Including associations and memberships can demonstrate that you are keeping up to date in your profession and that you have developed useful contacts. For the person making a career change, listing memberships can demonstrate you are serious in making a shift in career direction. Use these categories only if they are relevant and will help you. An engineer might use the following:
American Chemical Society (1989–Present) American Institute of Chemical Engineers (1986–Present)
Belonging to associations and professional organizations may mean only that you paid the annual dues, or it could mean that you are active in the organization. List every office held. If you want a one-page resume and you are three lines over, affiliations can be sacrificed. The section provides interesting, but not usually crucial, information. The examples below can be used as guides. Do not list an affiliation unless you believe its adds credibility or value to your resume. Organizations you are no longer a member of or no longer active in are usually not mentioned, unless you held an office.
Use the examples below as guides for presenting information regarding affiliations.
Pacific Northwest Personnel Managers Association (1989–present) American Society for Personnel Administration (1987–present)
Homebuilders Association, member 1994–present Officer 2004–present Associate of the Year 2000
Board of Realtors, member 1989–present Chairperson, Legislative Committee 2002–2006
Chairperson, Political Affairs and Education 1995–1999
Southeast Community Alcohol Center
President, Board of Directors (2006)
Member of Board (1999–Present)
Northwest Nurses Society on Chemical Dependency
You should rarely mention associations that indicate religious affiliation, political identification, ethnicity, or race. Bias and prejudice are alive and well in the United States and Canada. Don’t give people excuses for not meeting you. When we meet people in person we are often able to overcome stereotypes—do everything possible to get that interview.
If you want the reader to know your politics, religion, ethnic background, or race, then by all means indicate the association. You would do so, however, only if you are quite sure that by including that information you have increased the likelihood of obtaining an interview. Don’t do it with the rationale that you don’t want to work for them if they don’t like that part of you. Everyone is biased, much of it on a subconscious level. Get the interview, get the job offer, and then decide if you want to join that organization.
Being active in an association often provides opportunities to demonstrate leadership, program management, and project-management skills. As an officer or as a committee chair or co-chair, you may have gotten some excellent results in that capacity. As Program Chair, perhaps you brought in the best speakers in the past several years and, as a result, attendance at meetings picked up significantly. You may have, for example, recruited minority mechanical engineers and thus increased membership and the diversity of your organization. You may have coordinated a highly successful conference.
If you’ve been an officer or a committee chair, ask yourself what you accomplished. How did the organization benefit from your participation? Even if you later choose not to put that in your resume, you have just added stories you can share in interviews.
Once you’ve identified what your results were, or those results you were at least partially responsible for, determine if mentioning those results will help sell you. If yes, just begin writing.
Association of Mechanical Engineers, member — 1995–present
Board Member — 2000–2006
President — 2006
As president, developed a recruiting program that increased minority membership from less than two percent of total membership to over ten percent.
Treasurer — 1999–2003 Recommended selling booth space for the first time at the 2002 state convention and recruited over 45 vendors. This brought in $15,000 in
additional revenue, equal to 10% of total association revenue for the year.
The number of vendors and revenue have grown significantly each year since.
This section works well for this engineer. His job descriptions do a nice job of selling his technical skills, but he is now seeking to move from senior engineer where he oversees projects and guides younger engineers, to a true management position. The fact that he was an effective president and treasurer helps an employer picture him in a management role.