At college, every major had a club. The Economics department had the Investment Club, and the English majors had their independent annual magazine. And just like majors at college, every career has a professional organization to join.
Professional organizations give many professionals advantages in the workforce. These organizations can keep you up-to-date on the latest advances in the industry, and they can offer great networking opportunities. At annual events you can hear seminars on the most recent developments in the industry and opportunities to meet other professions.
Also, a lot of professional organizations offer certification or “chartering” programs. Most certification programs require you to take a test and/or complete continuing education. The real benefit in completing a certification program is that you get to brag about it on your resume. Putting certifications on your resume allow you to show your commitment not only to your career but to the industry as well. Plus, it gives you talking points if you encounter other certified individuals.
The best part about professional organizations is that every industry has one! A few example professional organizations (and their web sites) are:
These organizations are also great if you interested in learning more about a particular field. Their web sites will be full of job postings, industry events, and networking opportunities. So before you considering thinking about the costly graduate school option to get your foot in the door, research an industry through a professional organization. You’ll be surprised how much you learn!