“Many of us will spend more time preparing this year for a vacation than we will for our vocation.”

When I heard those words, it took me aback—could that really be true? I sat and thought about it for a few minutes. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that, yes, it’s probably true for a lot of us. In other words, most of us probably don’t spend as much time developing our careers as we need, or ought to.

Thankfully, for those of you in the sports turf industry, you have a golden opportunity coming up to learn how to prepare for your next great career opportunity.

That hard-hitting quote above was said to me by Carole Daily, of Daily HR Solutions, who is hosting a session about career advancement at the Sports Turf Managers Association’s (STMA) Conference and Exhibition, Jan. 19-22 in San Diego, California. (See page “San Diego or Bust!” for more information on the event.)

Daily’s presentation, titled “Preparing for Your Next Career Move,” is from 2-3:15p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20. I spoke to her on a Friday afternoon in late October about some of topics she plans to discuss during the presentation, which is ultimately designed to help sports turf managers, staff and students prepare for success in their next job.

Among the topics Daily plans to discuss are how to be more “interview ready,” best position yourself for future opportunities, identify good resume builders, recognize the importance of networking and self-marketing, and avoid “potholes” on your way up the career ladder.

“The thing that concerns me most for [recent college graduates] is that they don’t often present themselves in a [job] interview-ready way,” Daily said. “Concerning mainly Facebook and social networking sites, they fail to realize that every post, every picture, every activity that they’re posting on social media doesn’t go away in a day, and it doesn’t go away in a week. It stays with you, it’s a thumbprint of your persona that can be seen by so many people. Once things are posted, you don’t have any control where they go or who’s looking at it.

“As far as being interview-ready, your social profile is fair game. There’s not an HR group out there at this point in time that doesn’t research somebody’s social media profile when hiring for management positions.”

Another interesting area of Daily’s expertise is the discussion of resume builders—what they are and how they can help you advance your career.

“Is there a class you can take that you can put on your resume?” Daily explained. “Is there a committee that you can be on and participate in? Is there a certification that you can obtain? These are resume builders. These are things that you use to stack the cards in your favor. The job you show up for now, every day, is preparing you for your next job, tomorrow.”

The bottom line is this—day-to-day operations at your fields is what most of you have to concentrate on when you show up to work each morning. That’s obvious. With that being said, at the STMA conference, there will be plenty of worthwhile learning sessions about topics like mowing, field renovations, weed control and maintaining safe fields. Go to as many as you can. Learn everything you can about the topics you choose.

But also, make sure to take the time to attend a session or two (like Daily’s) on career advancement.

It’ll pay off in the long run.