Congrats! You have just joined the professional world. But do you feel like there are still more things to learn? Are you itching to meet more professionals in your field? Looking for a mentor? Maybe you’re looking for job opportunities. Well my friend, it sounds to me like you need to join a professional organization. Here are 4 reasons you should join today.
Connecting with your peers
Joining a professional organization allows you to express your ideas with like-minded individuals from your specific industry. For example, a public relations professional becoming a member of PRSA would allow them to meet potential mentors and peers who work in PR. In addition, it gives them the chance to collaborate with PR professionals with differing opinions and ideas, on a local scale and even nationally, as PRSA is a nation-wide organization.
Learning outside the classroom
Professional organizations often hold events that help professionals grow in their field. Advertising professionals who join the American Advertising Federation enjoy benefits such as industry-related speaking events, professional development workshops, educational seminars, public service initiatives and social events. It is important, especially in PR and Advertising, to never stop learning because our fields change every day.
Specialized job finding services
Membership also allows you to take charge of career resources. Associations such as AAF and PRSA often have a career or job page that’s exclusive to its members. These organizations alert you (usually before the public) about new job postings and offer you targeted job opportunities in your field. Also, through networking events, you can meet peers who may refer jobs to you or maybe you’ll even meet your future boss.
When you become a member of one of these organizations, you are given the opportunity to develop your leadership skills. Opportunities can range from joining the executive board, speaking at events, event planning/coordination or content creation for the local organization’s website or social media accounts. It gives you an opportunity to give back to your community and in addition, offers you an opportunity for personal growth.
Entering the professional world can be quite intimidating. And scarily enough, what happens next is all up to you. If you feel like you’ve met everyone you need to meet, cool. If you’re content with knowing that you’ve already learned everything you will ever learn, awesome. If you have the job you thought you’d have after graduation, good for you! If not, what are you waiting for? Find the local chapter of your professional organization today!
–Victoria Pathammavong, PR Coordinator