If you're looking to expand your job search, you'll eventually face this question:
"Where can I find people who'll talk with me?"
This is a question most job seekers have to grapple with when the well runs dry and they're at a loss for new jobs to apply for.
How about professional associations?
It's been said, "there is a professional association for almost everything you do." Every industry, profession, specialty, or trade most likely has at least one professional association. These organizations perform various roles such as public relations liaison to the media, maintaining professional standards and establishing a vision for the future of their profession or industry.
These organizations can be a great conduit for inside information, overall trends and new developments. This also includes the latest scoop on job opportunities, but you must be a member. If you're not already a member of an association that represents your job title or professional position, join one as you may be missing out on a great deal of insider info.
The perfect resource to research organizations is a reference called Associations Unlimited. This is a database containing profiles of approximately 460,000 international and U.S. national, regional, state, and local nonprofit membership organizations in all fields, including IRS data on U.S. 501(c) nonprofit organizations.
According to their publisher, Associations Unlimited contains descriptive info on over 22,000 U.S. national associations, 25,000 international associations, 110,000 U.S. regional, state and local associations, plus over 300,000 U.S. 501(c) nonprofit organizations, agencies and service programs. You'll find contact information, e-mail, web sites and links to each association's descriptive materials plus info on meetings, conventions and conferences.
Don't waste time Googling this resource, because it's available only on a subscription basis. The good news is that you can access it free from your local library, as many library reference sections include this reference work. In fact, if you have a valid library card, you can access Associations Unlimited online through your library website once you've entered your card number.
The bottom line is this: professional associations are a great resource for networking with members of your own profession, trade, or job title. Their members are employees, managers and executives who are working in the very same corporations, small companies and organizations to which you're applying.
In fact, your dream job could be within one of these very companies because many hiring managers will also be members of their professional associations. What better time to meet them than when they're "off-duty" and you're on a more equal footing?
If appropriate for you, join the organization. It most likely has a local chapter in your city or close by. Get on their mailing list and into the loop. Professional associations can be one of the best avenues to get on the inside and to reap referrals and leads for opportunities that will never make it to the outside world.
As they say, "membership has its privileges."
As a recruiter, Joe Turner has spent the past 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their careers. Author of Job Search Secrets Unlocked, Joe has interviewed on radio talk shows and offers free insider job search secrets at: www.jobchangesecrets.com.