Tree of networking

With so many of us working remotely, there’s never been a better time to be part of a professional association. Whether it’s advertising, marketing, or public relations, professional associations provide tangible benefits and value to their members.

Associations offer career nourishment opportunities through professional development, industry resources, networking, recruiting, peer recognition, and more.

Professional development

Not everyone desires an advanced degree or has the time or funds to pursue higher education. Marketing associations can provide cost-effective opportunities to learn new skills or brush up on existing ones. Before COVID-19, many associations offered luncheon programs, workshops, and conferences where attendees could often hear from industry experts and pick up new skills to put in place once they returned to work. As we all shifted online due to the pandemic, associations like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) boosted virtual offerings; for example, members can take part in one-hour webinars at no cost. 

The American Marketing Association (AMA) and some other organizations offer certification programs, and members get discounts on the exams. PRSA has a rigorous accreditation program (APR) that helps its members demonstrate leadership and a superior understanding of the public relations profession. Local association chapters may offer scholarships to help defray the costs of completing continuing education coursework.

Industry resources

Along with educational opportunities, professional associations may offer their members print and online resources to help professionals keep up on the latest relevant information. Through newsletters, newspapers, magazines, and blog posts members can get valuable career advice and read case studies and trends.

Association members may be eligible for discounted program fees and conference registrations or exclusive discounts through related organizations. This may include travel discounts from hotels, airlines, and rental car companies.

Associations offer career nourishment opportunities through professional development, industry resources, networking, recruiting, peer recognition, and more.

Recruiting opportunities

If your organization offers internships, associations provide a great opportunity to find potential candidates. Students regularly attend association meetings and networking events. This is your opportunity to identify potential candidates.

Some associations offer job banks. This may or may not be limited to members. As a member, you can benefit from a job bank by posting an opening and attracting professionals in your field.

Networking opportunities

When organizations are able to meet in person, networking events can provide opportunities to connect with other professionals. This can be beneficial because you can expand your network of professionals from a variety of industries and gain a better perspective on your industry, too.

In 2020, associations encouraged members to take advantage of online forums. This alternative to in-person networking allowed members to connect with other professionals. Also, some associations offered online meetings for members to socialize with each other.

Award programs

We all enjoy having our work recognized by our peers. PRSA, AMA, the American Advertising Federation, and other organizations offer award programs. Not only can you submit your work for recognition at the local level, but some organizations have national award programs. This is a great way to showcase your work to current or prospective clients if you work for an agency.

Next steps

In addition to joining professional organizations, you can sharpen your skills by reading marketing newsletters and blogs. Read a recent blog topic about this subject: “Industry Trends. Marketing Newsletters and Blogs: Finding Inspiration and Knowledge.” 

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