Do memberships in professional organizations matter?

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Do memberships in professional organizations matter?

Postby alohabear » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:01 pm

Several years ago, I paid for membership to a professional organization in my field of work. The organization offered many technical and informational resources (of which I availed myself) as well as conferences and discounts on professional certifications (of which I did not avail myself). I've since let the membership lapse. I am now preparing to apply for a promotion, and am wondering if it would be worth the expense to renew my membership. Do these types of memberships increase the standing of potential applicants, or is it just a waste of money?

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Re: Do memberships in professional organizations matter?

Postby jpham540 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:29 pm

Hey bear I am in the same boat as you too, I just had one of my member ship lapse recently too. I think that any organization that you sign up for will help you in the long run. It show employers that you want to keep on learning more in your field and you’re doing it on your own time. I normally added any professional organization I am currently in or in the past on my resume. I will eventually sign up for other organization later on, but I am already in some already. You can never stop learning and there is always something new to learn.

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Re: Do memberships in professional organizations matter?

Postby brad » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:09 am

I think it depends on the field that you're in. In consulting, for example, your resume may be included in proposals and some clients look for things like awards, degrees, and memberships in professional organizations. So it's important to have those memberships even if your employer offers training and continuing education in your field, and membership in a professional organization would provide no actual benefits to you. It can be all about appearances, and sometimes appearances count more than substance.

I work in consulting and have let my membership in professional organizations lapse over the years, mainly because I wasn't getting anything out of them; it doesn't seem to have hurt my career. But I'm far enough along in my career that the big selling point to my clients is my experience and expertise, not my academic credentials or membership in organizations.

Maybe it's more important to join a professional organization when you're young, or when you're job hunting (professional organizations often provide networking and job-hunting opportunities), and becomes less important the more established you are in your career. Of course there are other reasons to join these organizations and some people find it personally enriching to contribute to the advancement of their field via a professional organization.

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