Job Search Tip
Industry or professional organizations are some of the best job search resources anywhere. These can be fantastic because they are a direct connection for you to people in your field—including potential hiring managers, but that’s not your only benefit here. You can expand your network, you can learn a lot about your field, and you can often find out about jobs that aren’t necessarily listed on national job boards.
For instance, I was a part of several organizations when I was in clinical diagnostics sales:
- The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
- The American Society of Microbiology (ASM)
- Society For Neuroscience (SFN)
- Clinical Lab Managers Association (CLMA)
My membership in these organizations paid off for me in multiple ways, over and over again. I ended up with great connections to potential customers as well as great sales reps and industry leaders I learned a lot from. My network and my knowledge both grew as a result of my membership. Every industry has some of these organizations, and they are extremely valuable for you.
There are thousands of these kinds of associations. Here are some examples:
This list isn’t even big enough to qualify as the tip of the iceberg because there are just so many of these organizations. Find yourself a directory and start looking. I think that Weddle’s Association Index is a good place to start.
So how do you take advantage of these resources?
Industry organizations usually have an events calendar you can find with lots of opportunities to participate. They will very often hold at least monthly events. Go to these events. They are very valuable to you, maybe more so than alumni organization events or generalized networking events because they are a concentrated gathering of people in your field. Think about all the hiring managers you could meet!
When you go, just follow the guidelines of good network event practices: Don’t be shy about introducing yourself. Have a quick but confident explanation of who you are and what you do ready to go, but listen more than you talk. Try to make some sort of a meaningful connection beyond just trading business cards. Follow up after the event with a personalized email or personalized LinkedIn invitation to connect (no generic invitations allowed).
Industry associations also usually have very strong networks within the organization…everybody usually knows everybody, and when you join, you will eventually know everyone, too.
Some industry organizations have internal job boards, which can be helpful. But beware…they will also attract a pool of highly motivated, connected candidates who also belong to that organization and saw the listing, too.
Bottom line: When it comes to industry organizations, join and participate. They’re worth it.