A professional association is an organization that connects and updates people who work in the same occupation. Joining a professional association is a win-win situation for students because while you’re networking with professionals, you are also taking the initiative to learn more about your field of interest. Members of professional associations are student-friendly and want to mentor your transition to the world of work.
The benefits of professional association memberships include:
When you join a professional association, you can enhance your existing business relationships and develop new contacts. You can make lasting relationships with other professionals in your career. You can attend meetings, be an active member in a subcommittee or take up a more prominent role.
Career training and certification on the mastery of skills helps you increase your earnings. Professional associations often offer these courses free of charge or for a subsidized fee and establish the acceptance of continuing education credits by the licensing board. Newsletters and journals published by the association give an opportunity for you to learn about the advances in your field. Access to research material and industry information is another reason behind joining professional associations.
Internship and job opportunities
Most professional organizations have job boards. You can use them to land a job of your choice. You can submit your résumé so recruiters and hiring managers can view your qualification while searching for new talent.
Seminars and conferences
Students can attend at a discounted rate and hear from keynote speakers in the industry. In addition, you may be offered special rates on related expenses like car rentals, room reservations, etc.
Updates on policies
It’s amazing how much one piece of legislation can impact a profession. A section of the professional association is devoted to updating you about these changes. They also advocate for the profession and notify you about how to prepare for any change.
Exclusive online resources
Websites of most professional organizations have a “members only” section that provides access to a variety of message boards and databases. There are also listserv subscriptions that notify you via emails about all special activities and upcoming events that are usually not open to the general public.
Betty Boza is a Career Development Specialist for the Fulton Schools Career Center. Her primary responsibility is assisting online, graduate and doctoral students with all aspects of career development including résumé preparation, professional network expansion, effective job search strategies and mock interviews.