Are you part of any professional associations? If not, why? There are groups for just about every industry in the world. Every day, local, regional, and national associations come together with a common professional interest.
Every group you are in has the potential to bring something to your table. Joining an association can transform the way you think about your work and help take it to the next level. With many businesses struggling to recover in a rocky economy, being in an association is more valuable now than ever.
Take, for example, the American Marketing Association. It offers training, resources, and networking to its members. Some members work in marketing, while others are business owners who want to develop marketing skills for their companies. Then there are industry-specific marketing associations. One example is the Legal Marketing Association. This association provides resources and education for those in the law field and gives its members a platform for success.
The Many Benefits Of Joining An Association
No matter your industry, there is a group out there for you, and the benefits of membership will be incredible. Just consider the following.
One of the strongest assets of any association is its educational resources. Associations bring together experts within an industry or area of interest, and those experts bring their resources with them.
Associations often facilitate seminars, webinars, boot camps, conferences, and other events to sharpen your skills. They tackle a wide range of topics, from industry best practices to new technology that can make your job easier. There is never a shortage of new things to learn.
Let’s face it — we aren’t perfect at what we do. You may lack leadership skills or management skills. Maybe you’re missing a certification that could elevate your status in your field or industry and increase your earning potential. It’s time to turn to your association.
Associations give members countless ways to develop their professional standing. They connect members with tools, resources, and professional contacts. These connections will help you develop your skills and ultimately take you or your businesses to the next level.
Another important benefit of your membership in an association will be the connections you make with other professionals. Many associations hold networking events, which allow members to mingle, explore job opportunities, and find new referral sources.
An association is also a great way to connect with industry experts and bounce ideas off of thought-leaders. Being in a room with professionals in the same industry can help you gain insights into the issues you face. It’s likely that these experts have already faced and resolved those same issues, which leads to the next point.
Associations often have a diverse membership. You’ll find industry veterans, newcomers, and everyone in between. On top of that, you’ll find people with differing levels of success. This equals a wealth of perspectives in any given association. It also means you’ll get to connect with some incredibly talented, experienced, and successful people.
Connecting with experts gives you the opportunity to talk about your business with others who understand it. You can have in-depth discussions about what is and isn’t working at your business. And you may even find someone to serve as a mentor as you build your business. Or maybe you can put your experience to work and mentor someone who’s just getting started.
Associations are packed with resources. If you have questions, chances are the association has something or someone it can connect you with for answers. Many associations also offer their own publications to keep you in the loop throughout the year. That way, when something new and exciting does come up, you’ll know about it.
There’s also a good chance your association will offer resources you won’t find anywhere else. Associations are tailored to their members and typically offer exclusive content locked behind a paywall or login portal. You might find a members-only forum or have access to members-only events that aren’t advertised anywhere else.
Make Your Move
While the list of benefits goes on and on, these are the big ones. If you aren’t a part of an association, consider joining one today. Yes, most of them do charge a membership fee, but in practically every case, it’s worth it if you take advantage of what your association has to offer.
You just need to find the association that makes the most sense for you. There are numerous resources online, including the Department of Labor’s Professional Association Finder. But, your best bet might just be an old-fashioned Google search for your industry plus the keyword “association.”
When you find a potential association, explore what it has to offer, including educational resources and membership perks. There’s a very good chance you’ll find an association that fits your needs. From there, it’s just a matter of joining and taking advantage of the perks. Get out there and get connected!