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How a Professional Association Can Help You in Your Job Search
We have heard it said countless times that most jobs are found through networking, but an often overlooked place to network is at a professional association. There are associations for nearly every profession or area of interest and many of them have national, state and regional chapters available to join. Most people recognize that forming professional relationships with their peers is important, but joining a group of like-minded people builds strength and synergy, establishing trust and security. You open up yourself to additional contacts, who can offer critical advice as well as leads to job openings before they become public. A professional association is a conduit to inside information.
Membership in professional associations provides another advantage in addition to networking opportunities – they provide employment information and job leads. They offer career resources as a benefit to their members:
- Job listings, which are an excellent way to find targeted job postings for your area of interest. In addition, you may be able to post your resume or profile online.
- Tips on effective resumes or cover letters, job searching strategies and negotiating techniques.
- Events, webinars and podcasts on industry-related topics.
- Training and certification classes for upskilling and bridging a skills gap.
- Opportunities to network when you attend events. You also have access to the membership list, which enables you to schedule meetings with other members.
- Opportunities to volunteer (i.e. serve on a committee of the professional association to get to know other members or try out a new skill that you don’t get to do in your day job).
A professional association is also an excellent repository of industry information that is useful during a job search and critical for managing a career. Information can include case studies, articles, white papers and books written by experts in the field or area of interest. With your membership, you are usually entitled to receive the association’s trade journal, newsletter or magazine that covers that specific field in depth, keeping you on top of trends that may be shaping the industry.
If you are not a member of any professional association, and want to take advantage of the job search benefits, a good place to start researching the ones that are best for you is a publication, that you may access through your public library. Other options are and . A sound job search strategy incorporates many different ways to find a job, and tapping into a professional association is an important component of a job search strategy.
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