Education, Certification and Networking
By Christina Garneski
In today’s competitive market, the successful parking professional understands that it is crucial to constantly be looking to the future. Investing in your own future through education, certification and building your network will help you to realize your full potential.
Improve Your Knowledge and
Skills through Education
The popularity of online education means that an abundance of education opportunities are available to you. While having so many options at your fingertips may be convenient, picking the right ones can prove to be difficult. And you must not forget in-person events, which can provide value well beyond what is learned in the classroom.
How do you figure out what’s right for you?
1- Consider your learning style, and your lifestyle. Do you work better on your own or in a group? Are you easily distracted? How hectic is your schedule? Many people find online training to be an easy, economical way to learn something new on their schedule. Others find there are too many diversions competing for their attention to truly focus on the task at hand and find classroom learning to be more valuable.
2- Broaden your skill set, instead of confirming it. Too often people choose courses that are comfortable for them, and simply reinforce what they already know. Instead, you want to focus on expanding your knowledge and pushing your boundaries. Again, think about the future. What do you need to know to get to the next phase in your career?
3- Customize your experience. Most people find that a mix of online and in-person training offers them the maximum benefit. Designing your education program to include both online sessions and face-to-face events will ensure that you remain interested in your professional development, exposing you to new people and technology.
The National Parking Association (NPA) is committed to educating the parking industry and offers a wealth of education opportunities to advance your career – from on-demand webinars to the annual NPA Convention and Expo, and everything in between, there’s something for everyone.
Demonstrate Your Expertise
Now that you’ve made the decision to improve your knowledge and skills, get recognized for your efforts through certification. Nothing sets you apart more than those three little letters at the end of your name.
The Certified Parking Professional (CPP) credential shows your commitment to the industry, while affording you instant credibility. It demonstrates your leadership and breadth of knowledge, helping you to get that next promotion, or new job.
Becoming a CPP is an investment not only in yourself, but also in your business. You are helping to strengthen your company’s workforce, increasing your value to your employer and providing you with job security. And for business owners, you’ll gain improved competency and a better understanding of your clients’ needs, resulting in an improved bottom line.
Cultivating a Powerful Network
Never undervalue the importance of a strong network. Having a group of peers and mentors that you can turn to for advice or assistance is instrumental in your career development. Whether you’re evaluating a new product to purchase, trying to resolve an operations problem, or looking for a new job, these are the people you will turn to.
To make these acquaintances, join an association, get involved, and participate in virtual and live events. Make your voice heard and your face recognized. Reach out to other members to forge relationships.
Join parking councils and committees that focus on a parking topic that interests you, and be engaged. Volunteer for a project, or participate in conference calls, such as NPA’s Peer Networks, that encourage interaction.
Attend conferences with topics that pique your interest, and join in on the discussion. Lively exchanges during sessions often lead to continued conversations outside the classroom. These initial dialogues are the foundation for building a solid network.
Participating in conventions such as the NPA’s Convention & Expo and the Parking Industry Exhibition (PIE), sponsored by Parking Today, introduces you to parking professionals you
would not have the opportunity to meet otherwise.
These events are teeming with opportunities to make new connections that will propel your career forward. After all, it’s often whom you know, not what you know, that gets you that next great job.
Christina Garneski, CAE, is Director of Marketing and Communications at the National Parking Association. Contact her at ChristinaGarneski@npapark.org. To learn more about the NPA’s education, certification and networking offerings, visit www.npapark.org.
Article Abstract from April, 2014