Professional development is an important part of pharmacy, and attending conferences is an important part of professional development. Now, you might think that you are too busy to attend a conference, but consider the fact that doing so is perhaps the most practical way to develop yourself as a professional in the pharmaceutical industry. Many professionals have found that the networking and resume-building opportunities offered by conferences more than justify the cost and time involved in attending.
Aside from the chance to gain confidence and experience while establishing excellent professional contacts, you can develop deep and endearing relationships with your peers and fellow professionals through your participation in a world-class pharma conference. The people that you will meet as a student through your involvement in pharmacy conferences will prove to be some of your best friends and most valuable contacts throughout your career. Detailed below are a few tips to help you maximize your conferencing opportunities and convince you to attend in the first place.
- Don't Think Of Conference Attendance As Lost Time
When it comes to participating in pharma conferences as a student, never let school interfere with your education. Your involvement in conferences at local, state and national levels will broaden your mind, ignited your passion for the profession, and improve your student life as well as help refine your time management skills. Pharma conferences are all really part of this journey that professionals in this field are on. The people that you will get to know and the opportunities that will present themselves because you haven't just stayed home and studied for a mundane test, will prove to be invaluable.
- Considering The Numerus Intangible Benefits
As a pharma professional (much like any other professional), your network of contacts is a priceless asset, and you can look to grow your network exponentially by attending pharma conferences. Making friends and professional contacts, getting to know others in the field, understanding the needs of different industries or helping someone find a job can also be beneficial to your career in the pharma industry.
- Heed The Advise Of Experienced Conference Attendees
If you're set to participate in an international pharmacy conference for the first time, it is especially important to listen to those who have attended. Your mentor, colleagues, or superiors can provide valuable advice on everything from sessions you should attend and what you should wear, to residency program meetings, networking events, and more. Experienced attendees can also help you strike a balance between education, politics, networking, and fun.
- Work Towards Your Objectives
If you want to network (which should be one of your top priorities), go to events where you think important people will also be present. Aside from networking and helping you find a job, pharma conferences can help you achieve your professional goals. For example, if you are interested in specialty pharmacy, you can easily sit in front of your computer and collect continuing education hours to help you learn more about specialty pharmacy, but it will prove to be way more fun and quicker if sit and learn at the feet of specialized pharmacists themselves, by taking part in an Indian pharmaceutical congress that they will take part in. Either during the lunch, coffee break, or networking events, you'll meet an accessible specialty pharmacist with a ton of experience. It is guaranteed that no online continuing education program will put you in touch with a mentor or potential employer in person.
- Don't Underestimate The Value Of Seemingly Small Pharma Conferences
It’s no secret that regional pharma conferences are very important. The advantage of such regional events is that they tend to be much smaller, which means it's easier to be where these important people are. Both pharma students and inexperienced pharmacists always stand out because they usually don't attend conferences as often as established practitioners. If you are either a student or an inexperienced pharmacist, use it to your advantage. Most associations are very interested in nurturing relationships with young practitioners, understanding their needs and helping them to start their careers successfully.
- Find Your Voice
As an extrovert, you will presumably relish going to conferences. If you're an introvert, however, large meetings can seem overwhelming. Even though some events attract over two thousand attendees, try to choose programs that suit your niche - such as experiential education, specialty pharmacy, or student affairs - with not more than a hundred attendees in every session of the conference.
Picking smaller sessions that focus on your specific area of interest can make networking less overwhelming. For example, you can approach the speaker or another session participant to ask if you can discuss a particular topic. Your conversation can turn into a sitting over coffee, and suddenly you've made contact.
All in all, attending a pharmacy conference ensures that you will come away with more knowledge, professional contacts, and passion for your career.
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