When you join a new profession, it’s important to consider what professional organizations to join. And do this early! I’m going through this process right now, so here are a few things I’m considering.
Plan long term
Don’t just think of yourself as having a job. Plan for your long term career. What organizations might be helpful as that career evolves? Where might you make contacts who could help with job leads in the future?
Don’t forget local
In our global society, it’s easy to forget that we live in a smaller community. Your town and state probably has lots of different organizations that you could join. Some of these might not be specifically directed at your profession, but they focus on your local community or region. You need to connect with local people, especially if you’re looking for clients.
Ask about dues
Depending on the organization, dues can vary greatly. Some local groups I’ve looked into ask for $50 per year. Other groups could want as much as several hundred per year. Get all the info up front and decide if the group really warrants the cost. And see if your employer will cover some of the dues for you. It never hurts to ask!
Watch out for time
I don’t need to tell you that time is limited. When you’re assessing different groups, figure out the total time commitment for each one. Do they have a weekly meeting or a monthly lunch? Do these meetings conflict with other groups? Just make sure you have your eyes open and don’t over commit yourself.
Do you have any suggestions on evaluating what organizations to join? Have you joined groups that you wish you hadn’t? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
[tags]networking, professional organizations[/tags]
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