Giving back to your profession is a rewarding and fun opportunity, and getting involved in an association or organization is one way to do this. Professional associations and organizations offer a chance to grow professionally and personally, as well as the opportunity to expand networking, which can be beneficial during a job search or possibility of promotion.
Being involved in a professional association or organization also:
Provides you with additional skills.
Involvement in a professional association or organization, whether it is during college or while working in a chosen career field, should add to your skillset – something highly valued by current and prospective employers. Members of professional associations and organizations learn how to participate in or even lead meetings, collaborate with others, and hone writing, organizational and interpersonal skills.
Helps build your professional network.
Building your network can be beneficial not only for meeting new people, but for developing professional contacts. Those individuals can be invaluable connections when pursuing a job or career change, or can help out when you’re looking for advice or a speaker for an event.
Helps you find your niche or expertise area.
Finding your niche or expert subject area to be involved with or become recognized in, will help you to be known within a particular profession. Think outside the box and volunteer for other areas as well, to continue learning and developing a professional “toolbox.” Be mindful, however, not to overextend in the process. Do not volunteer for too much because it is important to find a balance.
Where to start:
Perhaps seek associations or organizations at the state or local level, if that is an option, or jump right into the national arena. Volunteer to serve on a committee or participate in conference planning. Write up a conference report, short article for a newsletter, professional journal or blog post. You could also present at a conference.
Look for opportunities to contribute to the profession while building those networks and, in turn, you’ll receive an updated and well-rounded resume and name recognition. Be in charge of your “brand.” Work toward professional career goals and continue to develop sought-after skills.