Joining an organization in college can be extremely beneficial, especially if you are a business major. To start, it will help boost your resume. Employers want to see how you spent your time while you were in college. They want to see if you were actively involved in an organization, or if you just slacked off the whole time.
Another beneficial reason for why you should join an organization is because you will learn a lot, especially if it relates to your major. Plus, you will be given multiple opportunities that will benefit you in the future. Lastly, you will meet some awesome people and make life long connections.
Let me tell you about my experience through an organization in college.
As I started my junior year in college at East Carolina University, ECU, I realized that I needed to become more active in an organization on campus. I researched different organizations on OrgSync, and decided to look for something that related to my major, marketing. I found the American Marketing Association, AMA, and decided that I would try it out.
From the first meeting, I realized that this was the perfect organization for me. I decided to join two committees within the organization, the social media and promotions committee and the fundraising committee. I quickly became a very active member and attended every meeting and event that I was able to.
During that same semester, I was promoted to fundraising assistant with the intent of moving up to fundraising vice president for the spring. As I fulfilled my duties as the assistant and then vice president, I continued to work hard within the organization. As the spring semester came to a close, I was selected to become the executive vice president of AMA for 2016-2017 because of my strong work ethic and dedication.
Joining the American Marketing Association has easily been one of the best decisions that I have made since I have been at East Carolina University.
What I’ve Learned
Not only has AMA helped me grow in general as a person, but also as an aspiring marketing professional. I have learned valuable tips and skills thanks to AMA.
Here are a few topics that I have learned about through AMA:
- Email Signatures
- Business Cards
- Elevator Pitch
- Importance of Connections
My fellow vice president of fundraising and I were in charge of making sure that all AMA fundraising events were successful and profitable. I quickly learned that you must do a lot of advertising prior to having an event in order for people to attend, hence why the marketing field is so important because you cannot sell anything without promoting it first.
Being part of the fundraising team has helped me gain sales experience through the bi-weekly events. I also learned that in order to persuade people into purchasing the product or tickets we were selling, we first needed to inform them about why they should buy it and influence customers that they need what we are selling.
Prior to being in AMA, I figured that email signatures should only include your name. After seeing signatures from other members in the organization, I realized that a signature can include a lot more than a name. In fact, you can include your contact information, title within an organization, and even a link to your LinkedIn profile or professional website. There really is not a set signature with rules you have to follow by, but having a signature with information as stated above will help you look more professional.
In the social media and promotions committee, we use Hootsuite to post on the ECU AMA social media outlets Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. A lot of businesses and marketing firms use Hootsuite, or something similar to it, to post on their company’s social media accounts. These kind of social media management systems are used by businesses because it allows employees to easily manage and keep track of all of the company’s interactions and posts. Learning how to utilize this tool has been extremely beneficial.
It never occurred to me that you can have a business card without having a professional job. Before I attended my first networking event with some of my fellow AMA members, they suggested that I bring business cards to the event. I had no idea how to make business cards, but they informed me that ECU’s College of Business allows you to create cards and print them for free. So, needless to say, that afternoon I was in the computer lab printing off sheets of business cards!
AMA taught me the importance of business cards and helped me prepare for all of the networking events that I would be attending. For example, I learned that it is a great idea to ask each person I network with for one of their business cards and offer one of mine in return. This is so I can connect with that person after the event via LinkedIn and possibly ask if they would like to meet for coffee to discuss more about their company.
LinkedIn is a great site to display work and educational experience. It also allows you to make connections with other people to better your professional network. Plus, you can search for job openings and apply with your LinkedIn profile. I learned about all of these things as well as the importance of LinkedIn during a few workshops that our AMA chapter held. During these workshops, I had ECU marketing professors read over my profile and give me helpful tips on how to make it better.
If you get a chance, connect with me on LinkedIn!
I never knew how to write an elevator pitch until one of our fall workshop meetings where two of our executive board members presented how to make one. Having an elevator pitch is very beneficial, especially if you are attending networking events or selling a product. It is basically a quick 20-90 second pitch that a person can use to sell themselves or their product.
As the next semester began, I then was taught the same elevator pitch fundamentals within one of my marketing classes. Thanks to AMA, I already knew how to write one. This just reassured me that AMA is teaching me exactly what I need to know in order to succeed in a professional setting.
Periscope is an app that allows users to live stream whatever they want. Anyone who is following the user will be alerted when a video is live, and it will remain available for the next 24 hours. At some of our general AMA meetings, we used Periscope to record the speakers for those who are unable to attend. This way, all of our members who are not present can watch from home at their convenience.
I was given the opportunity to use the organization’s Periscope account to record one of our meetings. A few months later, I attended a networking event and was asked to record the event using this app. Thanks to my experience using Periscope with AMA, I was able to help because I already knew how to!
However, with the new Facebook Live Streaming feature, I personally believe that people will start to venture away from Periscope since it only shares videos for a temporary amount of time. In fact, we actually transitioned to using Facebook Live instead of Periscope at our meetings this school year!
Importance of Connections
AMA has taught me that having connections can really help when looking for a job. In fact, networking is key to being successful. To be honest, you will not get far if you do not have any connections. So, be proactive and network with professionals in the field you want to go in. However, don’t just stop making connections when you receive a job. Continue to always make connections and build those relationships with other professionals.
Through my leadership positions within AMA, I have learned how to be a better leader and team player. Also, I have been able to expand my communication and collaboration skills through being active in the organization. As I practice these skills, I have been able to boost my confidence as a professional in return. Now, I can confidently make connections and easily communicate with any professional that I meet at the networking events I attend.
AMA has allowed me the opportunity to be on both sides of an interview. When I applied for fundraising vice president, I was taking the role as the person who is being interviewed. Although I was personally selected to be the fundraising vice president for the spring semester, I was still required to attend an interview. Going through this interview process gave me experience and an idea of what to expect when I am being interviewed for a job position after I graduate.
During this interview, I was required to sell myself and inform the current president and vice president that I would be a great fit for the position that I was applying for. Also, I presented the different ideas that I had for the organization and told them about all of my skills that would relate to the role that I was applying for.
As Executive Vice President of AMA for 2016-2017, I assisted the AMA president with conducting executive board interviews for the next school year. There is a lot that goes into leading an interview, but it is also extremely fun. To start, the AMA president and I had to go through multiple applications, resumes, and cover letters. After each of the face-to-face interviews were completed, we discussed who we believed would be best for each position based on their written materials that were submitted as well as the interview itself. Overall, I believe this was my favorite side of the interview process to be on.
Outside of the general opportunity of learning valuable skills, being part of AMA has, even more, advantages. To start, a successful business professional comes in to speak to us at every general meeting. We have had multiple awesome, marketing professionals come to speak to us.
These are only a few examples of speakers who came to share their intelligence with us. We were even given the opportunity to brainstorm and share our ideas on social media marketing strategies with Buzzadelic, which was pretty awesome.
However, not all general meetings have a set speaker. At some meetings, we have workshops organized by members of the executive board. For example, as stated before, we have had LinkedIn workshops and an elevator pitch workshop. These events are designed to help members grow and learn new skills that they may not already have.
Being part of AMA has helped me learn about multiple networking events within Greenville and in the Raleigh area. AMA has also taught me how to be prepared before attending an event. So far, I have been given the opportunity to attend events at Triangle Marketing Club and Red Hat. Thanks to AMA, I have also received an internship with TMC.
As you can see, being part of an organization definitely has its perks. So, you should really consider joining one!