When you integrate career-related content with your conference, you provide career development resources your members want. The 2022 Association Trends Study by Community Brands shows that overall, the top five reasons for members to join a professional association include job opportunities and career advancement. For those who have already become members, job opportunities and career advancement remain in the top 12 list of most important benefits.
You probably know that your online job board, or career center, is a valuable member benefit. But did you know that your career center can also boost engagement for your association’s annual conference?
By incorporating career-related content into your annual conference, you’ll add more value for your members (and sponsors!), helping to make your conference a can’t-miss event. This approach can help you grow attendance, drive more engagement, and increase revenue for your annual conference.
Learn how to grow your career center through events and meetings.
Let’s look at five specific ways to integrate valuable career content into your annual conference.
1. Deliver the best of the best.
Employers want to hire the most qualified candidates. That makes your annual conference their gold mine. There’s no other place where an employer can connect with a more concentrated group of professionals in your industry who are actively committed to advancing their careers through professional development and networking opportunities.
To facilitate connections, provide a dedicated area during scheduled networking events just for employers and job seekers. This approach provides a casual atmosphere where employers can learn more about potential candidates outside of a structured interview environment, and job seekers can network with multiple employers.
2. Host an event within an event.
Hosting a career fair during your conference is powerful way to attract new and returning members to your annual conference. A career fair is a valuable event for your job-seeking members, and this offering adds an opportunity to sell additional booth space and advertising opportunities to employers.
Offering a career fair at your annual conference enables members to connect with multiple companies in a short timeframe. It also provides employers access to an active and engaged audience of industry professionals in a single location. Not only will this “event within an event” generate added revenue, but your online career center will also experience a surge in traffic before, during, and after the event.
3. Offer new sponsorship and advertising opportunities.
Open your conference advertising and sponsorship packages to employers and recruiters by offering targeted advertising packages. Doing so helps employers and recruiters reach your members with job opportunities. For example:
- Add a section for “Featured Job Postings” within your conference program.
- Add a “Featured Jobs” widget on your conference website or web pages.
- Allow advertisers to insert printed materials or branded gifts into the conference bag.
Package these advertising opportunities with your online career center products to expand the employers’ reach online as well as offline for the duration of the conference. Encourage advertisers to post their job openings online before and during the event to further drive interest. Also, provide employers and recruiters with a package that offers access to your résumé database, allowing them to research potential candidates before the conference and invite them to meet in-person at the event.
4. Drive awareness for your conference by adding career services.
Enhance your conference by adding services like a Certified Career Counselor onsite to help job seekers. Some Certified Career Counselors may be willing to do so at no charge to you in exchange for the exposure they receive with job seekers. They can help with résumé critiquing, career counseling, interview tips, and more. If a job seeker is interested in a more in-depth engagement, they can make that arrangement onsite. Promote this exclusive opportunity through a banner ad on your career center website to drive more interest in your conference.
5. Showcase your career center.
Short breaks and times between conference sessions present a valuable opportunity to engage your members with your career center. For example, have a set of computers available for use, with your career center as the default homepage. This will allow attendees to view current job openings and upload their résumés on-site. And if you’re hosting a career fair, attendees can schedule meetings with employers right on site. This creates a simple and seamless experience to facilitate the employer and job seeker connection while highlighting your career center.
Take the next step.
Whether you choose to have a booth at your conference to register members for your job board, or you host a career fair (or both!), making your career center a featured part of your conference can increase engagement and add value for your members and sponsors. These types of event enhancements can have a positive impact for your association, sponsors, and members long after everyone has returned home. If you aren’t using an online career center as part of your association’s value proposition, it is time to take a look at how this technology can play a significant role in your organization’s future success and ongoing financial health.