CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 21, 2014
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The Benefits of Joining a Professional Organization

Most industries and career specialties have a professional body which is open to people that have relevant qualifications and experience. Whether you are a marketer, nurse, engineer, teacher, musician or journalist, you are likely to find a body suited for your career specialization. Here are some of the benefits of joining such a professional body.

1. Professional recognition

Most professional organizations require you to go through an assessment process before being accepted as a member. Only people that have the necessary qualifications and experience are allowed to join. Therefore, being a member of such an organization implies that you are competent in your profession. In addition, it shows that you are committed to growing in your career, thus adding to your credibility.

2. Exclusive online resources

Most professional organizations have a ‘members only’ section in their websites. As a member, you get the privilege of accessing exclusive online resources such as industry surveys and reports. In addition, members are usually the first to know about jobs that are available in the industry. Besides providing information, such websites also allow members to interact with others through discussion forums.

3. Networking opportunities

Many professional organizations hold regular events such as conferences, workshops or seminars. Attending such forums gives you the opportunity of networking with other people who share your professional interests. Besides strengthening existing business relationships, you also get a chance to make new contacts. Members usually enjoy special discounted rates for conference fees, hotel bookings and other related expenses.

4. Discounted or free publications

Many professional associations have a magazine which is published periodically. Members who have paid their annual subscription fee usually get a complimentary copy of this publication. Besides staying updated on the goings on in the industry, you are also likely to find relevant job openings advertised. Other resources such as videos, CDs and journals can also be accessed at a discount.

5. Career development

Professional organizations usually provide career assessments, training courses and continual professional development programs for their members. This allows you to upgrade and update your skills and thus become more marketable in your industry.

6. Community involvement

Professional bodies are usually involved in different community initiatives. This could be career days for students or various philanthropic activities. Being part of such an organization gives you the chance to volunteer your time, money and skills for the benefit of society. Such activities also offer another great opportunity for networking with other professionals in your industry.

Before joining any professional organization, make sure it will be worth your time and money. Visit their website to learn more about them and what benefits are offered to members. To establish their credibility, you can use Google to find out what other people are saying about them. In addition, you need to understand the cost of joining such an organization. Besides the annual membership fee, you might also have to pay an additional charge for assessment and accreditation. All this information will help you make a decision on whether or not to join the organization.

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