Getting More Involved in Your Profession

Are you a college student, a recent graduate, or are new to your profession? Have you had years of experience under your belt but are interested in switching to a new career? Whether you are still working toward your career or are transitioning into a new one, it’s time to evaluate what you are currently involved in and what else you could be doing to advance your career.

Becoming more involved in your work life can benefit you in many ways. Some advantages would include growing your network, developing lasting personal and professional relationships, and the overall feel-good aspect of volunteering. It’s not always easy to add more responsibility on top of family expectations, social life, and your already busy career. So, the first step you want to take is determining what type of organization you want to be a part of and how much time and effort you are willing to commit to.

The following is shared from a career development blog of AICPA which will help you to determine what types of organizations are best for you.

Reason #1: Professional Development
Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you looking for professional contacts?
  • Do you need a mentor?
  • Are you looking for educational opportunities, certifications, and seminars that will further your industry knowledge?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to join and get involved in a professional organization. Professional and trade organizations offer development and connections with others in your field and enhance your business profile. Having an industry association on your resume says you are very committed to your profession and actively participating in its advancement. Clients, customers, and employers like that.

Here’s a tip that you can use all your life: Don’t just show up; volunteer! Attending a monthly meeting is great for face time, but it may also mean that you’ll get a reputation as an observer instead of a participant. If you really want to get to know people and showcase your own abilities, get involved. Serve on a committee, volunteer for an event, and/or become a board member. These volunteer activities build long-lasting relationships and potential business opportunities.

Reason #2: Look for New Acquisitions
Who doesn’t want to help grow their firm, acquire new customers, and even find great staff for their company? While it’s great to be involved in an organization, if it is not meeting your objectives, you may need to broaden your perspective. To do this, you need to know who you want to acquire; in most cases, that’s a new client or customer.

Put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. If they are involved in the local chamber of commerce, then that’s where you’ll want to be. Are they involved in their own industry groups, such as manufacturing or technology? If so, find one that is targeted to their industry. Leverage your knowledge of that industry and ask your current clients where they are involved. Perhaps go with them to a meeting.

Keep in mind that “intent” is important. You can’t just show up at a meeting with the self-serving aim of getting clients. Go as a resource with the motive to learn the issues; after all, your goal is to help prospects find solutions. It is not about you; it is about them. And again, really commit to getting involved. Just showing up is never enough.

You may also choose to get involved with other professionals who serve your target audiences, such as lawyers, financial advisors, bankers, and others. While they may not hire you themselves, they might refer you.

Reason #3: Find Your Passion
There is no quicker pick-me-up than becoming involved with something you feel passionate about, whether it is rescuing animals, helping sick children, or protecting the environment. For example, service organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis or Lions Club meet weekly and raise money for a specific cause. These meetings also give you access to like-minded business people and allow you to serve the community.

Other organizations, such as environmental groups, homeless shelters, and hospitals need volunteers for all kinds of activities. These groups generally require volunteering after work or on the weekends, and time commitments vary. Becoming involved introduces you to people from all walks of life—and those people know other people, so developing relationships with them could lead to business and referrals. It also looks great on a resume or bio, but again, if the cause is something close to your heart, then you’ll be that much more enthused about serving. Don’t do it just because you are looking for a referral or a line item on your resume.