Almost all professions offer membership to their official organisations and associations, but, are the yearly fees worth it and what exactly do you get for your money?
While each and every organisation is different, the short answer is most often: yes. This is especially so if you’re young and just starting out in your career, as many professional organisations offer mentors for those in the interning or entry-level position. They can also offer insight into how the industry works and how to navigate it, as well as professional development courses.
Additionally, membership fees are often reduced for students or recently graduated/qualified members – and every penny counts in the early days of your career!
The five main benefits of joining a professional organisation are:
- Jobs Many professional organisations help their members find jobs, or at the least, offer up job listings that other members may be offering.
- Mentoring Mentoring is the cornerstone of many professional organisations when it comes to working with younger members. You may never get in the room with someone at the top of your field, for a very long time. But professional organisations have the ability to pare you with someone much more experienced.
- Professional Development Many organisations offer professional development via courses, workshops, publications, and information on their website shared only with members.They also keep members up to date on industry trends and how to deal withthe m. Some organisations offer news and print coverage of their annual conferences, run by students—which is an excellent opportunity to gain experience.
- Networking Most organisations have an annual conference. This is an opportunity for you to mix and mingle with others in your field in both professional and leisure settings.
- Scholarships and Bursaries – For the youngest of members (college and university students), scholarships may be the primary reason to join a professional organisation. Many offer scholarships or bursaries to the new members studying to enter the field.
- Affiliated Publications – the quarterly magazines which members are sent is often an excellent way to keep up to date with research, opinions, and developments within your field.
All in all, the benefits of being part of a professional organisation outweigh any financial costs incurred, although if you have another opinion, please do comment and let us know your experience.