Have you ever thought of joining a professional association/body/organization? What made you think of doing that? Did you join? Most of these organizations do come with some sort of price tag, so maybe you decided not to because of the financial cost or time commitment involved with signing up and driving out to the meetings after a long day or work or on the weekends when you’d rather be golfing or doing something else. Does this sound familiar?
Well, let me try to outline some of the benefits of being a part of these groups. In my own opinion, the benefits outweigh the costs by a large margin, assuming you can cover the basic financial commitments. Here’s a list:
– Networking: If you’ve decided upon a career choice and are committed to advancing in that field, networking will likely be critical to your success. These professional organizations are always great places to meet other people working in your industry who are also interested in networking. In today’s digital age, personal touch and conversation is something unique and valuable.
– Personal and Professional Development: It’s in the name! These organizations are always trying to provide value for the people they serve. Whether it is formal classes taught by a senior official, discounts on courses at a local college or monthly book clubs and discussions about that topic, professional associations are a great way to learn more about the field as well as about yourself. Remember, the other people in the group are just that, people who have probably dealt with or are in the same situation you are who likely have the same concerns about work-life balance and other factors.
– Information and Advocacy: Professional associations are often a great place to exchange information about industry topics and connect with others interested in promoting and advancing that particular industry as well. Professional associations give you a place to engage with others who understand what you do and how you fit into the community.
Regardless of the profession, I highly encourage everyone I meet to join some sort of professional association and get involved with what they are doing. If you don’t get involved, you will still likely see some benefit, but certainly not to the fullest extent possible. If you end up not fitting in or agreeing with one particular organization, the great part about this is that you are learning. There are many different organizations that overlap in many ways, but with a different focus, so perhaps you just need to keep looking for something different until you find something that works. Don’t be discouraged, as there are plenty of opportunities out there.
If you found this post helpful or have enjoyed your involvement with a particular professional association, please leave a comment below. It would be great to hear what organizations provide value for their membership. Please also click “Follow” if you’d like to get updates via email.