We are currently in the age of digital technology, an age where we’re presented with many opportunities to connect to events, resources and people virtually. One way in which a lot of people do this is to join online membership clubs. Virtual career development clubs are a particularly popular type of membership scheme.
They allow people to own their career development whilst interacting with a wide, active community of professionals, each with their own experiences and capabilities to bring to the party.
Here are 5 specific reasons why more and more career conscious individuals are making the choice to join a career development club:
- The need for control. Job stability for many people is a rarity these days. If we expect and allow an organization to be in control of our career and to make our decisions for us, then we’re not being smart. Instead, have your radar on so you can spot opportunities to progress in your career. You must also at any time be ready and willing to bail from where you are, whether you’re pushed or whether you decide to jump. A career development club is a great way to get the support you need, even if you’re not sure yet how to take control of your career. The best clubs will allow you to customize that support to suit your circumstances and preferences.
- More career changes, more often. The number of moves that you make in your career nowadays is significantly more than it would have been for your parents and grandparents. It has gotten to the point where every one of us will almost inevitably change careers at some point. The right membership scheme will feature lots of tools to help us do this. As you move through your working life, each new step of your journey requires you to have a solid support system in place.
- The importance of the product. As a professional, you are your own product. Just as people buy products, organizations ‘buy’ people. This is what entering into a contract to pay someone for their work effectively is. To successfully sell yourself to employers by convincing them that you’ll bring a value to their organization that they need, you need to package and pitch yourself effectively. You can use a career club and its various tools and resources to hone your skills in this area.
- Networking opportunities. Career development clubs can not only give you ideas for networking more effectively but can also be opportunities in themselves for networking. The area of networking drives so much interest in career clubs because networking helps people to stay relevant. It pays to build the networking habit as you go through each period of your working life. Networking is not something to be done occasionally, over a glass of wine, but is something that requires thought, strategy and regular activity.
- Continuous learning. Having access to a career community and its resources lets you build great habits around continuous learning. More and more people are recognizing that your rate of personal and professional growth is a lot to do with your rate of learning, regardless of what stage of life you’re in. How are you learning at the moment? Where could your learning be coming from if you put more effort into it? What you do around what you read, whom you connect with, what you attempt and how you network is a good indicator of how much input you are contributing. You and you alone are responsible for this area of your life.
Although a lot of people are signing up for online career communities right now, too many of them are not getting the most out of these clubs. You must engage with a career development club in order for it to be of any use to you. When you actively use such a resource to your benefit, it can be incredibly refreshing and reinvigorating. To get the most out of a club with things like community forums, live clinics, webinars, informative articles, interactive worksheets and many other useful tools to offer, we must recognize that career development is about reciprocity. It is not only about what you get but also about what you give.
About the author
Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition and the Career Ignition Club. Position Ignition is one of the UK’s leading career development and career planning companies. The Career Ignition Club offers a range of career support tools, advice and e-learning materials for its members. Follow Simon North and his team on twitter @PosIgnition and get more advice from him on their Career Advice Blog.