How Industry Associations Can Bolster Your Career
To establishing yourself as an expert in your field usually takes hours of study, time and patience. But to make the road easier to travel, you want to have access to as many resources as possible. Industry associations provide a wealth of benefits that can support you on your way to subject matter expert status.
Industry associations serve as a hub for the best and the brightest within any particular craft. If there are movers and shakers within your shown profession, you can bet that they have a strong presence within these types of organizations. Joining an industry association gives you access to other professionals with which you can build supportive relationships. As a member of the same association, you have common ground with other professionals with which you can form strategic alliances that can help your career endeavors through information sharing or introductions to other bigger players within your profession.
Most credible industry associations offer programs that help their members to strengthen their knowledge base within the profession, secure valuable career-advancing certifications and gain CEUs to keep them. One can usually access course recordings online (some free, some for a small fee) to listen to at your convenience.
A good industry association will provide its members with tools that help them improve the value of their professional “product”. Membership should provide members with advantages not enjoyed by non-members, or why else would they join? For example, resume writers have several organizations that provide everything from keyword research tools to job descriptions to help its members provide a higher quality product to their clients. Most associations also have message boards and chat rooms where professionals discuss their challenges and get input on resolving them. Good associations will also provide their members with excellent discounts programs on items, product and services as excellent incentives for membership.
When employers see that you are an active member of a credible organization, they feel better about you being one who takes their career seriously. This gives you a bit of a leg up on those unaffiliated with such organizations. Employers know it is possible that you bring to the table the three points mentioned above (a network, access to resources) and a strong knowledge base), which only helps their cause.
Aligning yourself with a strong industry associations is always a good move. You will find that the bonds you form with fellow industry professionals can provide you with numerous benefits in the form of support, new business partnerships, industry intelligence, or perhaps just someone to listen that understands your plight.