Blog post contributed by 4CDesignWorks graphic designer Jacqueline McClellan
Whether you are interested in strengthening your network, furthering your career or maybe just in need of a few more friends, professional networking organizations can be a great option for you. In addition to providing information about your chosen field, professional organizations can enhance your personal and professional development and provide endless networking opportunities. Look around your community—there are bound to be a plethora of organizations (from small local start-ups to national chapters) for you to join. Here are the top 10 reasons for joining a professional networking organization:
1. Broaden your knowledge: Professional organizations sometimes offer courses, seminars and/or lectures to keep themselves and their members up to date on the latest industry innovations, research and trends. Staying informed on your industry’s trends will only help you in the long run and will put you one step ahead of the competition!
2. Take charge of your career: Take advantage of career resources. Associations often have job listings online or in print available only to their members. This is a great way to find targeted job postings for your area of interest.
3. Build a better resume: Many organizations have career resources available such as tips on effective resumes or cover letter writing. Listing your association membership on your resume is impressive to current or future employers as it shows that you are dedicated to staying connected in your profession.
4. Enhance your network: We all know that networking is key for the movers and shakers of the community! Making connections is critical, and joining associations give countless opportunities to connect on a local and sometimes even global level. For most people, creating professional relationships is important, and joining a group allows you to have a sense of security and trust. From this, you are able to support and help one another in reaching your professional goals.
5. Be a Leader: Professional associations give you an opportunity to develop your skills as a leader, and this is important not only for your personal growth, but for your growth in your firm.
6. Become a mentor: Giving back can be the greatest reward and benefit. Participating in forums, chat groups or discussion boards sponsored by an association is also a great way to grow your network. This allows you to use your peers as sounding boards and often make some great friends with the same interests as you.
7. Make a new friend: Once we graduate from school, we all know how hard it is to get out and meet new people and make a new friend! Use professional networking groups as an opportunity to escape the norm and meet new people that may give you a reason to come out of your shell a bit more and have fun.
8. Give back to the community: There are plenty of organizations that coordinate socially conscious initiatives to support community efforts. Whether it is a nearby animal shelter or a food drive for a local charity, there are sure to be plenty of options for you to choose for if you are looking to give back.
9. Strength in Numbers: We live in a day and age where establishing a presence in any given career field often demands working long hours in the office and bringing work home when the doors close. At the end of the day, you may have ideas for cultivating partnerships, yet not feel up to shouldering all the responsibility to organize them. In a community organization, you have access to an established support system of experienced people who are motivated to get things done. The battle is half-won!
10. Stay Inspired and Stay Motivated: Learn to love what you do! You may not even know that you love something, but it’s important to be proactive about things you discover on the journey. Join a professional organization and discover something new TODAY!