Professional associations have been pivotal to my career and success. Unfortunately, far too many professionals in the marketing/advertising/public relations industry feel that they are too busy to engage with a professional association.
As a marketing executive I am always busy— but am actually less stressed on a day-to-day basis as a result of what I get in return from my professional associations. I have mentors and colleagues who I can talk to about all things related to my profession at any time, I have a wealth of resources at my fingertips, I am well-versed on the latest marketing techniques, I have career opportunities popping up constantly along with a pipeline of potential candidates who would love to work with me. Most importantly, I have the leadership ability and confidence to give every day as a marketer my absolute best. Take it from someone who worked full-time as a Marketing Director while going to graduate school, mothering a one-year-old, serving as President of the American Marketing Association Chicago, and contributing to several other associations—you are never too busy to focus on building a better “you.”
Here are five reasons why you should be part of a professional association to help build a better “you”:
1. Build an awesome network.
Due to spending time outside of the workplace interacting with others through professional associations, my network consists of thousands of people that can help me on a regular basis. I have no limit to the amount of mentors, respected peers, marketing experts, future managers, recruiters, potential clients, agencies, vendor partners, future team members, business leaders, and the like who I can call upon to aid me in all my endeavors.
2. Attain a career opportunity (even when you aren’t looking).
Two of the biggest career moves of my life are thanks to my involvement with professional associations and the recommendations that I received because of them. I have just announced that I will be taking the helm as Chief Marketing Officer at Sikich—a role that a fellow American Marketing Association Board Member has held and recommended me for. I couldn’t be more thrilled to achieve a top leadership role at a respected company at this point in my career. The benefits that I have received by being part of the American Marketing Association are key to why I was selected for the job.
3. Develop and grow professionally.
Professional associations often offer members ways to get hands on experience within their field. This can be a great way to build your resume with skills that you do not receive in your day job. For example, the majority of experience I have gained in mobile and social marketing has been through my associations since these tactics aren’t heavily used in my industry.
4. Boost your personal brand.
Through professional networking, I have perfected my elevator pitch of who I am as a brand. This has led to countless opportunities for me in the way of speaking engagements, mentoring arrangements, guest blogging and even a magazine feature that I obtained through meeting the editor at the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago (click here to review).
5. Be at the cutting-edge of your practice
Marketing as a practice has evolved more in the last 10 years than in the previous 100 years combined. During its search for a new marketing leader, my new employer was clear that they needed someone who has evolved with the marketing evolution. I could confidently say that because of all the programs, conferences, books, social engagement, and expert interaction I have had with my professional associations, I am that marketer.
Don’t sit on the sidelines and wait until you need a job or a resource to get involved with an association. Build a better “you” today!
Tara Giuliano is the Chief Marketing Officer at Sikich, a top 35 accounting and professional services firm. She also serves as the President of the Chicago American Marketing Association. In 2008, Tara published her advice for young professional women in a self-help book, Little Helpful Guide on How to Have Everything.