Professional professionals: If you've ever for one moment thought that joining a professional association in your field would not help increase your chances of finding a job, consider...

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Professional professionals:

If you’ve ever for one moment thought that joining a professional association in your field would not help increase your chances of finding a job, consider this:

A whopping 79 percent of 1,300 hiring managers and executive recruiters nationwide believe that “applicants who belong to professional organizations are higher-quality candidates. Those who belong to such groups tend to have more experience and education.”

That’s the finding of a recent study by the American Marketing Association, based in Chicago. And the membership of the marketing association itself encourages the supposition that such networks attract top performers:

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Eighty-five percent of the organization’s 40,000 members worldwide have at least five years’ experience and 59 percent have a graduate degree, according to Lynette Rowlands, the association’s interactive marketing manager.

Salary statistics:

Most of us don’t need anyone to tell us that salary increases were at a record low last year, averaging 3.3 percent for salaried nonexempt employees and nonunion hourly workers, 3.4 percent for salaried exempt employees and 3.7 percent for executives.

Hewitt Associates, a global human-resources outsourcing and consulting firm, says the salary boosts of 2004 “represent some of the lowest increases ever recorded in Hewitt’s 28 years of gathering and analyzing this type of data.”

However, the firm says its study of 1,185 companies nationwide shows that “salary increase projections for 2005 are slightly higher.” By “slightly,” the consulting firm means that “no increase will be higher than one-tenth of a percentage point.”

Deadly résumés:

Too many résumés read like obituaries, and “that’s why they get buried,” observes Irv Orenstein, president of Orenstein Advertising, which gives job-hunting guidance to job seekers worldwide.

Orenstein, whose offices are in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., has been giving advice on résumés for more than 30 years — and he says the deadly résumés he has seen could fill a giant trash bin.

“An obituary is merely a recounting of past accomplishments, which might be quite wonderful, but a résumé, much like an advertisement, should point up what you can do for the company,” Orenstein explained. “That’s a significant difference.”

So if you don’t want your résumé buried in a pile of other dull résumés, make it proactive, positive and geared to what the hiring company needs.

In other words, advertise yourself.

Just a job?

“Either you view your job as simply a way to make money … or else you turn your work into something that somehow enhances your life,” observes Alexandra Robbins.

Robbins is the author of “Conquering Your Quarterlife Crisis: Advice From Twenty-somethings Who Have Been There and Survived” (Perigee, $14.95).

And if you’re in a job that makes you “feel dead inside eight to 10 hours a day,” Robbins has this advice: “If you want more from your job than a paycheck and your current position isn’t providing that, then it’s time for a change.”

E-mail questions to Carol Kleiman at Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.