Should you join a professional association?

Photo by Willi Heidelbach.

Professional associations can provide several benefits to anyone wanting to further their career. I am a working journalist and have joined the Canadian Association of Journalists. I've found being a member of this association very helpful.

First, it is a national organization, which allows me to make connections and learn about new jobs in the industry across Canada. Also, I've been able to make friends with journalists who have contacts in other countries and learn about resources and information from them first-hand.

Recent graduates can benefit from joining an association

I've also discovered that recent journalism school graduates find joining the association very helpful. When they have questions about their career path or how to file a story, they will often ask other members.

Being a part of the association has been extremely beneficial for me and I've found it to be a very supportive environment.

Here are the top four benefits of joining a professional association:

1) Get a job

Most professional associations have job boards on their website, which only members are able to view. Additionally, an association can provide excellent opportunities for you to meet potential employers (at its events).

2) Peers

You can learn from other members in the association. If members are in more senior positions than you are, they may be able to act as mentors and advisers. They can provide you with valuable information and knowledge on the industry. At social and professional development events, you may also have opportunities to learn more about the industry from people who have more experience than you do.

3) Professional development

Most associations provide workshops and publications, and some host online training. Some organizations also coordinate conferences and other events. Sign up for all the latest news with your association, as there could be many additional learning opportunities available for you.

4) Networking

Associations offer numerous opportunities for making friends. They may host social events, conferences or other professional development activities that can help you make new contacts in your field.

If you'd like to join a professional association, ask about their monthly or annual fees. Are you a student? They may provide you with a discount on your fees. Be sure to sign up for the association newsletter so you can take advantage of all the most up-to-date information.

Professional associations are a great way to make friends in your industry, to continue learning and find out about potential employment opportunities. Try it out, and most likely you'll find many benefits in these organized groups.

About the author

Sacha DeVoretz is an independent journalist currently based in North Vancouver. Sacha reports and blogs on a broad spectrum of stories both locally and internationally. Her in-depth coverage has been featured in the Vancouver Observer, Canadian Immigrant Magazine and Fox News Latino. She writes a lifestyle blog for the Huffington Post. Visit her daily at SachaD.com

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