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Professional Organizations: Are They Worth Joining?

By January 14, 2020July 6th, 2020No Comments
J. Kelly Hoey - Build Your Dream Network

Joining a professional organization or participating in an industry association’s events may sound like networking drudgery, but it is actually at the heart of career success. Learn how to stop overlooking these vital resources and discover the many ways being involved in them can help you advance your current career, change jobs, or move into a new field entirely.

That’s all in this episode of the Build Your Dream Network podcast.

On the podcast Kelly talks about how one professional organization in particular (NALP) helped her make a career change (from corporate attorney in to a training / professional development management role). What’s your networking story when it comes to being involved professional groups and organizations.

Key takeaways:

  • Industry networks are essential sources for – yes, industry insights.
  • Professional organizations offer vital assistance while searching for a job.

What to listen for:

  • 00:38    What are professional organizations?
  • 01:59    Why would I need to network with my industry peers?
  • 03:05    How professional organizations assisted Kelly in her career change
  • 06:26    Professional organizations contain a secret weapon during a job hunt–references 
  • 07:06    Networking task of the week: consider your engagement (or lack thereof) in professional organizations


  • “It’s the between session and hallway conversations where you unlock what’s really going on in your industry.” [02:37]
  • “Not having visibility and connections in your industry is a not a smart career move when you’re seeking a new job, or doing or learning the job you’re in.” [06:54]
  • “Time to reassess the cost of standing on the sidelines.” [07:16]

Do you have a success story or lesson with an association or professional orgs to share? Email Kelly to share your networking story (kelly @

Need more, check out Jennifer Johnson Scalzi’s interview in Build Your Dream Network (p. 26) and Kelly’s follow-up conversation with her on the Build Your Dream blog. We particularly love Jennifer’s answer to the question about how to move up from being simply a member of an organization to a leadership role (as those roles can be difficult to attain!). Jennifer shares:

One thing I learned quickly is that nobody wants to work the name tag table at an industry event.  So, I volunteered to arrive early and check people in – it offered me three things: 1) a purpose for attending; 2) an opportunity to put faces with names; and 3) visibility to leadership who otherwise would be manning the table themselves.  It was a win-win. 



Questions? There are tons of resources here on about building your dream network or contact Kelly on Twitter @jkhoey or email Kelly at

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J. Kelly Hoey

J. Kelly Hoey

Kelly Hoey is the author of Build Your Dream Network (January 2017 / Tarcher Perigee). She has been lauded from Forbes (“1 of 5 Women Changing the World of VC/Entrepreneurship”) to Fast Company (“1 of the 25 Smartest Women On Twitter”) to Business Insider (“1 of the 100 Most Influential Tech Women On Twitter”) and Inc. (1 of “10 Most Well-Connected People in New York City's Startup Scene”). Empowering A Billion Women By 2020 included her on their list of the “100 Most Influential Global Leaders Empowering Women Worldwide”. Not bad for a former corporate lawyer. She’s a limited partner in two emerging tech funds (Laconia Capital Group and Lattice Ventures) and can frequently be found on Twitter @jkhoey.