WHY JOIN A PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION?
Regardless of what industry you may be in, there is likely to be a plethora of associations devoted to broadening the knowledge base of members and expediting growth within the industries. An affiliation with these professional associations is an option worth exploring. From being a graduate student to a young professional, I have experienced how professional associations can spark career advancement. It was an easy path to increase knowledge, expand networking possibilities and kick-start job hunt.
Education and Information
It is common practice for professional associations to offer their members unlimited opportunities to broaden their knowledge in the industry. This is typically done through seminars, conferences and workshops. Again, it is imperative to stay up-to-date on issues and trends that affect your career path whether you are presently employed, engaged in job search or a student pursing studies in a desired field. It is a mark of professional associations to offer a wealth of information that will keep you connected to current developments trends in your field. This is done through the circulation of quarterly, if not monthly newsletters to provide access new and emerging trends and research findings. Job hunters can gain essential information will be useful during interviewing. It is also good way to glean more about what it is like to work in the industry. Student members may also find beneficial information about grants and scholarship opportunities posted in association newsletters.
Another paramount benefit of a professional association is the prolific networking opportunities provided. Associations provide unparalleled networking opportunities, allowing members to connect with other people in their industry. Professional associations give members relative access to people in their industry: peers, to mentors, to industry leaders. Professional associations by their very nature are inclined to fostering a sense of community by creating and sustaining a platform to share perspectives and discuss topical issues within industry.
For instance, professional association’s annual conferences offer members the privilege of to engaging and networking with the largest gathering of people in their industry. This is especially useful when job hunting.
As stated earlier, increase in knowledge base, access to contemporary industry information and networking opens doors to job seekers, particularly jobs that are not publicized. Also, it is a common practice for associations to be privy to job openings, inform and arrange selected members for consideration. Usually, their websites have a special page devoted to employment opportunities for members only. This is a great way to find targeted job postings for your area of interest.
More importantly, membership of a professional association is an excellent supplement to your resume. It conveys to a prospective employer that you are involved and committed to your career. Citing professional association membership on your resume indicates a desire to learn and demonstrate dedication to your professional goals. Additionally, many associations have free career resources available to members, such effective resumes and cover letters, job searching strategies and negotiating techniques.