Why professional associations are crucial to success

With so many people working remotely, there’s never been a better time to be part of a professional association.

Whether it’s advertising, marketing or public relations, professional associations provide tangible benefits and value to their members.

Associations offer career nourishment opportunities through professional development, industry resources, networking, recruiting, peer recognition and more.

Professional development

Not everyone desires an advanced degree or has the time or funds to pursue higher education. Marketing associations can provide cost-effective opportunities to learn new skills or brush up on existing ones.

Before COVID-19, many associations offered luncheon programs, workshops and conferences where attendees could often hear from industry experts and pick up new skills to put in place once they returned to work.

As we shifted online due to the pandemic, associations like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) boosted virtual offerings. For example, members can take part in one-hour webinars at no cost.

The American Marketing Association (AMA) and some other organizations offer certification programs, and members get discounts on the exams. PRSA has a rigorous accreditation program (APR) that helps its members demonstrate leadership and a superior understanding of the public relations profession.

Local association chapters might offer scholarships to help defray the costs of completing continuing education course work.

Industry resources

Along with educational opportunities, professional associations might offer their members print and online resources to help professionals keep up on the latest relevant information. Through newsletters, newspapers, magazines and blog posts members can get valuable career advice and read case studies and trends.

Association members might be eligible for discounted program fees and conference registrations or exclusive discounts through related organizations. This could include travel discounts from hotels, airlines and rental car companies.

Recruiting opportunities

If your organization offers internships, associations provide a great opportunity to find potential candidates. Students regularly attend association meetings and networking events.

Some associations offer job banks. This might or might not be limited to members. As a member, you can benefit from a job bank by posting an opening and attracting professionals in your field.

Networking opportunities

When organizations are able to meet in person, networking events can provide opportunities to connect with other professionals. This can be beneficial because you can expand your network of professionals from a variety of industries and gain a better perspective on your industry, too.

In 2020, associations encouraged members to take advantage of online forums. This alternative to in-person networking allowed members to connect with other professionals. Also, some associations offered online meetings for members to socialize with each other.

Award programs

We all enjoy having our work recognized by our peers. PRSA, AMA, the American Advertising Federation and other organizations offer award programs. Not only can you submit your work for recognition at the local level, but also some organizations have national award programs.

This is a great way to showcase your work to current or prospective clients if you work for an agency.