What Are They?
Professional Associations are communities of professionals in a particular career field that exist to further the interests of their members and related stakeholders. They may also regulate their members’ practice for the benefit of the public.
Ten reasons to sign up
- Further your knowledge of the profession and industry you are interested in – the organisations you could work for and jobs they may offer. Many Professional Associations have extensive careers information on their web site
- Learn about day-to-day issues you will face in the workplace
- Keep up-to-date with trends and developments in the field
- Meet professionals already working in the field you wish to enter, and network with employers
- Socialise with your student peers who share similar interests and career goals
- Develop skills through participation in professional development activities, conferences, events and training
- Enhance your job-seeking through workshops, mentoring opportunities, seminars, site visits, employer functions, vacancy listings etc.
- Volunteer for the Association on projects/events or become a member of a committee and develop new skills
- Improve your business etiquette and communication skills.
- Student membership will usually be offered at a reduced membership rate (in some cases it is even free).
Remember to include the fact that you are a member of a Professional Association early on in your resume! This reflects your active interest in your chosen field at a professional level.
"Joining a professional association early on in my university studies had a profound impact on my subsequent career. Advice from experienced professionals informed my study choices and involvement in association committees and events helped me to build strong industry networks before I had completed my degree. It also allowed me to find out about different companies within the industry and ultimately helped me to gain employment straight out of university with a company that I targeted. Involvement with professional associations has also helped to fast track my career progression. Eighteen months after finishing my degree I have just taken up the post of Country Manager for Lao PDR." Chris Smithies, Bachelor of Environmental Management/ Bachelor of Business and Technology, joined the Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ)
How Do I Find One?
- Check out the website links for some Professional Associations here.
- Ask relevant University academic staff for their recommendations.
- Directories such as The Directory of Australian Associations and your Subject Resources at the Flinders University library.