Telling Your Story as a Young Association Professional

tell your story whatever it is
Photo credit: via Flickr by Evan, Photo Extremist

While I am a firm believer that a memoir is probably not the right fit for a ten year-old looking to publish a book, telling your story is not something to put off until you’re middle-aged. Your story is part of your personal brand and can help you stand out in a sea of people who are equally exuberant and equally without relevant job history.

When I was asked a few weeks ago to put together a post about advice I would give a young association professional, my first reaction was “to make the most of your time” because as you age it not only goes faster but you have less of it. Making the most of your time means: joining groups; experimenting with different projects and tasks to find out what you’re really skilled at and what you like; keeping your skills up-to-date by taking control of your own personal development – a diploma doesn’t mean the learning is complete; starting that novel now versus later…you get the idea.  

You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. – The Breakfast Club

But I would also add that it’s important while you’re doing these things to examine who you are, where you came from and what makes you unique. Think of the college entrance essays you wrote about what inspires you or shaped you. Use those things to tell your story.


Questions/Tips for Creating and Telling Your Story

  • Think about when you’re happiest. What does that say about you?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • If Hollywood told your story, who would they cast to play you and what parts of your life would they highlight?
  • Think about what the market wants/needs right now and answer how you can fill it based on your life experiences.

Keep in mind that employers, networkers, peers will all see you as they see any other recent grad – ready to take on the world with no practical experience with which to do so.


Stand out from the crowd.

Tell them who you are.

Don’t wait for them to decide.

Tell your story.


There was a lot of great advice on the topic. I encourage you to read:

Sarah Hill – MemberClicks

Deidre Reed –

Lowell Aplebaum – Association 141 blog

Shelly Alcorn Association Subculture blog

KiKi L’Italien – Aptify and Acronym Soup blog


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