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Let’s face it, being a professional is expensive! What the heck does that mean? Well, as you know, I have worked in the human resources space for over 17+ years now! Time just keeps flying by! As someone who doesn’t network very well, I have learned that having a membership to an association that mirrors your profession/education is very important for many reasons. It really doesn’t even matter if you join an international, national, or local association. Here are my top 5 reasons to join a professional association, no matter what your educational background, industry, etc.
It looks fabulous on your resume! Honestly, this is a big deal because it shows future employers, board of directors, etc. that you maintain connections with the industry. It really shows a commitment to your education no matter the cost!
Networking! As expressed previously, I am not very good at this. However, if you actually join in some of the associations activities, you really don’t have to be good at it. It happens naturally! This is especially true for local associations. Why? Because if you don’t plan on relocating and want to remain ‘close to home’ these are how you build connections! However, you have to commit to attending events.
One of my favorite local events of course is happy hour (yes there usually is a speaker or a fun activity during these). The breakfast meetings are great too and usually go over new laws or changes associated with my industry. Even though some of these events have a cost to them, they are worth it to get to know your peers. I highly recommend this if you are new to the industry – building your professional network will make a difference!
Job/Career Opportunities! Along with building your network comes opportunities. Not only will you be rubbing elbows with others in your same industry, but when they are looking to hire, you may be the right person they are looking for! In addition, many professional associations have a career page or job listing board on their website that you can take advantage of. You can either utilize this to look at opportunities for yourself or post jobs looking for candidates for your business. This is usually a free service if you belong to the association! You can also find mentor and leadership opportunities as well!
Information Overload! National associations are known for maintaining tons of knowledge about the industry they represent. The resources alone are helpful almost daily with articles, tools, samples, and general guides for implementing various programs related to the industry. For me, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has a knowledge center where you can actually submit a question and receive a response very quickly! It is like having your own personal advisor, which honestly, helps especially when you are consulting! Your own personal experiences are awesome when consulting but sometimes you need some additional information and to have it at your fingertips minimizes the time you spend researching and google-ing!
Additionally, to having immediate access to information at-your-fingertips, you also have the ability to attend courses, seminars, lectures, conventions, etc. Yes, many of these cost money but at a reduced rate for members. However, they are still wonderful options to keep members up to date on the latest industry trends, networking with others, and maintain certification requirements (if applicable).
Knowledge and network equals power! I have given so many important reasons for belonging to professional associations/organizations. It all comes down to staying informed, building a network, and utilizing all of the tools available. You will build power and strength in yourself, which allows you to take charge of your career. Success will follow!
Oh…and I almost forgot….when you belong to one of these professional associations, you get recertification credits for each membership year (at least in HR)! This is only one of the ways you can get recertification credits.
Questions…have I helped you understand the top reasons why you should join a professional association and/or organization?
Are you lucky enough to have your company help pay for these memberships (mine did for oh-so-long)?
Are you willing to pay for these memberships if your company does not pay (since I became an HR Consultant this is now a necessary business expense)?
Either way, it is really important to join, be active, and utilize everything that is available to you! To find out if your industry has a professional association or organization, check out the link below!
There are close to 90 industries represented in the awesome list below!
Human Resources List
Local Professional Associations & Organizations List
all the best….judean
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