Get Industry Informed
#1: Professional Development
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 our organization. We 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. No matter what your chosen field of study, as a graduate student you want to remain in the mainstream of your desired field. Of course there are numerous ways that this could be accomplished – networking, trade and professional journals, etc. However, one great way to draw on all of those resources is to join a professional association.
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 on THEIES organization. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Regardless of your objective, becoming involved in any organization is about developing meaningful relationships from which you will learn and hopefully grow your firm or business. This means a commitment of personal time and, oftentimes, resources in terms of membership fees or fundraising. The bottom line is that consistent and active involvement is the key to successfully developing relationships and business opportunities.