The value of joining a professional association

As a career coach, one of the things I am frequently asked is if joining a professional association worth the cost. To which I reply a resounding “yes!” There are a number of benefits for just about any association:

Showing professionalism on your resume, LinkedIn and other marketing materials

Of course, listing professional associations on your resume is always a solid idea. However, you may not fully realize why.

When you list an association, this reflects not just upon you and your willingness to learn and grow professionally, but also upon your industry as a whole. For example, the Domestic Estate Manager’s Association (DEMA) helps potential employers understand that the private service industry as a whole is dedicated to self-improvement and helping the industry move forward with the modern age of service.

Ongoing professional development and certification

From monthly meetings to annual conferences, most associations offer professional development or trainings that relate to their industry. In industries like private service, this is a vital resource to stay on top of new tactics and skills. Some even offer full certification options, such as the American Personal Chef Association (APCA).

Sometimes the employers need to understand that what they thought was a simple job actually has a lot of behind-the-scenes work and dedication on the part of the employee. For example, the International Nanny Association (INA) has been in existence for over 30 years. During that time, they have helped their members stay on top of the trends of childcare, safety, and interpersonal communication.

In these cases, it is helpful to list your top workshops through the association on your resume so that the future employer can see the value of your attendance at the training sessions and conferences. Plus, your future employer may sponsor the cost of your next conference to keep the learning going.

Establishment of professional standards

Associations are relevant for more than just the job seekers. Companies can benefit from these associations as well. For example, the Association of Premiere Nanny Agencies (APNA) helps agencies with resources, conferences, and networking opportunities.

Even more importantly, companies seeking admittance to organizations like these often have to be formally accepted by the association, as is the case for APNA and DEMA. In that case, being able to list the association on their website becomes a valuable marketing tool, letting their clients know that they have met an elevated level of standards.

Attraction of new clients

For individuals who work with a number of clients, the association can drive business to them. For example, the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA) has tools on their website for people looking for a personal chef, either on a short-term or long-term basis.

Networking in an isolated industry

In many ways, private service can be a lonely job. By and large, Estate Managers, Household Managers, Personal Assistants, Chefs and Nannies working within the home don’t have the benefit of interacting with their peers on a daily basis. By joining an association, they find ways to connect with others in their field.

In September 2015, the DEMA held their fourth annual convention in Orlando, Florida, drawing 200 private service professionals, vendors, and agencies from across the country and abroad. For three days, they enjoyed the rare pleasure of networking face-to-face with people they may have only known through online contact or phone conversation for months or even years. While all of the workshops were valuable, it is that personal, one-on-one time that can’t be replaced.

About Donna Shannon

Donna Shannon, President of The Personal Touch Career Services, is one of the few career coaches who understands the unique nature of the private service industry. Drawing from both her corporate recruitment and luxury market placement experience, she has been helping job seekers with professional writing services, job search consultations and classes since 2004. Her book “How to Get a Job Without Going Crazy” (2nd Edition, 2012) is available on Amazon.com. Donna is based in Denver, Colorado, and works with job seekers across the country and abroad.

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