16 September 2007

Joining a Professional Association: Is it Beneficial?

As I was doing research for other articles on this blog I came across the International Association of Administrative Professionals' website ("IAAP") and was reminded of the advantages of being part of a professional organization.
This article is not intended to be an endorsement of any one particular organization over another.

I was previously a member of IAAP when I was at another firm. I went to their dinner meetings and conferences and felt it was a good investment. At my previous employer they paid for the membership and, if work schedules permitted, would allow you to take time during office hours to go to meetings and luncheons in the area. It would be worthwhile to check with your HR Manager to see if this benefit is offered at your office.

The advantages I found in being part of a professional organization are:

  • It is a great place for networking with other admin assistants. I think it helps to have people in the same profession you can interact with and get ideas and helpful insights from.
  • I found that by belonging to an association you have access to job postings in the area.
  • The dinner meetings and conferences had very useful topics and information that I could use in my daily work.
  • Most associations include a subscription to their monthly magazine which have great articles on subjects that matter to us.
  • I found they encouraged members to participate and advance their skills in areas like public speaking, chairing a meeting, taking minutes, etc. A woman I worked with was a shy person who would never speak in public but through the encouragement of her peers she ended up chairing a conference and doing a wonderful job. It helped to have that support system.
  • I found the resource section on the website to be very good and up to date. I recently ordered two books from the IAAP website: Work it Out,1 which is a book on working with your colleagues and resolving conflict relationships; and a second book, Email Management,2 which I believe is very timely as the constant influx of emails can be a daunting task to manage and organize.
    If you are interested in ordering these or other books, please go to the IAAP website under Education & Training: Educational Products/Bookstore.3
  • If you are a member, put it on your resume! I think it would show any employer that you take your career seriously and that you are a professional.

I'm sure there are many other good reasons for joining a professional organization, but these are my thoughts on it.

Here is a website for another Administrative Assistant association that I found:
Association of Administrative Assistants: whose motto is Professionalism through Education4

1 Krebs Hirsh, Sandra and Kise, Jane A.G., Work It Out: Using Personality Type to Improve Team Performance
2 Flynn, Nancy, E-Mail Management: 50 Tips for Keeping Your Inbox Under Control

3 International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), http://www.iaap-hq.org/, (accessed September 16, 2007)
4 Association of Admnistrative Assistants,
http://www.aaa.ca/index.htm, (accessed September 16, 2007)

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