Need help with furthering your career goal? Look at exploring into your career interest by researching professional associations would be a good start. There are associations for nearly every profession or area of interest. Most associations provide an enormous amount of access to free information and resources on their website to enable you to broaden your knowledge and take charge of your career. Many disseminate key information and knowledge through publications and journals, online and at events. An opportunity to be up to date with regional and global activities in the industry of your interest, related to your studies.

Professional associations provide advice to help you can find out more about what working in that profession is like and often have a career development section on their website. They also provide advice on the process for qualifying, training and certification. e.g. Architects with NZ Institute of Architects, (NZIA), Engineers with Institute of Professional Engineers NZ (IPENZ).

The Marketing Association provides support: “Whether you are a first year student, an undergraduate or postgraduate student, you will find useful and relevant information and resources here. Aligning yourself to a professional body like the Marketing Association while you are still studying helps you develop your personal brand and prepare for a seamless transition into a career” – https://www.marketing.org.nz/Network/Student_Members

Some of the professional bodies, including the Marketing Association, offer free student membership and some at a reduced rate. Being a student member of a professional body not only looks good on your CV, it also shows early commitment in the career area of your choice. By offering to do some voluntary work for them, would enable you to gain useful connections and you can be rewarded with a valuable work reference e.g. Assistance on the registration desk at the association’s AGM or conference; student ambassador roles (these vacancies are often advertised on CareerHub) e.g. Student Ambassadors for Human Resources Institute of NZ (HRINZ), Chartered Accountant Professional bodies such as CPA Australia and ACCA.

At our recent Science Expo, industry representatives from the Environment Institute of Australia & NZ (EIANZ), along with NZ Biotech, came along to engage with students. In addition to sharing valuable resources, some organisations offer tips and strategies for job hunting including guidelines for an effective resume and interview techniques e.g. http://www.nzica.com/Resources-and-benefits/Career-support-and-advice/Career-resources.aspx

Many also fund scholarships and run competitions for students and members. Professional bodies work to represent all their members’ interests in their relationship with the media and the government (advocacy) and promoting ethical practice (Code of Ethics developed or approved by the Association).

Finally, as the professional associations have student-focused services, getting involved will enable you to build your connections with experts to enhance your future career prospects. Enjoy finding out from common interest groups, make friends and build on your professional network. Be in a good position to secure a job offer!