When you joined IPEd, you may have looked at the membership categories and chosen associate membership because it was cheaper and you didn’t have to provide any supporting documentation. You would get most of the benefits of IPEd membership without having to exert yourself. That’s a win, right?
Well, not necessarily. It’s a good starting point, but being a member of a professional organisation is about more than just the fees. The point of IPEd, as with any other professional organisation, is about developing members and the profession. We all want our profession to be taken seriously by our clients and employers. We want people to know that editing is more than just reading it through and adding a few commas.
Other professional organisations, such as those for engineers, teachers and accountants, have recognised stages to their members’ development as fully-fledged professionals. Does that apply to us too? Let’s walk through the categories and see.
Student membership is easy. You are studying to become an editor. Student membership gets you into the world of editors. You start to build a network and become aware of opportunities. You can attend professional development (PD) opportunities to broaden your learning.
You have finished your study and now you are out in the world, looking for work or clients. Associate membership shows you are committed to your new profession and that you have agreed to work within a code of ethics. For the next year or two, you are building your experience and knowledge, buoyed by your growing network of experienced editors.
Some will stay at this point forever; they may only edit intermittently, or they may want to show their support for a profession that is peripheral to their main role. For most of us, however, associate membership is a staging post.
Once you have been editing for the equivalent of at least one year full-time, you upgrade to professional membership. You want to show your clients or employer that you take your profession and career seriously. This is a signal to your network that you have grown as an editor. Having the IPEd professional member logo on your email signature offers reassurance to prospective clients, and existing clients or employers will respect your work to progress your career.
Asking for the testimonials can seem a little intimidating, but you will be boosted by the positive feedback, something we don’t often get in editing. If you are asking for a testimonial from clients outside our own industry, you will find that they respect this process and accept it as a natural progression. They may not have known it existed for editing, but they do now. In boosting your own career, you are making your industry more visible and educating others on how seriously we take our work.
There are other benefits to professional membership, and there are other membership categories too. Take a look at the IPEd membership categories page to discover them.
By Caroline Simpson