Joining a professional group or association is a good practice for staying current with your career and also with moving your job search forward. There is one for every profession or area of interest and many have online memberships, as well as national, state and regional chapters available to join. The benefit of being a member is not only the networking achieved, but the impact of the communication and collaboration as a collection of people, being greater than just one person.
According to globalpost.com, "Successful job seekers reach out to their friends and family, social media contacts and any professional or alumni associations they may be members of, to request leads about potential jobs."
Quintessential Careers outlines what happens when physically attending a professional association or group, as a member:
- Members spend a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting sharing results and accomplishments of the previous week's job hunting.
- Members ask the group for support in specific areas. This portion of the meeting is a problem-solving and brainstorming session. Members can ask for advice, support, leads, ideas, strategies, and direct assistance. It's in this section of the meeting where a professional facilitator may be the most useful.
- The meeting ends with members stating their job search goals for the upcoming week. Members should set goals that can realistically be accomplished by the time of the next meeting. Here, it may be helpful to lay out some good benchmarks, such as a productive yet realistic number of contacts, that members should strive to add to their networks each week.
- Members have a specific career goal or focus for their job search. Members should have a good idea of what they want out of their career.
- Members are well acquainted with their own skills, abilities, and interests. A member should be able to articulate verbally and in writing, at least five skills and abilities that they would bring their career.
- Members have considerable knowledge of the employers they wish to approach.
- Members follow a particular pattern in the way they conduct their research.
Membership in a professional group or association delivers a high return on investment. A guaranteed boost with your job search and career goals.