Are you familiar with the expression, “You’re known by the company you keep?” This maxim is exemplified with membership in a professional association. Consider your involvement an investment in yourself and others as you reap the benefits of this career savvy initiative.
1. Take the Lead
Are you looking for a career challenge? Consider your professional association – not your position at work. Become a problem solver and facilitate organizational goals.
2. Head of the Class
The American Council on Education (ACE) offers the College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT). For example, ACE recommends up to 22 college credits for members of the International Association of Administrative Professionals who successfully complete the six-part Certified Professional Secretary examination. Visit www.acenet.edu.
3. Who Do You Know & What Have You Done?
Your membership should reflect proactive participation. Apply for a position, e.g., treasurer or secretary. Accomplish an objective, e.g., recruit members or help with fundraising efforts. I spoke with Nicole Bunselmeyer and Sherry Johnson Metz, American Society of Training & Development. Sherry said, “I do not [think] association membership alone . . . would distinguish two candidates. . . involvement or networking . . . could make a difference. . . What kind of contributions have they made?” Additionally, she said, “Many companies want to benchmark practices and trends . . . “
4. Become a “Go-To” Person
What’s the hottest thing on Facebook? What’s the latest techno gadget? Connect with people who have their finger on the pulse of the next big thing.
5. Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Find a mentor and avoid common pitfalls. Develop a strategic career path.
6. Certification Required
Barring a M.B.A. or Ph.D., professional certification is tantamount to success. Pursue this career “must-have” at a discount (members only) price.
7. Where the Jobs Are
Frequently, the job board features positions exclusively. Employers favor candidates who hold membership status.
8. Profile Your Profile
Take advantage of the association’s directory of members and links profiling key players on their website.
9. Tell the IRS
Dues are tax deductible. Some organization offer payment plans costing $25.00/month.
10. Be a Team Builder
Your goals should reflect your personal growth and the professional development of others.
Look beyond common or popular groups. Consult the Encyclopedia of Associations. As Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” This is the epitome of every professional association.