By Ariana Jackson - December 12th, 2018
There are many benefits of joining a professional organization, from getting to know others in your field to learning industry trends and developing expertise that’s necessary to advance your career.
Professional organizations serve to advance their respective industries by promoting the interests of those who work within the field, as well as to garner public interest. They provide connections, access, and knowledge, beyond what you would gain in the classroom or workplace, and that can help you move continuously toward your career goals.
So, how can you find an organization that fits your goals and interests? Start with your chosen industry and profession. Try talking to coworkers or peers to see if they or anyone they know is involved in one locally. Additionally, using LinkedIn to search for organizations or to ask people within your network may help. If you are a current student, ask a faculty member, or talk to your career center, about how to join one of these groups.
You may now be wondering, “How can joining a professional organization benefit my career?”
Networking. Professional organizations provide many opportunities to make connections with peers and leaders who can relate to your career challenges, provide motivation and support, as well as celebrate victories together. You may even build mentor, business, or community relationships. Even if you consider yourself introverted or not so great at networking, you will already know that you have at least one thing in common to use as a conversation-starter — your career.
Industry Events and Conferences. Members of these organizations are invited to attend numerous conferences and events on local, national, and international levels. These gatherings offer workshops, training, and presentations from experts about cutting-edge industry trends and ideas. Additionally, these events offer members the ability to connect with industry leaders, potential employers, and possible mentors.
Access to job opportunities and continuing education. By developing professional relationships with peers and leaders in an organization, you may discover open job positions by word of mouth or exclusive job boards. Many organizations also offer professional development and continuing education in the form of trainings. From these trainings, you can gain credentials, earn certifications that demonstrate knowledge and experience to employers, and take advantage of scholarship opportunities.
Industry publications. Many organizations have their own industry publications. These give members access to resources, tools, journals, research and reports, industry news, interviews with influential leaders, and trends that may not be accessible to the general public.
Joining a professional organization allows members — from students to C-Suite executives — to become fully immersed in their industry, make meaningful connections, and learn the skills needed to thrive in their careers. You’ll have an abundance of opportunities to network, attend events, and build upon your experience in a way that will help you advance in your career.
Ariana Jackson is the Content Marketing Specialist at CSU-Global. She has a background in magazines and creative writing, and has worked in the education and financial services industries since 2010. She enjoys spending time with her family, baking, and creating music playlists on Spotify.