So you finally got the job or accepted into the academic program of your dreams! It was hard work along the way but you have finally achieved one of your goals. Well, don't think that the hard work is over. You have to show your employers or professors why they chose you to fulfill the mission of the company or education program. After all, they could positively impact your working/academic life.
During your interview or candidacy review, you submitted a plethora of supporting materials that exemplified why you were best for the job. You must show on a continuous basis why you are a fantastic hire/candidate. At work, you could work longer hours, take the initiative where warranted, work efficiently and productively across silos, show mastery in your craft or offer ideas for growth. Sometimes, it’s just as simple as doing all that they ask of you and beyond. In an academic environment, you could express interest in your professors’ work and look for opportunities to work closely with them.
All the aforementioned ideas are great but sometimes you need a little help from outside development groups and/or associations. Professional member organizations are great extra curricular activities because they offer members outlets to:
- Cultivate leadership skills
- Acquire news skills by working on various committees, events and programs
- Apply existing and new skills that boost marketability in the workplace
- Build network of mentors and like-minded individuals
- Host workshops demonstrating work in career field
- Conduct seminars with industry professionals
- Unearth job opportunities through selective recruitment processes. Many employers work solely or in conjunction with membership associations and groups.
- Stay abreast of industry breakthroughs, trends and research
I would challenge you to consider how you want to grow as a professional or as an academic student and search for associations or groups that fit your needs and offers you opportunities to develop personally and professionally. Joining associations or groups can be expensive but the benefits outweigh the expense; look at it as an investment in your future. Many join associations because it looks good on a resume-- and it does -- but the real take-away is knowledge, contacts, expanded networks, new skill sets and a healthier outlook on life and the workplace.
Desiree Frieson, 24, a marketing & PR coordinator at Odyssey Networks, is a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, American Marketing Association (AMA) and the New York Chapter of the AMA.
You can read more of Desiree's thoughts on books, movies, television series, social media and much more on her blog Desi's Random Thoughts: "I have a lot of thoughts and ideas fluttering around in my head and this blog serves as my release!"