Joining professional associations is a great way to build your network and develop professional relationships. The old cliché about who you know being just as (if not more) important as than what you know is a cliché for a reason, there’s truth to it!
A 2016 survey published on LinkedIn found that most folks got hired through networking. This fact was true for unemployed, employed but actively looking, and employed but passive job candidates.
Here are some ways to build your network using professional associations.
One of the most basic functions of a professional association is to help you meet other people in your field. Your fellow professionals can give you valuable information about job openings before they’re known to the public. In short, connections help you get around gatekeepers.
Professional associations and organizations often have a career services component too. For instance, the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) Society of Chicago has a members’ only job board. Association employment resources help you avoid superfluous job postings.
Attend In-Person Events
Professional associations and organizations offer a variety of opportunities for face-to-face meetings. These events are as large as a national conference or as small as a dinner for members of a local chapter. You build your network and professional relationships when you connect in-person.
In-person events also allow you to increase your credibility in a field. Consider giving a presentation on an industry topic to members of the local chapter. You improve your communication skills and improve your visibility in your field.
You also learn new skills from association-sponsored events. For example, the American Academy of Audiology offers an event related to Practice Management. You meet new people and gain valuable job skills through these events.
Use Associations for Digital Networking
You can leverage a professional associations’ LinkedIn Group for professional networking. Start by making sure your profile is complete and relevant to the LinkedIn group. Some organizations will review it to make sure you’re appropriate for membership.
Once you join a group, you can connect with other members via LinkedIn. Make a goal to build your network and professional relationships (i.e. connections) with at least 100 people. As a side benefit, recruiters are often attracted to profiles with strong industry connections.
You can begin building a LinkedIn presence by liking certain comments and discussions. Take the initiative and then start LinkedIn discussions on important industry topics. LinkedIn offers ways to increase visibility while using your laptop.
Avoid Getting in a Career Rut
It’s easy to get in a habit of doing your job and going home. If you’re not developing professional relationships, you miss out on lucrative, challenging opportunities. Professional associations and organizations allow you to quickly build a solid network.
There is a professional organization for you whether you’re an accountant, writer, or any profession in-between. They also help with continuing education and can offer respected certifications. Join an association to engage in professional networking and advance your career.
Make sure your Resume is up to par before you start networking. Need help? Contact us!