5 Reasons Professional Organizations are Worth Joining
By Lauren Bayne Anderson
June 16, 2011
There are professional organizations in every field. But are the yearly dues worth it to join?
While each and every organization is different, the short answer is most often: yes. Especially if you’re young and just starting out in your career.
That’s because many professional organizations offer scholarships for college members, and mentors for those in the interning or entry-level position. They can also offer insight into how the industry works and how to navigate it, as well a professional development courses.
What’s more, for students and young professionals, the membership dues are often lowered substantially.
Here are some benefits to joining a professional organization:
- Jobs Many professional organizations help their members find jobs, or at the least, offer up job listings that other members may be offering.
- Mentoring Mentoring is the cornerstone of many professional organizations when it comes to working with younger members. You may never get in the room with someone at the top of your field, for a very long time. But professional organizations have the ability to pare you with someone much more experienced.
- Professional Development Many organizations offer professional development via courses, workshops, publications, and information on their website shared only with members. They also keep members up to date on industry trends and how to deal with them. Some organizations (take the National Association of Black Journalists for example) offer news and print coverage of their annual conferences, run by students—which is an excellent opportunity to gain experience.
- Networking Most organizations have an annual conference. This is an opportunity for you to mix and mingle with others in your field in both professional and leisure settings. There is also often a job fair where you can make contact and stay up to date with the very people who hire – even if they’re not hiring right now. In fact, some people find recruiters follow their career and stay updated when you stop by their booth at the job fair. They may be keeping an eye on you until they are ready to finally offer you a job.
- Scholarships For the youngest of members (high school and college), scholarships may be the primary reason to join a professional organization. Many offer scholarships to the new members studying to enter the field.