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Advantages of Joining a Professional Council

Advantages of Joining a Professional Council

Like any other group of professionals, we’re always looking to build our professional networks, find career advice and uncover new industry resources. One way to further these goals is through becoming a member of a professional organization. The affiliation must not only provide a value to the individual, but should enhance or maximize the performance of the person to ultimately benefit the organization.

Getting the most out of any professional association membership is like anything else in life — you’re going to get out of it as much as you put into it. Fortunately, there are some easy steps that you can follow to ensure that each of your association memberships is a success. Really think about what you’re trying to get out of this membership. Why are you thinking about joining an association? The following are a few questions to consider:

  • What are you hoping to accomplish?
  • Is this about furthering your career?
  • Is this about growing your business?
  • Is it a social objective, or is it truly a professional objective?

Establishing clear objectives by answering these questions before you start assessing potential organizations will greatly benefit you in the long run. Ask yourself specific questions about why you are spending the time and identify objectives for your participation.
You won’t meet people by walking into a room of 500 to 1,000 association members and handing out business cards. You’re not going to get specific career advice or develop potential business leads that way. Even though you might exchange business cards in that venue, it will be months before any kind of meaningful relationship is developed. The smaller committees and task forces that you will work on, the events you will help plan, the programs you will help coordinate by volunteering your time — that’s where you’re really going to develop working relationships with other members.

By building substantial relationships, you will also learn more about the resources within the organization, as well as additional professional organizations that your new contacts are involved in that may be relevant to achieving your objectives.

Typical Advantages of Professional Memberships:

  • Large and prestigious organizational connections.
  • Access to the leadership in the industry.
  • Professional networking at local, regional, national, and international levels.
  • National publications.
  • Opportunity to attend Regional Conferences and National Congresses.
  • National, regional, and local seminars, workshops, and symposiums.
  • Professional Certification opportunities.
  • Web Sites – resources about the industry on the Internet.
  • Published and Internet Job Listings; service for members to post their resumes, review resumes for new employees, or look for a new job; jobs are typically posted for free as a service to members.
  • Vendor Resource Guides.
  • Local, national, and international competitions.
  • National and Local Awards and Honors.
  • Programmatic Accreditation for colleges and universities.
  • Member Services Center; sometimes via a toll free number.
  • Educational Grants for members.
  • Video Library.
  • Discounted merchandise rates.
  • Apprenticeship and Intern Programs.

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