June 3, 2011
How to maximize professional associations, part 2
In my last post, "How to maximize professional associations," I gave you two ideas for a more targeted approach to your job search. By securing speaking engagements and writing newsletter articles for professional associations, you can gain valuable exposure and build credibility with their members.
Here are three additional strategies for maximizing your involvement with professional associations that can help you get noticed and hired quickly.
Serving on an association's board, or volunteering, can be one of the best career moves a professional-in-transition takes to further his or her network and credibility. As a board member, not only can you fill employment gaps on your résumé, but you also avoid being pegged as a desperate job seeker.
Volunteering allows you to build relationships with other board members, many of whom are employed at organizations you might be interested in working for. Board members tend to consist of high-level, well-networked executives -- and when you're on the board, you become one of their peers.
To the outside world, you're the association's VP of networking or director of membership, and that can only enhance your credibility. You now can network under that title, so more doors will open for you. Companies tend to treat those affiliated with associations differently. And many association directors are friends with each other, so there are lots of opportunities for collaboration.
For typical job seekers, however, those doors are often closed, along with the usual response: "All interested parties must apply online."
Getting involved in research projects
Many associations offer chances to gather industry data or research trends in the marketplace. The Lake Washington Society of Human Resource Managers, for example, recently conducted a survey of local CEOs on HR trends. Just imagine the networking and relationship-building prospects those volunteers had.
In addition to networking opportunities, being involved in research projects also gives you access to information that hasn't yet been distributed. This can help position you as an expert in your field and significantly enhance your credibility with local decision makers.
Finally, serving as a volunteer or board member of an association allows you to interview almost anyone within the industry. This can help you access folks you might never have had a chance to connect with otherwise.
You can set up interviews for research projects or newsletter articles. If those aren't options, many decision makers are still likely to simply sit down with a representative of the association. If you plan this carefully and strategically, you can meet with almost anyone.
Using these tips, you can go beyond traditional networking to connecting and deepening your relationships with experts and decision makers. These new relationships can connect you with hundreds, if not thousands, of others; what you can accomplish with them is limited only to your imagination.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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