– By Susan Heitsch, VP, Communications, JPMorgan Chase (and a 30+ year IABC member)
One day, you’re 22 and a coworker suggests that joining a professional organization might be a good idea for getting ahead. You blink, and the next thing you know, you’re looking at your career in the rear view window.
I was stunned recently to learn that I’ve been a member of IABC for 30 years. Here are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned during that time:
- When you’re new to communications, IABC is a really nice line to add to your résumé. It says that you’re serious about communications as a career.
- If you’re just out of school and you need experience, you can get it through IABC. All you need to do is raise your hand. You can work on the newsletter, or plan events, or practice social media, or build content for the website. (BTW, hiring managers care more that you have real work experience than whether you were paid for it or not.)
- The communications you create for IABC look great in a portfolio.
- IABC opens doors. When you need information or help related to communications, one of the quickest routes is to find an IABC member at another company. Pick up the million-pound telephone, introduce yourself and be sure to mention that you are a member of IABC. Then sit back and experience the miracle of professional courtesy.
- With more than 100 chapters in North America, Africa, Asia Pacific, and Europe, IABC is a ready-made global network.
- Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs an editor. So if you’re a one-person communication department, you can always reach out to a trusted colleague in IABC to review something for you with a fresh set of eyes.
- When the going gets tough (and it will sooner or later), your IABC network will be more valuable than ever.
- Eventually, if you stay in communications long enough, you will want to give back to the profession. IABC is the perfect place to do that in a way you find most meaningful – mentoring, volunteering, leading, recruiting, speaking, judging and/or contributing to the Research Foundation.
- In the end, you’ll get as much out of your IABC membership as you put in. It’s kind of like college that way.
- IABC members make great friends. The real kind…not the Facebook kind.
I’ll be looking for you at the next IABC Chicago luncheon!