4 Ways a Professional Association Can Help You Find a Job

If you are currently on the hunt for a job opportunity, are you aware of the benefits that come from joining a professional association? Do you know what kind of opportunities await you?

Professional associations are the perfect place for dedicated professionals to advance their careers and continue their education surrounded by like-minded individuals that share the same passion for their careers. These associations offer many benefits that will support your desire to become an influential presence in your field. 

Here are 4 ways a professional association can help you find a job:

  1. Networking & Leadership Opportunities
  2. Continuing Education Opportunities
  3. Access to Mentor Programs
  4. Niche Job Boards

Networking & Leadership Opportunities

One of the many perks association members receive are the exclusive networking and leadership opportunities. As a member, you gain access to virtual, in-person, and hybrid networking events that can help grow your network. Building a network can help you solve challenges in your industry, discover new best practices, and connect to job opportunities you may not have otherwise known about. 

Networking events are great places for sharing ideas and information with colleagues to learn about their perspectives and experiences. Virtual networking can make this a little more challenging, but many associations and members have seen great success using LinkedIn pages or other online community platforms to connect with colleagues. When you make a connection with peers in your field, you have the opportunity to advance your career. This happens once a connection is established and a professional relationship starts to build. The more effort you put into your professional relationships, the more you’ll get out of it. 

Becoming actively involved within your association not only opens up networking opportunities, but it can also help you develop valuable leadership skills. Many professional organizations are dedicated to leadership or even offer leadership educational opportunities. When you do become a member, you might also be eligible for tuition discounts or educational scholarships offered by the association as a high value benefit. 

Continuing Education Opportunities

Another reason to join a professional association is the access to continuing education opportunities like certifications and courses. Earning certifications is critical for continuing competency in your profession and not to mention, this is an essential step in advancing your industry.

In the era of virtual learning, associations give you access to online certifications, which makes achieving these certifications less complicated for working job seekers and students. Some associations even offer discounted rates for certifications and other educational courses!

What is also great about joining a professional association is the access to speciality journals, magazines, professional or peer-reviewed publications and newsletters with industry-related information. Having this kind of information at your fingertips will help you stay up-to-date and knowledgeable about all things industry-related, making you a well-informed candidate and future employee. 

Access to Mentor Programs 

Associations are the perfect place to find experts who can help you advance your knowledge and skill set to grow professionally. Each mentor’s range of expertise and years of experience can provide you with a plethora of resources to get you to the next level in your career. 

They can give you tips and advice on which certifications or courses to take, which programs to enroll in, companies to apply to that are looking for candidates like you and much more. Mentors have a wealth of knowledge that can guide you through your career path and help you when you hit a bump in the road. They have been through and seen it all, so learning from a mentor will be extremely rewarding and beneficial for your career development. 

Niche Job Boards

An association’s job board is more effective for job search than a massive job board because they only focus on posting jobs that are relevant to your industry, whereas massive job boards have hundreds of industries they serve. When you are searching for a job on an association’s job board, you confidently know you are exposed to high quality employers and career options. 

Additional benefits include the option to create a job seeker profile where you can upload your resume, cover letter, recommendation letters, display certifications and manage your applications all in one platform. This makes it much easier for employers to find you, assess your qualifications and quickly contact you to set up interviews. You, as the job seeker, can sign up for job alert email notifications that send relevant job opportunities directly to your inbox when an employer posts a job that meets your preferred criteria. 

When you join a professional association, you’ll be able to access jobs that are specific to your area of interest without the headache of searching through massive job boards to find those types of jobs. These associations will understand the market on an intricate level, giving you top employers and job opportunities on a regular basis.

7 Tips to Help You Land a Job at a Virtual Career Fair

Whether you’re a seasoned employee in your industry, a recent college graduate or somewhere in between, job searching at a virtual career fair is new territory for all. How are you supposed to make a great first impression, create meaningful connections with potential employers and stand out from other candidates when you can’t meet recruiters face to face? 

The key here is to take the same concepts you would use at an in-person career fair but modify them to fit in the virtual world of recruiting and job hunting. You can still create those personal connections with employers despite being separated by a computer – it will just take some getting used to!

Here are 7 tips to help you find a job during a virtual career fair. 

  1. Do Your Research 
  2. Update Your Resume
  3. Schedule Interviews with Employers
  4. Practice Your Elevator Pitch
  5. Create a List of Questions 
  6. Stay Organized
  7. Follow Up

Do Your Research 

Once you’ve decided to attend your association’s virtual career fair, research the employers that will also be attending and looking to hire qualified candidates like yourself. Visit their employer profile (if they have one with your association) and check out the jobs they have posted on the career center. From there, you can easily view the types of positions they are looking to fill and you can determine if any of them are of interest to you that you’d like to interview for. 

After you’ve made a list of the potential employers and jobs you want to pursue, browse their websites and LinkedIn pages to learn more about their company, what products or services they sell, company culture and more. A helpful way to find out more about their company culture is to read online reviews from current and previous employees. This will help you better understand the environment, management and co-workers you’ll be working with and determine if this is still a good fit for you. 

Update Your Resume

When was the last time you updated or refreshed your resume? If it’s been a while, be sure to take a look and update it with any information or work-related experiences that will make you stand out from other candidates. Recent graduates should consider any internship experiences they’ve had, class work or projects that are relevant to the position, or other jobs held where those skills would translate to desired positions in your industry. Also consider any online courses or certifications you’ve received that would make you a more marketable candidate. Things like software or program certifications will be very attractive to recruiters since they won’t have to spend as much time training you in the programs they use regularly. 

Another option is to create variations of your resume that are tailored to specific employers or job descriptions. For example, if you are applying to a few different jobs within the same industry, but have different job descriptions and desired skill or work experiences, you can develop different versions of your resume so you hit on all the major points that a specific company is looking for.

Schedule Interviews with Employers 

Now that you have your list of employers and an updated resume, start reaching out to employers to schedule interview times with them. Be sure to keep track of who accepts your requests and get them scheduled in your calendar so you don’t accidentally double book. This will help you plan out your days and give you enough time to prepare for each interview. 

Also, be on the lookout for employers reaching out to you for interviews. If you have a job seeker profile set up through your associations job board, make sure your updated resume is readily available and share your contact information. 

Practice Your Elevator Pitch

As cliché as it may sound, practicing your elevator pitch in front of the mirror or with a friend will help you nail that first impression. It’s important to capture the recruiter’s attention and efficiently convey your qualifications for the position. When you feel comfortable with what you want to say, the message will be concise and you’ll sound more professional. It also shows that you have invested time and energy into the interview, which many recruiters will notice and appreciate. 

Start your pitch by sharing the relevant work experience and highlight the skills you have that the recruiter is looking for in a candidate. Be sure to reference the job post to use keywords and phrases that pertain to your qualifications. This shows once again you’ve taken the time to research the position and prepare for the interview. If you are a recent graduate, your pitch will be slightly different. You’ll want to introduce yourself and follow with your major, year in school and area of interest, followed by any work-related experiences you’ve had that qualify you for the position. 

Once you feel comfortable and confident with your pitch, you’re ready for the real deal!

Create a List of Questions

As you interview with multiple employers, have a list of 2 to 3 questions to ask them, but be sure to tailor the questions to each employer and job description. This helps you better understand the role and the company so you can make an informed decision about your career path. This is where your research from earlier will come in handy, but also make sure the questions you ask could not be easily answered from their website. Well thought out questions go a long way with recruiters and shows you put in the time and effort to prepare. 

Some examples of insightful questions to ask are:

  1. What kind of challenges have previous employees faced in this role or what challenges do you believe a person in this role will face?
  2. Are there any growth opportunities within this position?
  3. What skills or characteristics do you believe it takes to be successful in this role?
  4. How will success in this role be measured? 

If you are a recent graduate, some questions you may also want to ask are:

  1. How has your degree prepared you for your current position?
  2. What do you like most about your role and working at (insert company name here)?
  3. How have your college experiences prepared you for your career?

Stay Organized 

As stated before, keep your calendar updated so you can keep track of your interview schedule  and attend other workshops during the career fair (if offered). This helps take the stress out of your week and easily see what you need to do next. 

Since your interviews will be conducted virtually, test any of the video conferencing tools you’ll be using the day before to make sure they are working correctly so you’re prepared for any mishaps that could take place. Familiarize yourself with the platform and any functions you’ll need to use like muting, screen sharing, and more. 

During your actual interviews, take notes of your conversations with the interviewers. Write down things you liked and disliked about the role or the company. When you refer back to your notes later, this will help determine which roles you want to pursue and the pros and cons that come with each position. 

Follow Up

Following up with employers after you’ve interviewed or talked with them is a crucial step in landing a job. A day or two after your interview, send the recruiter a follow up email thanking them for their time. Since they have probably interviewed many people in that short period of time, reintroduce yourself and use your notes to include personal anecdotes within the email so they can also easily recall your conversation. If you have examples of your work, be sure to link to them or include them as attachments.

Some examples of personalizing your email are including a topic you discussed that you both had interest in or a memory from, or anything you enjoyed about the conversation that was memorable. Let them know if you’d be interested in moving forward with any potential next steps in the interview process with something as simple as “I look forward to hearing back from you about any next steps.” This helps speed the process up so they know you are interested in the position.

4 Virtual Ways to Grow Your Network with a Professional Association

If you are a job seeker or work with a professional association, you understand the importance of building relationships and growing your network to advance your career and the industry you work in. Given the current situation, job seekers must adapt to these changes and find new ways to network with other professionals in their field. 

With some help from technology and professional associations, job seekers can seamlessly immerse themselves into a virtual networking world that fosters professional growth and advances the industry. 

Here are 4 ways you can virtually grow your network by joining a professional association:

  1. Attend Virtual Events
  2. Join an Online Community 
  3. Engage with Peers on Social Media 
  4. Utilize Association Job Boards 

Attend Virtual Events

It is important to build your network with meaningful connections to remain top of mind so when new positions become available, your peers think of you and refer you for the job. Experts say that between 70 – 85% of people found their current position because of networking, so it’s safe to say that building relationships with peers can play a huge role in your career progression. 

Joining a professional association relieves the burden of finding networking opportunities since they host these kinds of events regularly and you can trust they will connect you with influential people. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits that comes from networking within a professional association is the ability to connect with peers from all over the world with diverse backgrounds in education and experience which offers a great way to gain different perspectives and improve your knowledge. 

Here are some examples of virtual networking events professional associations might host:

  1. Annual association meetings
  2. Members-only happy hours
  3. Career Fairs 
  4. Networking mixers

Join an Online Community

Online communities are an authentic space where professionals can communicate with one another (and association staff members) to share ideas, offer advice and foster relationships with other passionate industry professionals. Interactions on the platform can be anything from asking “help desk” related questions for association login problems, to sharing industry information and more. 

Being active on an association’s online community will help build your network as you continue to engage with your peers and keep your name relevant within the community. Also, online communities are an easy way to find relevant virtual networking events that your peers are attending or events your association is hosting internally. 

Engage with Peers on Social Media 

Similar to an online community platform, social media networking on your associations page or other industry-related pages is an effective way to grow your network. 

For example, if your association has a LinkedIn page, consider sharing, commenting and tagging your peers in their posts to start conversations within your community. Since LinkedIn is a more professional social networking medium compared to others, it is a great space to interact with other serious professionals and add them to your network. Also, LinkedIn is all about adding connections, so that makes it an even better place to manage your connections and display them with pride. 

Social media has the power to connect you with professionals all around the world and connect with people outside of your association, as well. Being able to connect with peers outside of your immediate network circle (which includes your association and place of employment) gives you access to supplemental information and job opportunities, but also allows you to refer them to your association so they can share their wealth of knowledge with a greater audience of your peers. You can make these connections by following relevant hashtags or other industry pages, commenting on those posts or creating your own posts to start conversations and gradually build your network. 

Utilize Association Job Boards

Association job boards make the job hunting and employer networking process easier for all professionals since you have direct access to industry-related jobs, better ways to search for those jobs, and can find jobs that are specific to sub professions and specialities. You can also trust that your association is providing quality employers that will meet your specifications and help you advance in your career. On the job board, you can create a job seeker profile that gives employers easy access to your resume, references, certifications and qualifications as they search for potential candidates. A job seeker profile can greatly expand your network with recruiters since they can easily view your profile and reach out to schedule interviews. 

Access to an association’s job board will also be helpful when networking during their virtual career fair. Before the event, you can browse the employers that are attending, view their open positions on their employer page, and connect with recruiters online if their company and position fits your needs. Some virtual career fair platforms even provide the option to reach out to employers to schedule interviews ahead of time! Employers attending the career fair will have the option to view your job seeker profile and reach out to you for interviews as well, making it effortless to grow your network. 

5 Tips to Help You Succeed in Your First Week of Employment

To be successful in week one of your new position, it’s all about balance. You want to make a great first impression with your co-workers, but you shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself to get everything right. The goal of week one is to learn about your new workplace and feel out your role in that environment.

Here are 5 tips to help you get through your first week on the job. 

Introduce yourself

Your first week on the job can be nerve wracking and intimidating, but that’s a natural feeling. When you’re new to the company, you don’t necessarily want to bring attention to yourself, but in the first days of a new job, you want your enthusiasm to be noticed. During a meeting (when appropriate) or on your own time, give a quick and friendly introduction to the people you don’t know yet.

If meeting new people is particularly important to you, you can enlist the help of others. Mention to your manager that introducing yourself is a priority for you and ask for a list of people you should get to know. In meetings, you could ask the organizer to give you some time at the beginning or end to introduce yourself.

Ask Questions 

When you ask more questions to become more comfortable with your new work environment, you can perform, By asking your leaders and peers for new information, you’ll get up to speed quickly. In your first week, you want to find the right time to ask questions. Here are some guidelines for deciding what to ask:

  1. Think about what you want to know
  2. Prioritize the information you need
  3. Write down your questions so you don’t forget

Create Friendships 

Once you’ve made some introductions and have a sense of who you’ll be working with, ask a new colleague to lunch or coffee. It could be the person sitting next to you or another new employee who started at the same time. Developing a trusted relationship will make you feel more comfortable as you’re getting to know this new workplace. Making friends can also help improve your productivity!

During this first week, you may not find your best friend or develop a deep relationship with anyone, but seeking out someone you can relate to will provide some needed stability.

Learn Your Office Layout and Location 

Locate the restrooms, the coffee and water, the stairs and elevators, where you can eat lunch and take breaks, and seek out any other amenities this workplace offers. If you haven’t been given a tour, consider asking a colleague for one.

In this first week, you may also want to experiment with your commute to find the right times to leave home and test different routes or transportation methods. Identifying and establishing the routines early on will give you peace of mind.

Add Value Wherever You Can

In your first week, your main priority should be to soak up information and adjust to a new place of employment, but consider challenging yourself to add value – whether it’s big or small. Here are two ideas of where to start:

  1. Ask your manager what their biggest pain point is and spend some time thinking about how you can help. Don’t force it or overstep boundaries, but if there’s something you can do, do it!
  2. Think back to your interview – was there a specific need that came up? Communicate with your manager on how you would approach solving this problem or need. 

6 Tips for Managing New Job Stress

Starting a new job is very exciting, but it can also be very stressful. Changing your daily routine, meeting new people and learning how to work in a new environment all pose new stressors, but it can easily become manageable using the right techniques that fit your lifestyle.

Here are 6 tips you can implement into your daily routines to help minimize new job stress.

Prioritize Self-Care

Healthy routines are often the first things to get pushed aside during big life changes. But this is the time when regular exercise, healthy eating and sleep are crucial for keeping your body and mind in balance. When you take care of yourself and prioritize your health, you are less likely to become overwhelmed and will be able to manage new tasks thrown your way. 

One of the best ways to mitigate stress is to exercise regularly – whether it’s at a gym, going for a walk or anything else that gets your body moving. This could even be going for a walk during a work break outside or around your building. This helps stimulate blood flow and releases endorphins in the brain that help you feel more at peace. 

Eating healthy foods that give you energy and make you feel good is another way you can manage stress. When your gut health is in order, your mindset will also improve and help you focus on the tasks at hand. One trick to help eat healthy is to pack your lunches instead of eating out. You can fill your lunch box with whatever foods you enjoy and include some snacks to keep you full and focused during the day. Avoiding over-caffeination, excess sugar and high carb foods also help normalize blood sugar and avoid mid-afternoon crashes.

Lastly, be sure you are getting enough sleep at night so your brain and body are ready to go each morning. Recognize how long it takes you to get ready each morning and how long your commute is to the office. Or, if you are working remote, give yourself enough time in the mornings to wake up, shower and get ready for your day. Everyone is different and will require different amounts of sleep, but it is generally recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. 

Socialize with Colleagues 

Being a new employee can feel awkward, especially for introverts, but it’s important to challenge yourself to build a social network at work. Even if the friendships don’t extend beyond office hours, having social support can make work more enjoyable and help you assimilate into office culture.

If you’re uncomfortable meeting new people, start small. For example, rather than eating lunch at your desk, see if there is a group that eats together that you can join. It might be less intimidating than approaching someone eating alone or with a friend.

If you have hobbies or interests outside of work like yoga or painting, you could ask your co-workers for recommendations on yoga studios in the area or the best craft store to shop at. This will help you find common ground with colleagues and become a great talking point in casual conversations. 

Gain Understanding of Expectations Early On

When you’re just getting to know the people and culture of an organization, it can be tough to sort out expectations. If your boss isn’t straightforward about their working style or how performance is reviewed, set up a meeting to get on the same page. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you can better understand how to navigate your new position expectations. It can make you feel more overwhelmed if you play the guessing game and try to figure out what your boss expects you to do. Write down your questions and the answers to those questions when you meet with your boss so you don’t forget or can reference these later on in your job. The more information you have, the more comfortable you’ll be fulfilling your duties. 

Embrace Challenges

The difference between spending your first month at a new job completely stressed and enjoying the change is how much you feel in control of your situation. For example, a longer commute might be stressful, but you can gain some control of the situation by listening to an engaging podcast or carpooling with a friend instead of listening to the traffic report or fighting traffic alone. 

You most likely won’t be able to control every aspect of your situation, but you have the power to decide which aspects you can control that will make you feel more secure and less stressed. Try to view changes as new opportunities or challenges to conquer to feel more positive about your situation, rather than viewing them as an uncontrollable event and creating more stress for yourself. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

There’s a difference between new job stress and chronic stress. It’s completely normal for your sleep schedule to be interrupted the night before a big event, like your first day on the job, but it shouldn’t be so overwhelming it lasts for an extended period of time. This is why self-care and being proactive during a transition period is so important for stress management. 

Whether your stressor is work or something else, if you notice that your difficulty with adjustment seems to be lingering, or if it spills over into your sleep, appetite, or general well-being, consider talking with your primary care provider about your reaction and possible avenues for support and treatment.

Manage Your Time Wisely 

Recent graduates are likely used to scheduling their study time around their favorite activities and is something you should aim for as well. After starting a new job, you will surely be eager to invest as much time as possible into new work projects. However, it’s important to make time for your passions or you’ll burn out easily.

Making time for yourself, your family, and your hobbies and disconnecting mentally from your job will allow you to return to work refreshed. Schedule out your week in advance and make sure you have time blocked out to unwind with family and friends. If you have a hobby, schedule that too. Block out a certain number of hours weekly to read, run, play basketball, paint, or whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Setting this time aside will help ensure that you don’t get consumed by your new job.

Whenever you start a new job, try using these 6 tips to help you manage your stress. Staying on track with your regular routines, making time for hobbies, friends and family will help you feel more comfortable in your new role and will ultimately help your performance levels as you progress. 

4 Easy Ways to Engage and Motivate Your Remote Workers

Remote work is becoming more and more common each year. With surveys reporting that the percentage of employees who have put in remote work hours is now hovering around 70%, it’s apparent that almost every company has employees that telecommute at least once a week. In this new office landscape, how can you ensure that your employees are staying engaged in their work? Continue reading “4 Easy Ways to Engage and Motivate Your Remote Workers”