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3 Ways to Take Your Association’s Career Center to the Next Level

Is your association’s career center reaching its full potential? Here’s how you can take it to the next level.

In a recent Community Brands study, 51% of members said their association is more important than before, with one of the top three reasons members join associations being to advance their careers. Associations strive to provide their members with many benefits and providing a robust online career center offering many career benefits beyond jobs opportunities is crucial.

Why Reinvent Your Career Center?

Today’s association members differ from those of yesterday, and their needs are more diverse. Providing just the traditional elements of career center service isn’t enough — reinventing the career center to meet these shifting needs is a must. Gathering and analyzing member feedback reveals useful insights for data-driven decisions that lead to beneficial adjustments.

For example, many college students now enjoy earlier interaction with career services to align their interests with actual careers. With guidance, these students integrate academic advising recommendations and career interests to complete an education focused on work they enjoy. Similarly, some prefer to put off professional meetings with potential employers until they’ve had more informal interactions where they can explore in a low-pressure setting.

Use your feedback to design your new services, and your center can address members’ needs more thoroughly.

Still not convinced? Read on for three more reasons to take your association’s career center to the next level today.

1. Your career center can be a great source of revenue.

Due to the “Great Resignation,” a large number of employees leaving their jobs after COVID-19, employers need help staffing their workforce. In fact, Gartner’s Emerging Risks Survey shows that talent shortage is now the top emerging risk facing organizations. Providing access to talent is a valuable way to serve the needs of your industry while driving revenue for your organization. Employers will pay to access a targeted group of qualified employees.

Here are a few examples of ways you can drive non-dues revenue from your career center:

  • Charge employers a fee to post their jobs on your online career center.
  • Introduce a job email to your members. Employers are often willing to pay extra for this distribution of their jobs to additional potential candidates.
  • Include a jobs feed or widget in your member and prospective member e-newsletters with recently posted jobs that sponsors have paid extra to promote.
  • Offer employers the option to promote their jobs on your home page, your Twitter feed, and Facebook page.
  • Work with a job board software vendor that offers recruitment sales and marketing services, actively searching for employers who are hiring and driving them to your website. This helps you increase revenue as your career center becomes the hub of talent and opportunity for your industry.

In addition to non-dues revenue, your career center can help drive new membership revenue. For example, if you allow non-member job seekers to access a portion of your career center, you can generate a report of non-member job seekers from your career center to use in member recruitment efforts

2. Your members expect a robust career center.

When it comes to benefits from their professional membership associations, members want help finding jobs. According to the 2018 Member Learning and Career Development Report, 66% of members look to their professional associations to help them find new job opportunities.

You may already have a job board on your website to meet this member expectation. But keep in mind that active job seekers typically search for opportunities on multiple websites. The job seekers who use your job board (members and prospective members alike) also use other popular sites such as Google, Indeed, Glass Door, Zip Recruiter, and LinkedIn.

Your industry-focused member base gives you a competitive advantage over those sites. But using that advantage requires a robust online career center that provides a great source of engagement and help for job-seeking members as well as employer members.

Your career center should offer the following capabilities to meet member expectations and stay competitive with other job sites:

For job seekers:

  • Email job matching to automatically send relevant jobs to job seekers
  • Personalized search and recommendations based on job seekers’ prior searches
  • Mobile capabilities to allow job seekers to quickly apply for jobs from their mobile devices

For employers:

  • High ROI products that maximize exposure of job postings
  • Candidate screening and management
  • Optimized job distribution through search engine optimization , social media, email, mobile channels, and more

For you:

  • Advanced data, reporting, and analytics that give you deep knowledge of job board sales, performance, and user behaviors so you can grow revenue and membership

3. A great lifetime member experience requires a great career center.

Your members’ needs and expectations evolve as they move through their careers and their membership with your organization. Supporting your members’ career journey is critically important to creating a great overall member experience.

To support your members’ needs throughout their careers, your career center should be an ongoing source of engagement and help for your members. A key to supporting the member journey is making sure you have the right career center technology in place to enhance the value your organization provides its members through each phase of their career – from student and early career to retirement.

How to Improve Your Career Center

The benefits of using career centers are indisputable. College students report more employment offers and higher career satisfaction when they’ve used the services and support career centers offer. Those benefits come from well-organized and efficiently operated centers that maximize knowledge and resources. If you’re asking yourself how you can improve your career center, consider these tips on how to make your center stand out and create a positive impact in your members’ lives.

Provide Detailed Insights Into Career Options

Give your members a glimpse into another life with compelling stories and videos that work like virtual job shadowing. They’ll learn valuable information about career expectations, growth, and responsibilities with a “firsthand” look at a day in the life of a current industry employee.

Consider offering internship and apprenticeship opportunities for those entering or re-entering the workforce to gain insight and experience for their resumes, and showcase volunteering possibilities so members can learn about diverse careers from other industries.

Offer Career Advice and Resources

Career advice is more than simply matching skills and interests. Bring guidance to life by offering mock interviews and skill assessments. Help members understand how to handle typical situations that arise in employment, such as negotiating for a raise or interpreting nonverbal communication.

When examining how to develop a career resource center, the primary idea that springs to mind is member value. Provide job seekers with a way to enhance their skills and knowledge with virtual classes, workshops, and webinars. Offer resources on core concepts like time management skills or lessons on software program usage, giving your members a chance to enrich themselves. Charging a small class fee is a surefire way to boost your non-dues revenue as well.

Give Members a Roadmap

Successful career progression requires a blueprint with actionable steps. Since those steps vary by industry, company, and position, it may not be feasible to take a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, consider providing customizable templates that your members can use to outline their paths. Coach members to identify the landmarks (milestones) on their maps and clearly delineate the steps of the journey between each as they progress.

Suggest action-oriented goal examples for inspiration, and offer guidance with industry-specific credentials, such as a study plan for a licensing exam. Encourage them to integrate a timeline with their map for the most successful results and realistic expectations.

Take the Next Step.

With the right technology, you can realize the full potential of your career center. YM Careers by Community Brands offers leading solutions in association job boards, career resources, and career events. We can help you drive revenue, boost member engagement, and gain insights on prospective members.

So now that you know it’s time to take your career center to the next level, the next step is to get a sneak peek at the best software provider.

Your association can drive its career center to new heights with YM Careers – with zero start up costs!

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