As a new grad entering the workforce, you’re working on your contacts list, enlisting professional contacts, former supervisors, professors, and mentors to help you through personal e-mail and your LinkedIn account. If you want to expand your network with valuable professional contacts who can lead to further learning and career opportunities, joining a national organization is a great start. Membership in nationally recognized associations is a great addition to your resume and can burnish your experience through discussion boards, conferences, seminars, and in-person networking meetings. The following five national organizations have outstanding reputations and an active membership that can help you accomplish your career goals.
1. U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a business advocacy group that counts among its members many of the leading corporations in the U.S. as well as state and local chambers of commerce. Most members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are business owners, including small businesses, so if you are an entrepreneur membership is a must. Otherwise, by joining your local chamber of commerce as an individual, you can participate in the networking and development connections offered by this organization.
2. Toastmasters International
Started in 1924, Toastmasters International has kept its founding purpose of assisting members in mastering the twin arts of public speaking and leadership. The group consists of 270,000 members from 116 countries, each of whom participate through their own local clubs. With relatively inexpensive dues, just $36 every six months, Toastmasters International is a great development tool for future leaders and those nervous about public speaking or giving presentations. The low pressure workshops and speaking opportunities offered by local chapters and larger state and regional gatherings are invaluable stepping stones towards becoming an excellent public speaker.
3. Social Media Club
The Social Media Club is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting the use of standardized technology while increasing digital media literacy. Given that nearly all companies are now using social media in at least one way to promote their business, the Social Media Club is an appropriate membership for professionals in any discipline. Members join through local chapters, a list of which can be found on the Social Media Club website.
4. National Communication Association
The National Communication Association goes further than most organizations devoted to communication, embracing all forms and disciplines of communication both traditional and technology driven, while discussing and studying the implications of communication in its many forms. Though a large number of the National Communication Association’s members focus on education, membership is open to all professionals with an interest in communication, and includes networking opportunities, conventions, recognition through awards, and a subscription to the association journal.
5. Association for Corporate Growth
The Association for Corporate Growth is an extremely active organization focused on the needs of corporations in the U.S. Among its many activities, the Association for Corporate Growth follows and advocates for or against legislation pending in the U.S. that would impact corporations, operates as a think tank for economic growth through corporate measures, and compiles surveys and research studies on the corporate environment. Members are corporations, medium sized businesses, and individual professionals, who gain access to industry insights, chapter events, the annual national conference, and many openings for career and personal growth.
Laura McPherson is a staff writer for Masters in Accounting, a growing career resource for learning how to get started in an accounting career.