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How to Make the Right Professional Connections

(Part 2 of a 3-Part Mini-Series on Making Professional Connections)

In the first segment of this series, Making Professional Connections, I offered 7 important reasons to join a professional organization. Now that you’re convinced, know how to ensure that you are spending your time in the right places with the right people.


Look for organizations that offer webinars, networking events, seminars, workshops, or conferences to enhance professional development. Also consider state or local chapters of many national, as well as international associations.


Search Online

To get a sense of just how many professional organizations and associations exist, visit careeronestop.org. Their professional association finder tool allows visitors to search by industry, occupation or association name.

  • World of Marketing: American Marketing Association (AMA), National Sports Marketing Network (NSMN), Sales & Marketing Executives International (SMEI))

  • World of Engineering: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Institute of Electronics & Electrical Engineers (IEEE), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

  • World of Healthcare: Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD), Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)

Attend Jobs Networking Groups/Career Ministry Groups

In my hometown alone, I can attend a career networking group just about any night of the week. One of the longest standing and most reputable national career networking groups with is the Crossroads Career Ministry. Use their search tool to find a group that meets near you.


Another tool is The Employment Network Finder: also on Career One Stop.


Work and/or School Peers

You can learn a great deal about effective associations with a little help from your management team and coworkers. Your employer may even sponsor your membership.

  • For recent graduates, turn to the school staff and organizations you were aligned with for help. Many colleges & universities offer Student Chapters for national organizations at a reduced fee, i.e. for Human Resource majors: Click here to browse the available SHRM Student Resources.

  • Alumni Associations frequently offer networking and professional development opportunities as well, within your region or location area.

Non-Profit Organizations

Volunteering in your local community is another wonderful way to make connections while giving your time to a worthy cause. Look for a non-profit focused on the causes nearest to your heart.

  • Idealist – Search by Organization Type, or Location or Issue Areas, www.idealist.org

  • Encore – Connects seasoned volunteers with various communities, networks, or Fellowship Programs to work with youth-serving organizations, www.encore.org

  • The Chronicle of Philanthropywww.philanthropy.com/jobs, browse by Job Type, including Administrative & Executive Positions

Stay tuned for the third article in this series, Getting the Most of our Your Professional Network and connect with me online for more valuable resources for your career journey.

Debra Ruddell, MS, CCC, GCDF, is an accomplished career consultant specializing in helping you find a career path that fits your skills, abilities, knowledge, and goals. Debra helps simplify and streamline your career transition/job search with proven, tangible methods. Connect online at djrcareerconnector.com or email debra@djrcareerconnector.com.

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