Do You Associate?

Looking for a job in finance? Associations might help.
Lisa YoonSeptember 9, 2002

Of all the familiar advice on job-hunting, one phrase is axiomatic: It’s not what you know, but who you know.

Beyond talking to colleagues, friends, and family about a job search, perhaps the most effective way to network is through associations. Associations can give a job seeker a sense of the latest industry trends, as well as leads for unadvertised job openings.

Associations come in two flavors: professional (for individuals), and trade organizations (industry clubs whose members are corporations). According to the latest edition of Executive Career Strategies, the newsletter of online job-search site, Gale Research’s Encyclopedia of Associations, is a good source for finding the right association for a particular industry. There are over 12,000 professional associations (including national, state, and local affiliates), including the Association for Financial Professionals and Business & Professional Women/USA.

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While you can’t join a trade association as an individual, a job hunter can still check out the Web sites of associations for the latest industry scoops and membership lists. Those lists often provide a who’s-who of companies in the field. Examples include the Information Technology Association of America, Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA), and the American Gas Association.

To find the right association for a specific industry specialty, job hunters should keep several guidelines in mind, according to Executive Career Strategies. When between jobs, it pays to find out if an association offers special rates for unemployed members. Many professional associations help out job-searching members with special membership rates — or even temporary waivers of membership fees.

Also, career specialists advise looking for job postings on Web sites of both professional and trade associations. Many associations also offer career-advancement services such as resume writing, career coaching, and negotiation tips.

Most importantly, says ECS, job hunters should milk a professional association for the one thing it can offer better than other resources: people power. Associations often provide membership directories. ECS advises finance employees to attend association meetings to network with other finance professionals and industry members. Interestingly, many association meetings are open to non-members.

Further resources:

  • Encyclopedia of Associations, published by Gale Research, is available in most large public libraries.
  • American Society of Association Executives, the society for professionals working in association management, offers an online directory of its member organizations.

CFOs on the Move

>> AT Plastics hired James G. Gingerich as EVP and CFO. Most recently, was EVP and CFO of InterTan Inc…. NuVox Communications said Ronald D. Webster was named EVP and CFO. Webster previously served as EVP and CFO of O2wireless Solutions, a wireless network infrastructure services provider… Forecasting software maker Business Objects announced executive VP and CFO Thomas Weatherford will retire at the end of 2002. Company expects to hire new finance chief by year end.

(Editor’s note: Take a look at cost management at Business Objects and other software companies with the CFO PeerMetrix interactive scorecards.)