Networking at National Associations
National associations focus on bringing people with similar functional or industry experience together periodically to help them keep stay abreast of technical or industry changes and to provide a forum for people involved in those areas to learn new techniques and to network with others for business opportunities. They are also excellent opportunities when you need to focus on national employment networking.
These national associations typically have websites that describe their mission and list regional chapters where people can connect with others in their area. Most offer a jobs listing page and/or a place for members to post their profile if they are looking for a job.
These are excellent venues to attend and connect with others for doing research on companies, positions, demand for a particular expertise, industry trends, and almost any information relating to the function or industry. I don’t recommend attending these events with the sole purpose of looking for a job but rather to connect with others who can help you connect with a company or person you are targeting.
There are hundreds of associations. To find those in your area of expertise, do a Google search using your functional area or industry experience: As an alternative, contact the banquet office of local hotels in your area and ask what events they host on a regular monthly recurring basis. Here’s a list of just some of the more well-known ones and their URL to get you started:
A centralized association that offers seminars, conferences, training, and education covering a wide range of business issues to members and non-members in most major cities. Sells research reports. There are a few regional networking chapters.
A membership-driven association that provides a range of services (including resume and job postings) to those involved in the practice, study, or teaching of marketing. The AMA has many regional chapters. AMA manages a resume and job-posting database.
Financial Executives International (FEI) – www.financialexecutives.org
A membership-driven association that provides peer networking opportunities for CFOs, Controllers, Treasurers, Tax Executives, other finance executives, and accounting professors. The FEI has many regional chapters, manages job and resume posting databases, and has links to additional career resources.
Project Management Institute (PMI) – www.pmi.org
A membership association for practitioners and organizations that sets standards for good practices, offers globally recognized credentials that certify project management expertise, and provides a resources for professional development, networking and community.
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) – www.prsa.org
A membership-driven association whose primary objective is to advance the standards of the public relations profession and to provide members with professional development and certification. PRSA manages a resume and job posting database.
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – www.shrm.org
A membership-driven association that provides a very strong support service to HR professionals in industry and academia. The SHRM has over 400 regional chapters, many focusing on special interest groups. The SHRM conducts seminars, offers professional certifications to its members, and manages a job-posting database.
The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE) – www.tie.org
The IndUS Entrepreneurs is a non-profit global membership association consisting of a network of entrepreneurs and professionals established to foster entrepreneurship and nurture entrepreneurs. While membership consists mostly of people of ethnic origin from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, TiE is an inclusive organization. There are several chapters across North America that hold monthly or other periodic meetings. Contact a chapter in your area by visiting their website.
In addition to the national associations, there are many regional associations that cater more to the local economy. These may be venture capital related or focused more on functional areas or on local economic issues. Despite their regional focus, many of these associations are excellent places to connect with others who have similar ideas and philosophies. Getting involved in these associations are a good way to get yourself known in your community quickly.