by Elise Schoening | May 11, 2020
In the best of times, continuing education is a smart career move. Right now, it's also an ideal way to spend downtime while waiting for travel and meetings restrictions to be lifted.

For newcomers and seasoned planners alike, taking the initiative to enhance your skills can serve as stepping stones to career advancement, a new job or a higher salary. In fact, planners who hold one of the leading industry certifications earn, on average, $12,000 more than their uncertified counterparts, reveals M&C's 2020 Salary Survey, which begins on page 12 of this issue.

"We know the business will come around. We've been through how many recessions? We've been through SARS, we've been through Zika, we've been through 9/11," says Edward Perotti, CMP, CMM, principal of EP Events and Experiences in San Francisco. "We will come back again. I have zero doubt about that."

Until then, experts recommend using this time to "upskill" - learning new aspects of meeting planning or pursuing that certification you've been considering. When the industry rebounds, those who have sharpened their skills will be best positioned to compete in a crowded job-seekers market. 

"There is often little time for professionals in our industry to take a deep dive into future-proofing their careers," says Nancy Snowden, manager of curriculum and instructional design at Meeting Professionals International, which administers the Certificate in Meeting Management. "As we move to a lifestyle of staying, working and living from home, educational offerings like the CMM provide the chance to tap into your professional development goals, connect with like-minded professionals and engage with world-class educators." 

Coming out on the other side of today's restricted environment with a certification is a smart way to demonstrate your value to employers or clients, adds Snowden. Read the full story on NorthstarMeetingsGroup.com for some quick facts about programs available to meeting professionals.