Working for a professional body, I am often asked if chartered membership is worth it. Becoming a chartered member of any worthwhile organisation requires dedication, professionalism and experience, as well as taking time and effort.
So why is it important?
Members stand out from the crowd. Chartered membership shows that you have the above skills and a commitment to improving yourself. Those who are chartered are more likely to find new roles and to earn more over their careers. The time and effort you put in will be recognised by others across the industry and beyond.
Your professional body supports you. Many provide a range of CPD and courses relevant to your role, to help you develop and gain new skills. It is also worth looking into what support they provide for difficult times – for example the CIOB has a fund to support members during financial hardship, offers advice on a range of topics including debt, housing and employment, and partners with Anxiety UK to provide support for those with anxiety, stress or anxiety-based depression.
Your professional body gives you a community. Both those at the same stage as you, going through similar situations, and more experienced hands who can mentor you and provide careers advice. It gives you opportunities to network locally, nationally or even globally.
Professional bodies help drive the industry forward. With the help of their members, they identify important topics and causes, working to improve these areas. They pass their findings, knowledge and skills back to their members, developing the industry. This feedback between members and their professional body is so important.
You get out of your professional membership what you put in. There will be lots of opportunities for you to work with your professional body including volunteering to sit on local committees, mentoring new members or students, and sitting on special interest groups or boards to name a few. All these activities add to your CV and skillset and raise your standing in the industry and with your peers.
How do I know which Professional Body is right for me?
There are lots of different professional bodies. Some specialise in a career or job role. Others have a wider reach, such as CIOB which is the professional body for management and leadership across the construction industry. Some professions will require you to be a member of a specific regulatory body. There is also nothing stopping you from being a member of more than one and many find this the best option as they progress in their careers.
If you are a student most professional bodies offer free or reduced-price membership. You can try lots of different professional bodies and find which one suits you.
As a professional a little research may be required to find the best fit. The best way is often to reach out to a few you are interested in – you will learn a lot from their response.