Why Students Should Join Professional Associations
Once you’ve entered university and have started on your path towards your chosen career, you can look at joining professional associations. Students who join the associations in their related field do well for several reasons:
1) They are well connected with people who share a common interest. Having a social network of people who you can talk to about stresses and successes in your program is a huge coping resource. If you have any complaints about professors or courses, or are looking for information about textbooks or course notes, you have an easy access group of people at your disposal. There are also opportunities to share your opinion which is often a useful outlet as you undergo the stresses of university or college life.
2) Having a strong sense of belonging within a group will allow you to fulfill one of your most basic needs in a really easy and accessible way. This is super important because you will be busy in university or in college, so making time for social activities may present a problem for you. Having a group that you belong to will help to reassure you and let you focus on more important things, like your studies.
3) It looks good on a resume. Being a part of your chosen professional organization will help you to bulk up your resume. Employers and academics will be impressed with any work that you did within this organization because it shows that you have a strong work ethic and are able to work well on a team. It also shows that you are engaged in your academic life in a way that exceeds the minimum expectations. Whenever possible, you want to gain experience that goes above and beyond to put yourself ahead of others who will be competing for the same jobs as you.
4) It provides you with networking tools. When you are a part of an organization, you can more easily get in touch with people who can get you jobs or volunteer positions. You want to have these connections so that your life is made easier when it comes time to finding a job. This may not seem important since you are in school and may not want a job immediately, but if you plan on being employed sometime in the future, then you will need to have connections.
5) There are more opportunities when you are a part of something then when you aren’t. When you are a part of your professional organization, you have opportunities for social gatherings and charity drives and other such events that you otherwise may not know about. Taking part keeps you in the loop.
Overall, the most important reason to join a professional organization is to have the beginning of a social network. When you start university or college there are often competing demands on your time. This means that you may not have time to do the social networking that you should be doing. This aspect should not, however, be neglected, and by joining a professional organization you are immediately put in touch with people with common interests and have access to opportunities that are likely of interest to you and that will look great on your resume. Also, any way to make networking with employers easier should be acted upon because, as the common adage says, having connections is your most useful tool for getting employed, no matter how spectacular your experience is.