In my job as a relationship manager with TrainingPros, I interview a lot of talent development consultants. Some of them are seasoned professionals, and some are just getting started, but one piece of advice I find I give to almost every candidate is to get involved with their local chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Depending on the individual, the reasons often vary. Through this process, and through my own involvement with the Atlanta ATD chapter, I've discovered the following benefits of volunteering with your local chapter:
Serving your ATD chapter is a great way to fill in transition time between jobs - especially if it's a leadership role such as serving on the board. This shows potential employers that you were using your time productively and honing your skills, both the skills needed for the chapter role, such as technology or marketing, and also valuable leadership skills.
Speaking of skills, there are a myriad of opportunities to learn new skills by volunteering with your chapter. Want to learn marketing, social media, managing a budget, instructional design, facilitation, or other proficiencies associated with talent development? Talk to the chapter leadership to find out how you can get involved. The folks on the board always love assistance and would be happy to mentor you in exchange for you taking a little bit of the workload.
Volunteering with your chapter is a great way to show that you are a champion of talent development and that you put that into action. Whether it's working an event, giving a presentation, teaching a class for a non-profit like we do at the Atlanta chapter, or serving in a leadership role, you are walking the talk, and talent development leaders will see that you have the drive to help others. That's a characteristic that translates into a great co-worker!
Another sought after characteristic of talent development professionals is the desire to continuously learn new things. By being involved with the chapter you can learn new skills by being a leader, attending chapter meetings, attending COP (Communities of Practice) events, participating in webinars, and networking with other talent development professionals. There are lots of ways to learn provided by your local chapter.
Whether you are interested in leadership or individual contributor roles in your career, leadership skills are always valuable. By volunteering to be a part of the leadership team, you show that you have the capability to take on leadership roles in your career. That comes in handy whether you are taking the lead on a design project or managing a team.
So, no matter where you are in your talent development career, or what your goals are, there are many benefits to getting involved in your ATD chapter. Yes, there is a time commitment, but all things that are worthwhile take a little time, and the benefits to you are worth it!