This is a question from my PhD office and I would like some more opinions on this.
Are there any real benefits from joining organizing committees for internal conferences? Like your department's postgraduate research symposium? These committees are usually student lead but with academics supervising the committee so that it tries to mimic real conferences.
I think these committees are a low energy task that can be easily managed around your work. While you get experience in how conferences are set-up and managed so that you can potentially do one in the future. Also as you have a better understanding of how the process works, you will be better at submitting to real conferences. Plus it will look good on your CV.
While most of my colleagues think they are a waste of time and too much effort while having no relevance whatsoever. As they argue that they aren't like real conferences so no-one cares if you have organized them. And you also gain no relevant experience. I know they aren't to the same standard but the organizing process has got to be the same at least?
I know I sound biased but would genuinely like some other opinions.
I'd question as to whether you'd actually bother to put something like that on your CV. I organised a two day internal training course a few years ago. I'm pretty sure it's not on mine because I don't have enough room to put it on, when I consider it to be a 'less relevant' in jobs I would typically apply for. That said, I have mentioned it in supporting information in job applications if it's useful to support something in the job description.
I think perhaps it's a little harsh to say these things aren't like real conferences - yes they can miss elements such as like the abstract submission process and inviting people to present, but in terms of organisation, they still involve arranging rooms and speakers etc. If there's workshops of any kind you need facilitators. You can also consider feedback from the previous year/provide recommendations for the future.
I think these things are useful to do in terms of understanding the level of organisation that goes into things, particularly if you'd like to maybe help organise 'proper' conferences in the future. I certainly wouldn't say it wouldn't give you any relevant experience - My experience was useful. But in reality, I'm not sure how much they help with your CV and I'm not sure how it helps with submitting to real conferences.
Things will only "look good on your CV" if you actually want a job which will require you to do more of the same.
If you want to be seen as an organiser then I would certainly put this on your CV.
If you don't want to be asked to perform these types of role then I would avoid any mention of it.
I would recommend passing on the following advice to your PhD office. It is not healthy to think of a CV as a way to get jobs. Obviously that is the desired outcome but focussing on that seriously risks leading to crap careers. You start "CV filling" - putting all manner of rubbish on there because you think it will look good to a prospective employer. A better mindset is to realise that a CV is a marketing tool designed to describe the dream jobs you want to do, full of evidence regarding how you have demonstrated your suitability for those roles. When I took that advice on board over 20 years ago it was a career defining change for me.
These sorts of activities are useful in terms of socialisation. Once you've got a bit of experience locally, you might want to consider getting involved in the postgraduate / early career network of a professional association in your field. That's the sort of thing that is both useful in network building and getting your name known in your profession, but also sends signals that you're collegiate on your cv, which is definitely a good thing in my experience.
Maybe I am throwing a curveball here but why not organise a "real" international conference? I did so when I was a PhD student, with support of my institution(s), and it was one of the best things I have done, real experience and made a lot of useful contacts, and was, together with a session I organised with a more senior colleague at another international conference, the "seed" for a collection of essays I am now editing for Bloomsbury.
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