Ah, technology. It’s engrained in our DNA, it’s been talked about way too many times, and we get it. We’d all rather be on our smartphones right now anyway.
The rise of social media has dominated our lives, and we definitely use it to our benefit – to connect, to hunt for jobs, to learn and to find guidance. This increasing media usage has led to the belief that professional organizations may be starting to look outdated, even old-school.
In Buzz Marketing Group’s survey “Professional Organizations Study 2015,” respondents left these older organizations for the following reasons:
- 37 percent saw no value in the organization
- 45 percent said it was too expensive to participate
- 35 percent said the group wasn’t made up of peers they’d like to associate with
- 31 percent felt that groups did not have enough technology
- 27 percent said there was a lack of curation
Sixty-seven percent of millennials said they’d join an organization “founded by peers of a similar age” – organizations like YEC and FounderSociety. These groups address the needs and concerns of millennials, and as a result, they have accelerated in growth and sparked a new interest in professional organizations.
We’re caught up in this web of new and social media. According to Nielsen, we think technology use is the most defining feature of our generation. There’s no such thing as too much technology for us anymore.
As reflected in the stats above, we’re often unsure of the benefits of joining these old organizations. We feel like they won’t be tailored to our needs and concerns. If they are, it can be one of the best decisions you make for your future. Want to know why? Here’s five reasons:
- Social Gains
Imagine yourself in a room with people who all have the same interests as you. Wouldn’t it be great to talk and debate about what you love with a bunch of like-minded individuals? You’d walk away with some new insights and possibly even new friends.
Professional organizations have always been about networking, whether they’re outdated or not. Any form of communication within a professional organization – be it through joining LinkedIn, attending a conference or solving problems with your peers – is key.
They say money makes the world go ’round, which is up for dispute – but if there’s one thing we can’t live without, it’s social capital. Establishing meaningful and trusting relationships with leaders and colleagues can help you achieve your goals.
- Broadening Your Knowledge
When you join a professional organization, you further your career by one main action, and that’s learning. You can get access to educational resources provided directly by the organization, including newsletters, research and seminars.
Within these resources, leaders in the industry often share their thoughts on the latest trends, practices and innovations. It’s all there, right under your fingertips. The more you learn about your organization and its place in the world, the more you’ll stay ahead of your competition.
- Job Opportunities
Successful networking within a professional organization can land you in the job you’ve always dreamed about. Your mentors, colleagues or bosses can connect you to people who are on the hunt for your unique skillset.
Most professional organizations provide job listings to their members, so take advantage of this.
- Exclusive Perks
As millennials, we like exclusivity – we want to feel special. There’s no shortage of that feeling in a professional organization, especially due to the perks of joining one.
Many organizations offer things only available to members, such as access to resources, invite-only events, deals and discounts, and health care and travel benefits. They’ll do just about anything to make you feel like a part of the community.
- Giving Back to the Community
It’s one thing to feel a sense of belonging in a community, but it’s another to use your skills and expertise to give back to that community. Organizations often coordinate with local charities and service groups. Some even allow members like you to speak or teach in nonprofit organizations.
We millennials love charity, and the sense of giving one’s wealth, be it financial or personal, to a place where it’s needed more.
As it turns out, maybe we’re not so shy when it comes to joining professional organizations. What matters more, however, is whether they’re tailored to what we know and are able to work with.
Technology has held a special place for all of our lives. We hold our peers close, whether near or far, and we use these two things to enhance our careers. Millennial should keep these things in mind when considering career expectations.
Once we’re certain these can be met, we will certainly become active and engaged members of professional networking groups.