Becoming recognised as an ‘expert’ within your profession can be invaluable to advancing your career, opening up new opportunities and aiding promotion. But in a profession as broad as planning, how do you go about it? Martha Harris collected three more tips from planners to help you on your way. See tips 1-3 here.
4. Speaking at events
Speaking at events can serve as a great platform for you to promote topics that interest you and to meet influential people in the profession. It can also be a great opportunity to travel and speak in different parts of the country – or the world.
Regardless of the stage you are at in your career, you should not be put off from applying to appear as a panellist or a speaker, says Hannah Budnitz, PhD researcher and chair of the RTPI’s Transport Planning Network.
“Many organisations will put out a ‘call for abstracts’ in advance of an event, for which you can submit an abstract to meet a brief. It is your skill in meeting the brief and conveying that you have something interesting to share that will impress organisers.”
Being considered an expert is also not about age, she says: “I’ve seen many excellent presentations from young planners that are based on their dissertation research. It’s about putting your ideas over confidently and convincingly, and showing that you have the knowledge to back it up.”
5. Getting involved in your regional RTPI group
The RTPI has a regional group in each area of the UK that offers networking opportunities, specialist lectures and events. Zoe Green, who is the international representative for RTPI London, says volunteering for a regional group can have social and professional benefits.
“I joined RTPI London as soon as I moved to the city. I’ve curated all sorts of activities, from tours of Surbiton to the Greenwich Peninsula, to debates such as World Town Planning Day – and it’s great fun. In today’s world, there aren’t many people seeking or offering a job for life. You never know when your contact may turn into a potential client, or you may learn things which make you an expert in a particular field of planning. Being prominent in your regional group allows you to explore the opportunities available.”
As well as its regional branches, the RTPI supports several special interest networks that are worth getting involved in. And if you spot a gap in the market – why not set up your own planning network?
6. Using social media
Finding an audience for your views has never been easier, but organise your approach, says Budnitz. “Social media can be overwhelming, particularly on ‘timeline’ style sites like Twitter. Accept that you will miss things and limit your time and network to get the most benefit. I created a list of those I follow who are most likely to tweet articles, events and comments of professional interest. I scroll through tweets once a day, and try to comment on and retweet links that others with the same interests will appreciate.”
Zoe Green also regards LinkedIn as an “incredibly useful social media tool”. She says: “I got my latest job through being contacted directly on LinkedIn. So it’s important to keep this up to date as a shortened version of your CV.”
Hannah Budnitz is chair of the RTPI’s Transport Planning Network, and is currently undertaking research into big mobility data as part of her PhD. Hannah tweets at @HBudnitz
Zoe Green is a former RTPI Young Planner of the Year, and manager, urbanisation and development, at PwC. She is a regular contributor to The Planner. Zoe tweets at @urbanist_zoe
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