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Career Counselor
Go Clubbing: Join Professional Organizations Early in Your Career

June 2006 As you start your accounting career, you may feel you're too busy concentrating on the present to worry about your future. But one of the best things you can do for your career is join a professional association, which can have lasting benefits. In a recent survey by Accountemps, 86 percent of hiring managers cited involvement in industry or trade organizations as beneficial to an employee's career.

Following are tips to help you get the most out of your participation in professional associations:

Stay current. Involvement in these groups will help you remain up-to-date on the latest developments in your field and gain insights that will enable you to make a greater contribution to your firm.

Network without pressure. Attending association meetings will enable you to interact with experienced professionals in a more comfortable manner. People are typically more friendly and willing to share information in this casual atmosphere, so glean as much practical advice as you can.

Get to know the "movers and shakers." By participating in professional organizations, you will have access to its member and alumni network. Interacting with people who have made a mark in the finance field may open doors for you, both now and later. You'll be surprised how big the "small talk" can really be.

Get involved. Individuals who take an active role by volunteering for committees, writing articles for association publications and delivering presentations are able to strengthen their leadership abilities, interpersonal skills and business acumen.

Continue your education. Take advantage of the educational and certification programs offered by industry organizations. Doing so will help you enhance your expertise, marketability and earning power.

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ACCOUNTEMPS is a specialized temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps provides support throughout an accounting department. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Accountemps and has more than 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia. Accountemps' Career Counselor column, a SmartPros staple for over four years, is refreshed twice a month.

2006 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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