Just being listed as a member of a professional association can help you be found by recruiters who go through these directories to source talent. But you’ll get far better results if you’re active in the group.
When we discussed how to choose an executive networking group, I suggested you nominate yourself for a volunteer position, ideally a leadership role such as president, treasurer, or membership chair.
On your resume and LinkedIn profile, this tells recruiters, HR hiring managers, and colleagues that you are highly respected by your peers. As a bonus, if you’re in career transition, your volunteer position is an excellent way to fill that gap and increase your visibility in the industry.
I know one executive who was in career transition when she became president of her professional association. In the year she served in that role, she received 27 job opportunities!
Conferences take networking to a higher level
Take advantage of the local, regional and national conferences put on by your industry association. You’ll take away multiple benefits:
Professional development – You’ll hear industry experts speak about new strategies and skills that will improve your performance.
Staying current – You’ll learn the latest approaches, research, trends and legislation that are affecting your industry. Be sure to tour the exhibit floor to see the latest technology and services available. Keeping up to date with all of this makes you more valuable to your organization and your future employers.
Inspiration – You’ll be joining a group of like-minded professionals who are passionate about the industry. As well, keynote motivational speakers will no doubt pump you up even more.
Networking – To me, the most important benefit of going to industry-related conferences is the networking. Take advantage of formal events like touring the local city, as well as informal opportunities at meal times, refreshment breaks, walking through the facility, and winding down at the end of the day.
Presenting – Consider submitting a proposal to speak at a conference. Associations generally solicit from their own membership for speakers, giving you a huge audience to broadcast your own expertise. This is often the way people pick up your name. You may generate a lead directly, or just make it easier for people to remember you for future opportunities. Presentations are enticing enhancements to a resume!
Joining your professional association is just a start. Jump in and lend a hand, and then boost your professional credibility by attending and participating in industry conferences and local association events.