to recognize what you do well and what areas you may want to improve on to take your career to the next level. It is called the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) WLP Competency Model. Take a look at this model and do a quick self assessment before you attend. You will be happy you did!
Click here to read a posting from the Roosevelt University Training and Development Program blog about using the ASTD WLP Competency Model as a professional development road map.
Attend the next monthly CCASTD meeting. We know that many of you may feel intimidated if you have never attended a CCASTD event before or if it has been a little while. We want you to know that you will always have someone attending the meeting who understands where you are coming from: other students!
During each meeting our University Relations Chairwoman, Tara Hawkins, will ask all students to stand up so that you can find each other and so members who want to network with you know who you are. At the conclusion of monthly CCASTD meetings you will then meet up with other students who attended so you can exchange contact information, share ideas, and make meaningful connections with your peers. It is that simple!
Follow up with folks who you met at the meeting. Whether you met another student or a professional who can help you develop your professional development plan, take a few minutes to follow up with them either with a phone call, an email, or a message on LinkedIn. Building professional relationships is the key to getting where you want to go. Someone you met at the meeting likely knows someone else who is looking for someone just like you for their next job opening. Position yourself to be identified the next time someone says, “Hey- I need to find a good candidate for a job opening at my organization. Do you know anyone?”
Repeat. Going to one meeting is great but continued attendance will not only help you build a professional network but will help you to develop your “professional brand.” It is this brand that will help you gain access to a great new job and a career you love. Pretty soon you will be connecting with students as a seasoned practitioner at these meetings and helping the next generation of students successfully transition into a career they love. Sometimes giving back is more rewarding than receiving…. Most of the time, actually!
*****Planning note: We are planning an awesome event for graduates and students in May 2011 to find a training and workplace performance job they love. Look out for the announcement so you can put the date on your calendar and plan to attend! *****