Ask the Experts

Let’s Go Clubbing

I was involved with clubs in high school, for fun and socializing. I am thinking ahead about my resume and job hunting. Which are the best groups to join that will help me get a job?

Your question shows that you clearly understand the value of networking for your future. Research studies showed that over 70% of professionals accept a new position with a company where the individual already has a contact. Beyond networking, the experience alone gained from participating in a club, organization or association is educational and valuable.

The old adage ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is more relevant today than ever before. A large proportion of industries seek to hire from within before advertising vacancies to the public. Networking has now become an essential part of job hunting, so knowing someone with connections can put you ahead of the competition.

Joining a professional association is a great way to start your networking with like-minded people and professionals in the industry. There are a number of advantages of joining up while still at college, such as meeting other students interested in the same field and getting a feel for the realities of a career in that area. You may get the opportunity to attend conferences, follow industry trends, and read journals to broaden your knowledge.

Most professional associations publish periodicals with updates on latest developments in the field, and there will also be regional events and seminars or webinars to attend. These provide a good opportunity to network and swap web addresses and business cards. Most of the young people joining us have started their careers in a professional association, explains Ryan McCann, real estate agent. Our field in particular relies on long-standing, personal contacts.

Business clubs, such as the Business Professionals of America, are similar providing you with real world business experience that you cannot get in the classroom. They are a breeding ground for innovation and freedom of expression. A collective of like-minded students focused on developments in the same industry can achieve a lot more than one individual. Business clubs for investors always attract the college crowd. Now they are following the stock market, where just a few years ago it was all about understanding alternative investments and gold IRA’s. Our membership from the banking community offers invaluable introductions for job seekers. Many business clubs have a charity component which allows you to demonstrate your entrepreneurial skills, team leadership, and more importantly give something back. Internships and scholarships may also be available to business club members.

An alumni association is another option, since you are practically an alum at your own college. Successful students are the university’s best asset, so they want you to succeed. Career preparation services, resume workshops, job postings, and online resources are all available to members.

Being part of a club or group can teach you necessary skills that you can take to the workplace. Leadership can be developed by managing a fundraiser or other volunteer projects. Team work is part of extracurricular activities that are often arranged by business clubs and professional groups. Marketing is learned by creating newsletters or promoting a club event, and social media management can hone your online and community building skills.
Networking of course is virtually guaranteed as a member of a club or society, and hopefully your skills will be noted by others who may have further contacts for you.

Don’t join an easy crowd. You won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high… Jim Rohn.

Jacob Maslow is the founder and editor of Legal Scoops.