5 Reasons to Say Yes to Being a Conference Assistant

If you’re on different kinds of university mailing lists, you might have noticed that from time to time, conferences are looking for assistants. I you are wondering, whether you should apply - if it's worth the couple of credits you get and all that - here are five reasons why you definitely should, based on my own experience as a conference assistant at a three-day-long linguistics conference.

1. You learn to multi-task.

Let me tell you one thing: conferences are hectic. Things are happening simultaneously all the time: the projectors are not working, there is trouble with billing, someone has lost their presentation…You name it and it will probably happen. You will quite likely have varying work assignments, perhaps from handling the communication and social media to assisting with the presentations to just helping with all the stuff in the background that make things work at the conference. Yes, it is hectic, and yes, you will be dead tired after the first day. But hey, at least it isn’t boring! You get to perfect your multi-tasking skills. And you get to solve problems, which isn’t necessarily fun before you come up with the solution to that impossible-seeming problem. But when you do, you’ll feel awesome.   

2. It will make your CV cooler.

I can't emphasize enough how good this will look on your CV. Want a career in academia? Communications? Event organizing? Or just anything international (not all conferences are international, of course, but many are!) Well, it's with jobs like this that you can begin building the resumé of your dreams. Just remember to ask for a reference afterwards!

3. You learn new stuff.

As a conference assistant, you will probably have the chance to follow some (if not all) of the presentations. During the last three days, I have probably learnt more than during the past couple of months - and it's not even because I've been slacking with my studies. It's just that I've listened to 20 or so presentations and wow, there is SO MUCH new information in my brain, my head is buzzing with ideas.

4. You get to meet new people.

"Network! Make new acquaintances! Connect with people!" I feel like everyone is saying this all the time. I just wonder where exactly am I supposed to do all this networking that will magically catapult me into the cornucopia of work opportunities. Well, a conference filled with the experts of your field is certainly not a bad place to start. Don't stress it, either - if you're helpful, polite and genuinely interested, people will remember you. Just let the speaker know if your mind has been blown by their research. If nothing else, they know that they've inspired you. And if that's not flattering, I don't know what is.

5. It's fun.

Of course, I can't promise it will be, but I at least had a lot of fun being a part of the team organizing this event. I've gotten new skills, good feedback and some pretty awesome acquaintances. I'm proud of myself and will definitely apply to do a similar job sometime soon. And even if you hate it, it’s an experience, right? And in my opinion, one definitely worth having.