THE OFFLINE SOCIAL NETWORK – Should You Join a Local Professionals Group?August 8, 2018
Yes. That was a bit quick and presumptuous, but purposefully so. You’re busy. Too busy, maybe, to join professional groups, locally. You’re busy planning for your future, working to improve your present, and living as large as possible. Great.
Why then did we say “yes?” Because those are the exact goals a local professionals group can help you accomplish. Perhaps even with a bit of style. We’ll break it down for you.
Where are you in life? Not physically, but professionally, mentally, and even emotionally? You can learn a lot from those who’ve walked in your shoes already and you can be motivated by those who are going through life with you at the same speed. Like minded professionals working together and creating a community, that’s where these groups excel and are among the biggest benefits.
Breaking past the limitations of the internet, past the trends of “follows” and “connections,” you have the stated purpose of getting to know members of the group as actual people, not just faces or icons. It’s right there in the description — NETWORK, which is both a noun and a verb here. Go to a meeting and start a conversation. That will quickly turn into a connection, a recommendation, and eventually an opportunity. Turns out, 60 to 80 % of jobs are found through personal connections. That’s called having big “social capital,” which is a real term used to describe people in the know with people who know.
And who knows, you might even find a new set of friends. A recent study found that 58% of local professionals polled already belong to a group. Among those who don’t belong to one, 77% are currently looking to join.
Local professional groups are the perfect playground for exercising your leadership skills and strengthening talents you hope to flaunt in the workplace someday. For instance, working with new connections on a charity project will not only build you up but showcase your abilities to other people who will be in similar industries and can spread the good word about you, for you. It could lead to freelance or even a new job.
On top of the benefits highlighted above, many local professional groups have distinguished membership incentives such as professional coaching, exclusive deals specific to your business, travel discounts, and even healthcare.
Just remember, the more you put into the community, the more you get out.
Every community is different, but most major cities should have a division of the Young Professionals Organization or a Chamber of Commerce you can look into. Another option is to explore specific interest groups. Do you love the industry you work in, like to work on community events, help people less fortunate, play with animals? Regardless of what you enjoy spending your time on, take the time to search online to see what’s out there.
Are you too busy to join a local professionals group? Yes.
Should you still join a local professionals group? Yes.
Whereas right now you have so little time you don’t know how you’re going to make it; down the road you’ll have more friends, connections, and opportunities than you’ll know what to do with. The strength you’ll get in numbers will carry you so much further than the weight you could carry on your own.