I admit to being a bit discouraged lately. I have been having a lot of trouble finding the kind of jobs I want. Everything I'm finding is in a full-time position, in an office. To combat this, I decided to join Editors Canada, a professional association for editors.
I've been a member of Editors Canada before. My previous job got a membership for me and my fellow Editing and Publishing Specialists for the past two years. We went to the conference when it was here in Vancouver and were considering going again in another year or so.
While I was a member, I didn't take advantage of all the member benefits. I didn't go to the networking meetings. I didn't look at the job board. I didn't really need to at the time because I had a job that kept me very busy and I didn't really want to do more work in my time off.
It can take up to a week to process the membership, so I haven't been able to take a look yet, but I'm eager to see how this membership can help me. I know how important networking can be when you are starting a business. The old adage of "it's not what you know; it's who you know" is true to a point. You have to know your stuff. But if you know people who know you are good at what you do, they can help.
Some other benefits that come with association memberships are ongoing training. Most associations have conferences every year and usually seminars hosted monthly or bi-monthly. Editors Canada has both of these and discounts on them if you are a member.
My main reason for joining, though, is the job board. Like a lot of associations, Editors Canada has a job board and an online directory of editors. I'm hoping that, since this service is specifically for freelancers, there will be more of what I'm looking for on this resource.
Finally, Editors Canada has something very special that I have wanted to take part in for a long time but have been too overwhelmed with my full-time job to pursue. They have professional certification. Each year in November they host certification tests in one or two of the following: proofreading, copy editing, stylistic editing, structural editing. The tests are hard. They recommend not even attempting the test unless you've had at least five years experience. You don't need the credential to work, but it definitely holds a lot of weight if you do. It takes a lot to prepare for the test and I have a year to do it.