Heather Wetzler
April 23, 2018

Millennials are unique in that they have never known a world without technology; therefore they rely heavily on it, both professionally and personally.
Even when it comes to their careers, millennials use social media -whether it’s networking with peers, job hunting or seeking career advice, social media platforms seem to have replaced the old-fashion professional association.

According to a report from, “Professional Organizations Study 2015,” survey, by Buzz Marketing Group more than one quarter of those surveyed referred to professional associations as “old school.” In fact, respondents who were under the age of 40 have been leaving associations in record numbers for the following reasons:

• 37 percent did not see value in the group
• 45 percent reported participation was too expensive
• 35 percent said the group wasn’t a community comprised of their peers
• 31 percent felt that groups lacked technology
• 27 percent said it lacked proper curation

But 93% of those surveyed said social capital is very important to their professional life. The value millennials put on social capital can be the fuel needed by the professional associations to bring them back into the fold.

One article in AssociationsNow, came to a very similar conclusions about the role of associations in young professionals’ careers –

Joe Rominiecki wrote in Young Professionals: Just Looking for Some Friends:

For young professionals, forming bonds over shared experiences might be the most critical role an association can fill. My first suggestion is to stop leading with the term “networking opportunities.” We all know intellectually that networking is important, but no one really wants to “network.” You tell me I can come to your association and network, and I think of this:
Networking is vital, but it isn’t an experience. A learning event might be, though. Or a volunteer project. Or even a purely social gathering. (Just don’t call it “networking.”) In any case, it’s important for young professionals to make meaningful connections while doing meaningful work or having memorable experiences (or both).

A large majority of millennials (67%) said they would “prefer to join an association founded by peers that are the same age.”
Meet-ups and other casual organizations have cultivated an awakening of professional gatherings because they are meeting the needs and desires of millennial professionals and entrepreneurs.
Also according to the survey, millennial-focused groups, such as meet-ups, resonated with young professionals because they are innovative, tech savvy and useful.

The survey also discovered that:
• 92 percent believe that today’s professional meet-up groups provide great opportunities to network.
• 52 percent reported that they are more likely to join a group that is invite-only.
• 81 percent would join a group that offers a concierge to help them use member’s benefits, as opposed to an organization that is self-guided.

If you are a millennial who is unsure how joining a professional association will be beneficial to your career – Here is the main reasons why it will matter to you:
Social capital: Glenn Curtis notes on Investopedia, “Professional organizations allow for a congregation of intelligent, like-minded professionals that are immersed in the inner workings of the industry to gather and provide participants with access to a variety of opinions and ideas.”

Whether it’s joining an association or attending a conference, networking can introduce you to an advisor or mentor, and give you the opportunity to share ideas with peers globally and locally.
Social capital is the most important currency in remaining employable, and members of professional associations can access it often and easily.
By networking and establishing relationships with industry professionals and peers, you can help each other reach professional career goals.




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