Professional associations are a collaboration of individuals from the same occupation. They are formed to maintain and update standards within the profession, offer information and resources to the members and provide a space for professionals to meet and share knowledge. In some professions, they are also the regulatory body and manage entry into the profession.

If you are looking to further your career, joining a professional association is a great start. There are associations for nearly every profession.

How to use Professional Associations to your Advantage

Joining a professional association broadens your sector knowledge, updates your skills and offers insight into job opportunities. Here are four ways to use a professional association to your advantage.

1. Networking. Building professional relationships is important for job searches as well as career advancement opportunities. Use your professional association to:

  • Create and foster business relationships.
  • Grow your network both in real life and virtually through online groups or discussion boards.
  • Meet and interact with your peers at industry events.

2. Advice and Idea Sharing. Having a forum to share ideas, industry updates, advancements and employment opportunities can help further your career. Use your professional association to:

  • Gain valuable career and job search advice from members.
  • Share personal career experience and listen to the experience of others to help lead you in the right direction.
  • Learn about current trends and advancements in your industry.

3. Certification and Training. Some professions require a Canadian designation to practice in the industry and professional associations are often the distributing body for the designations. Use your professional association to:

  • Get a better understanding of what is required to work in your sector in Canada.
  • Access the resources you may need to move forward in the process.
  • Broaden your skills with additional training.
  • Find continuing education credits or qualified courses for the licensing process.

4. Jobs. Joining a professional association can help you find a job that fits your background and experience. Use your professional association to:

  • Find job postings.
  • Access resources for resume and cover letter writing.
  • Get connected with professionals in your field who may be able to open doors to hidden, or less accessible, jobs.

Examples of Professional Associations in Canada