As the age of digital technology, the 21st century presents us with many opportunities to virtually connect to events, resources and people. One way to take advantage of this is to join online membership clubs. One type of virtual club in particular that’s gaining a lot popularity is the career development club. Such clubs allow individuals to own their career development whilst interacting with a diverse, active community of professional people, each with their own different experiences and capabilities. Here are just some of the specific ways in which an online career club can help you in your professional life.
1. Gives you Control.
Job stability is a lot rarer these days than it has been for previous generations. Allowing an organization to be in control of your career and to make your decisions for you is not a good idea. It’s important to have your radar on in order to can spot opportunities to further your career and to at any time be ready and willing to bail. For those who are not sure how to take control of their career, a career development club is a great way to get the necessary support. With the right club, you can customize that support to suit your particular set of circumstances and preferences.
2. Makes changing careers easier.
Each one of us will almost inevitably change careers at some point. Indeed, an individual in the 21st century may change careers several times. A good membership scheme will feature lots of tools to help make the process easier. As you progress through your working life, each new step requires you to have a solid support system in place.
3. Informs your presentation of yourself.
Using a career club to hone yourself and your skills can improve your professional presentation. It’s important to present yourself well because, as a professional, you are your own product. Whilst people buy products, organizations ‘buy’ people, by entering into a contractual agreement to pay them for their work. To sell yourself to employers or, in other words, to convince them that you’re something their organization needs, you need access to the kind of tools and resources that’ll help you to package and pitch yourself effectively.
4. Gives you networking ideas.
Career development clubs can not only be opportunities in themselves for networking but can also be sources of inspiration for networking creatively. Why is networking so important anyway? It helps you in staying relevant. For instance, if you stay in regular touch with your close connections, they will always know what you’re doing and what you need.
5. Feeds your continuous learning.
Having access to a career community’s resources allows you to adopt great continuous learning habits. Regardless of what stage of life you’re in, your rate of personal and professional growth is a lot to do with your rate of learning. Ask yourself where your learning comes from at the moment and where it could come from if you put more effort into it. You’re the only person responsible for this. Pay attention to what you read, whom you connect with, what you attempt and how you network, as this is all very important.
6. Provides you with community.
We could just sign up for an online community and watch the world go by without engaging, but when we decide to actively use such a resource to our advantage, it can be an incredibly refreshing and reinvigorating experience. A career development club should have a community forum where a question gets a quick response. Ideally, there’ll also be live clinics where your specific issues can be addressed. Other useful tools will include webinars, informative articles and interactive worksheets. Get the most out of a club with all this to offer, by recognizing that career development is about reciprocity. What you will get will depend on what you give.
About the author
Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition, one of the UK’s leading career consultancy companies which created the Career Ignition Club, a leading-edge online careers support and learning platform. Follow him @PosIgnition