Want to network with professionals and learn valuable information that may help you land a great job in your chosen career area? Check out professional associations!
Professional associations are organizations that provide networking and professional development opportunities to people within specific professions. Many offer student memberships at discounted rates, which help students gain insight and experience in their chosen field.
Develop relationships with professionals in your career area of interest. Most associations have regular meetings, events, and conferences where you can meet professionals that would otherwise be difficult to speak with and get to know. Look for opportunities to arrange information interviews with those you meet. Some associations even offer mentorship programs with established professionals.
Get valuable industry information
Potential employers are impressed with those who have done their research and keep informed. Associations offer many opportunities for students and recent graduates to learn more about their chosen career area and issues affecting the industry, through a variety of means including conferences, newsletters, mailing lists, etc.
Many of the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies courses are recognized by professional associations and can be applied towards professional credentials valued in the marketplace. See the list of the school’s recognized courses by professional association and take advantage of their $550-$750 Alumni Benefit discount.
Participate in an academic conference
Academic conferences can be a great opportunity to learn about research being conducted across Canada and build connections with professors and peers in your field. Consider submitting and presenting a student paper yourself in your final year!
Learn about work opportunities
Many associations have job boards for members listing internships and jobs that are not easily accessible elsewhere. Being active in an association as a student will also help demonstrate your enthusiasm and dedication to your field of interest, which may get the attention of potential employers.
A list of professional associations in Canada and Ontario can be found here. You may also research associations by profession.