Joining a Membership Association is a Great Way to Network
Social media is a great tool to build your network, but it isn’t the only tool you should have in your arsenal. Joining a professional membership connects you to a community of like-minded professionals and employers in your field.
If you are already a member of IIBA than you know the value of connecting with experienced peers who can provide great advice and share insights on their experiences in similar work situations that you can apply in your own work – even if it is in a different industry. You know the value of face-to-face networking along with social media connections for offline and online support. IIBA’s Chapter network is incredibly strong and there you will find passionate colleagues who love talking about business analysis. Just ask Jared Goral, Twitter @thepassionateba who was an active member of IIBA Calgary Chapter and enjoyed his experience so much he decided to join IIBA global and now he gets to work with all of IIBA’s Chapters and Branches around the globe in his role as Director, Chapters & Membership Engagement.
In today’s fast paced business world, it is important to stay on top of trends and best practices and to continuously learn and build your skill sets. Professional associations like IIBA bring you together with your peers at the Chapter and global level to share experiences, knowledge and connections. Membership also opens the door to explore volunteering opportunities that you can share on your resume along with new references from the experience you’ve gained which can help you find your next role.
Joining a professional membership could be the best thing you could do for your career! Michelle Green, CBAP, Senior Business Analyst with JM Family Enterprises joined her area IIBA Chapter because her colleagues encouraged her to join and soon, she found herself sitting on her local Chapter Board of Directors. Reflecting on that decision she is grateful for that push because it helped her get where she is today. “It has been a tremendous leadership and business management experience,” said Michelle.
Connecting with like-minded professionals and taking part in member webinars and events help validate what you’ve learned online and gives you a chance to hear from others in the same field. If you are still trying to land your first job, work for a small company or work independently your membership helps you feel like part of a team – or a bigger team that can support your continuous learning…something you can’t find on social media alone. IIBA Members get access to a variety of benefits including leadership tools to help you develop your skills daily practice and references like the BABOK® Scenario tools and templates, blogs, whitepapers and articles.
Volunteering experiences can help you learn about yourself, like defining your work and leadership styles and building on your strengths and improving your weaknesses to become a better professional. Volunteering experiences can help you gain insights to help you work better with your peers by understanding your work differences and give you a chance to see if what you think you like doing is really what you want to focus on in your career. Sometimes you can surprise yourself and discover that you want to focus on a different specialty than you originally thought.
LinkedIn is a powerful social networking tool and a great way to reach out to senior professionals for advice and stay connected with former colleagues and bosses. It helps you build your reputation online. Joining IIBA’s professional LinkedIn group is a great way to connect with other business analysis professionals. IIBA also offers closed LinkedIn groups you can join once you earn your IIBA Certification. These provide a great forum to speak with people who have similar experience. Another plus is our certifications now include digital badges which you can add to your LinkedIn profile to let your colleagues and potential employers know about your skill level. It takes a lot of time to network and connecting with colleagues through your membership network can make this process a little easier to manage.
Connecting with fellow BAs is important because sometimes you just need to speak with someone else who understands and knows what you do and can provide invaluable support in your career journey. That’s where you need a more focused audience to tap into – whether in person or online. This is also why in-person conferences are still important parts of your ongoing development. Meeting and discussing trends, insights, experiences, tools …. whatever it is, you can get more out of the conversation when it is face-to-face. If your budget doesn’t afford you to attend some of the larger conferences another great way to get involved is by joining your local IIBA Chapter and attending the local professional development days.
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