Money Matters: Is Joining a Professional Organization Worth the Cost?|
Industry specific professional organizations appear to be positive additives to your network and resume. They provide a national group of like-minded careerists, possible mentors and other young professionals, but are these organizations worth the cost? Here’s how to decipher which ones are worthy of your membership.
Professional organizations provide excellent opportunities for professional development including seminars, workshops, conferences, webinars and educational gifts. Many send weekly or monthly publications with career-specific goodies to expand your knowledge base, plant ideas and reveal what others in your position are accomplishing across the country. Some organizations even provide educational scholarships for their young members.
As Levo League has taught us, mentors are a crucial aspect to career success, and these national communities build databases and communication tools for early careerists to find an experienced mentor in their area. Members are able to connect with others who are serious about the profession and want to build a network.
Many professional organizations have websites which members can customize with their resume, career interests and location preferences. The site targets certain job openings based on the profile and sends them to members. They also feature information regarding industry fellowships, resume critiques and job application materials.
Often the cost of joining a professional organization exceeds your budget, and if you are still paying student loans or managing high rental costs, it may not be the right time to begin paying monthly or yearly dues that can cost hundreds of dollars or more. Organizations also hold yearly conferences, and if your workplace is not willing to foot the bill, it probably is not worth it for you to pay the cost of the flight, hotel room and meals. However, if you are a student, most organizations have student rates and your company may also be privy to a group discount.
After I joined a professional organization for executives in my industry, I found that my supervisor was in a similar organization that competed against mine for members. I decided to let my supervisor know that I had joined the other organization, and she had no problem with it, but unfortunately would not be able to serve as a mentor. Because of my future career goals, I decided to stick with this organization, but it would be wise to learn about the organizations that your superiors are a part of and ask questions prior to joining.
The right time to join a professional organization is ultimately your decision and perhaps you will decide that it is not necessary for your personal and professional growth. Research your options, investigate your company’s relationship with the organizations, and ask your colleagues about their experiences before making a final decision.
Photo: The Lifestyle Sophisticate
Are you in a professional organization? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments section.