In Malawi, we have numerous professional bodies, much more than two decades ago. We have professional bodies for medical doctors, marketers, human resources professionals, supply chain practitioners, engineers, architects, lawyers, accountants, surveyors, insurance professionals, bankers and many more.
No one has any excuse not to join their professional body. Even if you are in business, there are associations. For example, associations for those who own private schools, for minibus operators, for tailors and so on.
It is important that you join professional bodies relating to your field. I am an engineer and I am active in the engineering professional bodies as well as in the professional bodies for information and communication technology (ICT) because my occupation is in ICT as a speciality in my area of competence.
I have drawn a lot of benefits in being active in the professional bodies. I have also seen many people excel in part because of their being active in their professional bodies.
Below are five of the many benefits you can enjoy by joining a professional body.
- Recognition: When you become a member of your professional body, you become truly recognised as a qualified professional in your field. If you are a marketer and you apply for a job but your curriculum vita (CV) does not indicate that you are a member of the Institute of Markers in Malawi, then the recruiter has some doubts about your professional qualifications. If you cannot be endorsed by your professional body, what would make others believe that you belong to that profession?
- Continuous professional development: Most professional bodies conduct training sessions from time to time and they offer discounted fees to their members. By joining your professional body, you will directly enjoy this benefit. This will greatly enrich your CV, make you current and relevant in competences and skills and you will be ahead of your peers in your profession.
- Leadership development: When you become a member of your professional body, you have the opportunity to volunteer towards helping organise their events and conferences, towards membership development and so on. You can join some of their sub-committees and eventually compete for roles on their main committee or the council. This gives you a unique chance to develop team work and leadership skills which are vital for your professional development and greatly enrich your CV, especially early into your career. You may not be a manager at your office, but your being active at the professional body may give you good exposure to management and leadership which in turn can help you accelerate your promotion into management at work, for example.
- Networking: Being a member of your professional body gives you a great opportunity to network with numerous people in your profession. This is one of the easiest ways to quickly and greatly expand the reach of your networking. We have discussed the benefits of networking numerous times under the Rise and Shine column.
- Opportunities: Professional bodies broadcast many relevant opportunities to their members including opportunities for recruitment, consultancies, professional development and so on. Why not enjoy this benefit as a bonus when you become a member of your professional body? If you are not a member of your professional body, you will miss out on so many amazing opportunities unlike your peers who are members of your professional body.
We have discussed five of the many benefits of joining a professional body. If you are a member already, this is your time to become even more active and to actively pursue the benefits listed above. If you are not a member of your professional body, reach out to your professional body now and get the membership registration forms and become one today. Do not procrastinate, do not wait for tomorrow join today! Good luck as you rise and shine with and through your professional body!