What are professional associations?
Professional associations are a collaboration of individuals from the same occupation. They are formed to maintain and update standards within the profession, offer information and resources to the members and provide a space for professionals to meet and share knowledge. For some professions, they are the regulatory body and manage entry into the profession. If you are looking to further your career, joining a professional association can be a great start. There is likely an association for nearly every profession.
How to use them to your advantage
There are many advantages to joining an association. It can be a great way to broaden your sector knowledge, update your skills and gain insight into job opportunities. Below are four ways you can use a professional association to your advantage.
Building professional relationships is very important for your job search or career advancement opportunities.
Professional associations provide members the opportunity to create and foster business relationships and grow their network.
Associations often host or sponsor events throughout the year which allow you to meet and interact with your peers.
Networking can also take place virtually through online groups set up by your association including LinkedIn groups or discussion boards; these are also great ways to grow your network.
Advice and idea sharing
Professional associations offer a forum for individuals to share ideas, industry updates, advancements and employment opportunities.
If you are looking for career advice, members are well versed in the sector and can provide valuable advice specific to your job search.
Sharing personal experience and listening to the experience of others can help lead you in the right direction for your career.
You are able to gain insight into current trends and advancements in the industry.
Certification and training
Some professions require you to have a Canadian designation to practice in the industry. Professional associations are often the distributing body for these designations. An example is engineering which is a regulated profession in Canada (you are required to get a license to work as a professional engineer.) Joining a professional association can help you with accessing the resources you need to move forward in this process.
You can contact the associations to get a better understanding of what is required to start working in your sector in Canada.
Many associations will offer additional training and resources to advance your knowledge in the profession. It is a great way for you to broaden your skills.
Some associations help you to obtain continuing education credits or qualified courses for the licensing process
Joining your professional association can help you find a job that fits your background and experience.
Associations often have job postings available for their members
Resources for resume and cover letter writing may be available
Being connected with professionals in your field can open doors to hidden jobs that you might otherwise not have access to
Examples of Professional Associations in Canada
If you are looking to build your professional networks, find a job, or simply to meet new people, joining a professional association can be very beneficial and rewarding.