by Lisa McGrimmon
Professional associations and clubs can provide great career networking opportunities. Learn how to find unadvertised jobs through professional associations.
In order to cut costs, you may be tempted to let your memberships to professional associations expire when you find yourself out of work, particularly if you think you are going to be out of work for an extended period of time.
It's wise, however, to explore the career networking opportunities provided by your professional association before you let your membership expire.
Sometimes paying your dues to a professional association is required in order for you to claim certain professional designations.
If you hold a professional designation that is important to employers in your field, and/or if it would be difficult to requalify for the designation if you let it lapse by not renewing your membership in a professional association, then, as frustrating as it may be to write the check for your membership dues every year, you really must maintain your membership to maintain the professional designations that make you competitive in the job market.
Some professional associations are wonderful and provide great opportunities for networking, professional development and staying up-to-date in your industry. Maintaining or starting a membership with these associations can help you to find unadvertised jobs and build an effective network.
Before you commit your hard earned money to professional association membership dues, take the time to research associations carefully.
Some key benefits to look for are:
Will you gain access to professional conferences or regular meetings that will provide career networking opportunities?
Perhaps you'll receive discounted entry fees to conferences, seminars and other professional development opportunities. Attending conferences, seminars and meetings organized by your professional association is a great way to meet important business contacts.
Employers like to hire people they know, so finding job leads should be less about looking for ads in the newspaper or online and more about figuring out where to go to meet people in your field of work. Ask yourself, "Where do people who are involved in my industry go?" and then make sure you're there too.
Professional associations can sometimes give you access to those places.
The links below go to pages with lists of professional associations based in specific countries. The lists are not exhaustive, but they are a good place to start if you're looking for a professional association for your field of work.
If you do not find a professional association that is relevant to you on one of the lists below, use a search engine to search the name of your profession, the phrase "professional association" and your country.