What It Takes To Make It


By Kathleen Laney - October 18, 2016

Industry and professional rankings are all the rage these days. From lists compiling the top companies to naming the top professionals in a given space, there is a list for everything. Even the parking industry has jumped on board with the National Parking Association unveiling the ‘Top 40 Under 40’ awards last year.

LinkedIn recently released the LinkedIn Next Wave, their list of top professionals under 35. These are the professionals they have identified that are game-changing in various industries ranging from finance to energy and everywhere in between. In reviewing the list and bios of these individuals, it is apparent there are a few things they all have in common.

Below are the top three takeaways that parking professionals can gather in developing their careers to succeed in our industry.

1.     An Ivy League education is no longer a prerequisite for success. The majority of Next Wavers did not attend a top school nor do they possess a graduate degree. We need to understand that formal education is increasingly less telling and less critical to a professional’s success. Training and skills development, however, are key components to staying relevant and up-to-date. The rapid changes in technology, skill sets of a profession, and industry trends really require continuous learning more than a static ivory degree.

In the parking industry, there are national, regional, and special-interest associations that offer training programs and certifications aimed at helping educate individuals on a number of topics. Industry associations offer courses and seminars that examine how parking works, the influences affecting the industry, and best practices in disciplines such as marketing and management.

2.    Sustainable businesses are the way of the future. The Next Wave list has a disproportionate representation of people working in green industries such as intelligent transportation and sustainable energy. This trend is particularly of interest to those in the parking industry as many new technologies and transportation policies aim to reduce traffic congestion and circling, thus reducing carbon emissions, as well as encouraging the use of alternative transportation methods and multi-modal mobility. 

What does that mean for the average parking professional? For a future in the industry, individuals must adapt their skill sets to be more tech savvy, look for opportunities that encourage sustainability, and understand transportation policies that will reduce our impact on the environment. 

3.    Next Wavers make networking a priority. According to LinkedIn, these professionals have 25 times the number of connections than the average LinkedIn user. They are also more active in charities, boards, and advisory roles. Participation in such extracurricular activities greatly expands an individual’s network, influence, and authority.

Parking professionals should consider making networking a part of their career development efforts and do so on a regular basis. Some of the most powerful ways to network include attending industry events, joining industry associations, and participating on social networks. Most industry associations have volunteer committees and boards that can provide you with greater exposure than just a membership.

Not a rule book, but a playbook.

While these commonalities among Next Wavers are not hard and steadfast rules, they do provide an excellent guide to parking professionals looking to future-proof themselves for long, successful careers.

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