When you’re searching for a new job, you need to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd. Recruiters can review hundreds of applications for every position they post. To give yourself the competitive edge, you’re going to need to use everything in your arsenal.
Including your professional affiliations on your resume could be the answer. It’s a quick way to capture the attention of a hiring manager. Whether you’re a member of an association or simply affiliated with one, this accolade could help you land the interview.
So, how do you get started? Well, there is a right way to list your affiliations and memberships on a resume. If you’re new to this task, you’ve come to the right place. In the following guide, we will cover how to list memberships on a resume and why it matters.
What are professional affiliations or memberships on a resume?
Affiliations and memberships are the personal and professional groups that you're associated with. That covers a broad spectrum of things. This could be an organization, group, club, or anything else along those lines that you're a participating member in. If you’re unsure what we’re talking about here, let’s take a look at some key examples:
Licenses and certifications
Membership of a professional organization
Unions and other affiliations
Community projects or groups
As we will discuss, the above can be invaluable during your job search. With that in mind, it’s worth learning where to put memberships on a resume when you’re applying for roles.
Should you put memberships on a resume?
The short answer is yes, you should put them on your resume. Affiliations and memberships are a great way to show your interest in the industry outside of your experience while strengthening your professional credentials. What’s more, in some industries, having the right memberships and affiliations is essential to the role.
Since recruiters look at a wide variety of applications, having memberships on a resume is a major plus. If the hiring manager has two identical applicants — with the only difference being that one is affiliated with an industry body — they will opt for that candidate. Whenever you’re in the market for a new job, it’s worth listing memberships on a resume.
Where to list affiliations or memberships on a resume
There are a couple of options for you here. If you have one or two affiliations or memberships you want to list, you could include those in the education or professional development section of your resume. Simply bullet-point them under the section header.
However, some professionals have a long list of affiliations that they want to share. In that case, you may want to create an entirely new section on your resume. Here are some other sections you could include this information under:
Professional Development and Education
Certifications and Affiliations
Interests and Activities
Feel free to use a combination of any of the headers above. For example: Memberships and Affiliations. Here are some examples of affiliation and memberships on a resume:
View 200+ more professional resume samples for all industries, along with a guide to writing resumes from our career experts.
Including personal affiliations or memberships
Remember that your resume should contain relevant experience to the position or industry. Sure, it’s okay to throw in a few affiliations to professional organizations that may not be directly related to the industry, but keep them to a minimum.
Instead, you want to include highly relevant affiliations and memberships that add value. For example, an accountant listing the following affiliations would be effective.
The Institute of Internal Auditors
Young CPA Network
Professional Association of Small Business Accountants
Before you decide whether to include memberships on your resume, ask yourself how they apply to the job or industry. If you can't find an obvious link there, you might want to leave them off the document. Put simply, a hiring manager isn’t going to hire for an accounting position at their company because you’re affiliated with a softball organization.
Affiliations or membership not to include
There are, however, certain affiliations you want to completely avoid listing on your resume . Any affiliations, memberships, or interests that could be considered controversial or unprofessional to employers should be left off your resume. For example:
Anything associated with a political group (unless you're employed or targeting a position in the field)
Controversial topics, interests, or hobbies
Groups with bad PR (especially social organizations)
The above memberships are just not relevant and will do more harm than good on your resume. You don’t want to risk destroying your chances of an interview by making this mistake.
Your memberships and affiliations, along with your qualifications and skills, can help you present yourself as a well-rounded candidate. In some cases, it can even strike a common chord with your potential employer! However, you want to give any affiliation you advertise a second look.
Remember to keep it professional and relevant. Including highly relevant associations, memberships, awards, or affiliations on a resume could really help you stand out from the other applicants.
And, if you're job searching, don't forget to use your affiliations as a networking opportunity! Look for professional groups on social media. While you're there, follow ZipJob on LinkedIn and Facebook for more resume writing tips and career advice.
Are you looking for a new job? Boost your chances of success by using our bespoke resume writing services. Whether you’re just launching your career or taking the next step on the ladder, there’s a package that will suit your needs. At ZipJob, we have everything that you need to take your career to a whole new level.
The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.