The Directory of National Trade and Professional Associations is available in CES.You name it and there’s a professional association for it.

National Association of Biology Teachers
Public Relations Society of America
American Historical Association
American Academy of Forensic Sciences
American Psychological Association
Society for American Archaeology
National Association of Environmental Professionals

When I’m working with students, whether for career exploration or a job or internship search, the conversation often turns to professional associations as an important resource.  Why? Well…

  • Professional associations often have a “careers” or “jobs” section on their website that offers links to jobs related to that field
  • They often provide a member directory where you can find contacts for informational interviewing
  • Most associations publish an industry-related journal, newsletter, or blog which could help you learn about important issues impacting their work (key for interview preparation)
  • Students can usually join professional associations at a much-reduced student rate and have all the benefits of full membership (sometimes access to member lists, job postings, etc. are limited to members only)
  • Many associations have regional chapters (you could search to see if there’s a chapter in the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia region, then see if you can attend a meeting to get connected with a whole network of people working in a field of interest to you)

I have a friend who was looking for a job in human resources. She found out that there was a local chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and paid the non-member rate to attend the meeting. At that meeting she got to learn about issues related to HR from the guest speaker. But more importantly, she sat at a table with 6-8 human resources professionals. She spoke with them about their work, what they enjoyed about their job, etc. When it came time for announcements, one of the people at her table stood up and said, “If any of you have any vacancies you’re trying to fill, we have a young professional at our table who is looking for an entry-level position.”

Now, I can’t promise you that you’ll have that kind of experience associated with professional associations… but I can tell you that the possibilities and benefits are endless.

You can find professional associations in Career Cruising (available through the CES career resources online) or by conducting an web search. Or, visit CES in Howarth 101 to browse the 950-page Directory of National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States.

© 2011 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound