Should you join a professional association?

At the beginning of first semester’s Intro to PR class, members of International Association for Business Communicators (IABC) and Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) promoted their associations to prospective members.
It wasn’t until the beginning of second year when I decided to join both. Why? Well, why not? Each association has their own benefits. These are my 5 reasons on why you should sign up.

1) Network
In today’s society, it’s all about who you know. The people you come into contact with have different backgrounds and work in different industries. Say you’re a student looking for an internship, who will you turn to? Those people you made connections with at networking events.

I went to my first IABC networking event this past November at the Spoke Club. Three speakers talked about business etiquette and networking, branding, and interviews. It was a little intimidating at first since I was alone, but after learning the tips, all it takes is, “may I join you?”

2) Build your portfolio/resume
When future employers look at your resume/portfolio, they will notice whether or not you are a member of a professional association. Referring back to the information shared at the IABC event, some employers will compile all of the resumes that state an association and view those over the ones without an association.

Mentoring is a relationship between an experienced advisor and a less experienced learner to provide advice and encouragement to help achieve career advancement and personal growth.

IABC/Toronto offers a mentorship program for mentees with 1 to 5 years of work experience who are seeking direction, with mentors having 8 or more years of experience. They meet first as a group, then on one-on-one as per the arrangement.

CPRS also offers a mentorship program through application.

4) Volunteer opportunities
Just because you have a professional association on your resume, doesn’t mean everything; use it to your advantage. It’s a great way to build your skill set in various roles and activities and have the chance to build your personal network with other communications professionals.

IABC/Toronto Volunteering offers a variety of positions with different time commitments. Some are throughout the year or on a project-by-project basis. A volunteer application is required and applicants are matched based on vacant positions.

As a student, CPRS has the Student Steering Committee, which enhances the student experience. Members develop their event and communication planning skills while meeting other students from across the GTA.

5) Jobs
One of the privileges of being a member of a professional association is access to their job portal. These postings are monitored and consistently updated.
IABC has CareerLine, a private database for only IABC members who have a username and password. This goes to show the incentive for being a member of an association is the quick access to these opportunities.


What do you think? Write down a list of the reasons why you shouldn’t join a professional association and get back to me. In my opinion, joining both associations was one of the best decisions I could have made for my brand and myself. I want to go far as a PR professional and I believe that being a member will take me there. Make a smart decision and sign up today.


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