Whether you are in a group based on your profession, location, gender, race or religion, or by your alma mater, professional and trade groups offer a basic need: someone who “gets you.” Conversations are easier if there is a shared interest, and an element of goodwill already exists. You can share your battle scars, run your ideas past someone who is in the same situation, and maybe get a pep talk from someone who has “been there, done that.”
Seasoned professionals, newbies to the job market, and even students should conduct research before signing up. Ask colleagues and co-workers for suggestions, but conduct your own due diligence and make sure this group is legitimate. If you have any suggestions on groups, leave them in the comments section.