Joining industry-specific professional organizations can be an incredibly beneficial addition to both your network and resume. Are these organizations worth the price tag given their ability to connect you to a national network of like-minded professionals, potential mentors, and other ambitious young people? Here’s how to identify which memberships are worth investing in.

The Pros

Education

Professional organizations are a great source of personal growth, offering multiple outlets for development including conferences, webinars, seminars, and workshops. Take advantage of the educational gifts available to you as well! To keep members in the loop and up-to-date, many organizations offer weekly or monthly resources which focus on industry news, and career tips and showcase impressive accomplishments from fellow professionals. Even better yet, several groups even provide educational scholarships for young employees to help encourage growth.

Mentors

Levo League has powerfully demonstrated to us the importance of having a mentor in order to succeed professionally, and these national networks create directories as well as communication platforms for young professionals who want to find knowledgeable mentors near them. Joining the membership allows individuals to come together and form a professional network with those who are passionate about their careers.

Career Opportunities

Professional organizations offer members the opportunity to personalize their websites with information regarding resumes, career objectives, and desired locations. The website is tailored to suit individual job seekers, carefully sorting through openings that match the user’s profile and sending them directly to members. Additionally, they provide essential resources such as industry fellowships, resume critiques, and tips for perfecting job application materials.

The Cons

Cost

Joining a professional organization can be costly, but if you are currently struggling with student loan payments or high rental costs, it may not seem feasible to add yet another expense. Monthly and yearly dues for these organizations typically range from hundreds to thousands of dollars – an amount that might be too much for your budget right now. Every year, companies host conferences. If your employer declines to pay for the expense of traveling, registering, and staying in a hotel, then it may not be worth you spending any money out-of-pocket. Fortunately, though, students can take advantage of special student rates while corporations are entitled to group discounts that make attending more economical.

Competing Organizations

Upon joining an executive organization in my industry, I was surprised to discover that my supervisor belonged to a rivaling society striving for the same members. I thought it was prudent to inform my manager about joining the other organization and, luckily, she had no objections. But unfortunately, her contribution as a mentor would be limited in this case. Due to my long-term ambitions, I chose to stay with this organization. Yet, it would be prudent for future references of mine to inquire about the organizations that your superiors have joined and ask questions before joining them yourself.

Ultimately, the choice to join a professional organization is yours; you may opt-out if it doesn’t fit into your personal and professional goals. Before confirming your choice, take the time to fully explore all of your options, ask yourself if you and/or your company are in good standing with any related organizations, as well as inquire about other people’s experiences.

Are you a member of any professional organization? If so, why did you join? And if not, what is the reason for your decision? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

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