The Benefits of Joining a Professional Organization

If you don't already belong to one or two professional organizations in your field, join one. There are professional organizations for just about any career field, from orchestra librarians to golf course architects to toymakers — ask professors or experienced professionals in your field about what organizations are available to you.

Although some oranizations can cost several hundred dollars to join, they're worth every penny because they can offer great career assistance and inside information.

Career assistance

Most professional organizations keep up-to-date job banks that list opportunities submitted by employers and organization members. It's a good place for employers to advertise if they're in the market for someone who is skilled and qualified because joining a professional organization shows intelligence, commitment, and a willingness to seek and share knowledge.

Job banks can work the other way as well. Professional organizations can also allow you to run your own "seeking employment" ads. Advertising to this targeted market — your association peers and their employers — is a powerful tool on both a national and a local basis. Additionally, many of the local chapters of national organizations send monthly mailings of job openings and jobs wanted.

Employers often simply pick up the phone and call professional associations to ask for recommendations for job openings. Make sure your association knows you're in the job market, whether or not you place an ad in its publication.

Organization meetings

Professional organizations offer you another important job tool: The opportunity to attend their meetings, conferences, and seminars. If you're looking for a job, these events offer many opportunities to get your name out there. Showing up at these events is an investment that pays off because you'll get the inside track on job openings in your field.

Even if you don't need or don't find a job at one of these conferences, they are a great place to network with people in your field and stay abreast of changes in your field. Professional networking has a way of becoming a great tool when you least expect it. The relationships you sow today may yield success in the future.