Many EFA members join the organization and jump in with both feet. They sign up for courses, post lively conversations on the Discussion List, offer to help with the EFA booth at various conferences, and monitor the Job List for potential opportunities. A few others sit back and complain that they have failed to get a job from the Job List, and they soon leave the organization without having been an active member.
What is the purpose of being part of the EFA? Is it simply to find jobs? That’s important to all of us. But we also need to consider that finding jobs takes effort on our part. We need to look for the jobs we are truly qualified to apply for. Then we must realize that there are hundreds of other EFA members who are also qualified to apply for the same job. Therefore, we need to make our resume a showcase of our skills and write a detailed cover email to the hiring company. We all know this, right? And is the Job List through the EFA the only place we should be looking for jobs? Well, no. Each of us has the opportunity to develop our EFA profile in a way that best demonstrates our skills and expertise.
And, we need to do more than wait for jobs to appear on the EFA Job List. We need a website, a LinkedIn profile, and perhaps a Twitter account too. And we must be active on these social media sites—starting discussions, offering helpful articles for other readers, and getting our names known in the industry.
Within the EFA there are other opportunities to get noticed. As Ruth Thaler-Carter mentioned in her post last month, we can teach others an aspect of writing, editing, running a freelance business, or taking care of ourselves physically and mentally. Sharing tips and tricks and what has worked for us goes a long way toward establishing ourselves as experts. Not everyone is a teacher, however.
But we’re all communicators, right? We may be introverted, but we know things, don’t we? We can share knowledge via the EFA booklets—and see our names in print as authors!
What are some of the other opportunities? As we near the June elections, we are reminded of ways that we can give back to the organization and be active as members. Volunteer to help as a member at large, offer to chair a committee, contact the Events Committee to “person” the EFA booth at a conference, suggest topics for educational programs, join the Public Relations team, or join/lead a chapter. In each of these endeavors, we not only contribute to the good of the organization, but also highlight our unique talents. We get our names out there. We grow as freelancers as we assume responsibilities.
And, think of the Discussion List. Many of us feel like we know other members we’ve never met in person because they are active on the Discussion List, offering advice, asking questions, pointing out news related to our industry, and more. Some of the employers who post jobs are also EFA members and have access to the Discussion List. Who will they be drawn to when they receive applications? Often, it’s people they recognize, even if only by name—those who are active.
Membership in an organization is an active, not passive, endeavor. When we put ourselves out there in one way or another, offer to help with a small or large task, teach, write, or contribute via the Discussion List, we are actively participating in the organization. We add our voices to the organization, and we help to steer its future.
We hope to see more of you participate in whatever way is most suitable for you. This organization runs on volunteers who contribute a few hours a month or many hours a month to make this organization the best it can be. Come join us and be active!
Jennifer Maybin (www.jgmaybin.com) has been an editor and writer all her work life and a freelancer for about 75 percent of that time. Note she is not telling anyone exactly how LONG that has been. She has been contributing to the EFA as its Education Chair for many years and has met friends, mentors, hiring managers, and experts through active participation in the EFA.