When it comes to attracting and retaining members, career advancement is big. Really big.
Multiple association industry studies by Community Brands over the past several years show that job opportunities and career advancement benefits are important and/or becoming more important to association members. Studies also show that these benefits are especially valued by members who are early in their careers.
For example, the 2022 Association Trends Study shows that overall, the top reasons members join an organization continue to be networking, job opportunities, certifications, career advancement, and mentoring.
Another study by Community Brands shows that the largest number of members join a professional organization early in their careers – within the first five years of employment. Since job opportunities and career advancement benefits are particularly important to those early in their careers, offering career-building opportunities is a great way to attract more young members to your association.
With the right technology and some proven approaches, you can create an online career center that helps with member career planning and advancement.
Here are three tips to help you elevate career advancement opportunities for your members:
1. Take your online career center to the next level.
If you think about your online career center as simply a place for job postings, then think again. Your online career center also presents a great opportunity to engage more with members and give them more of the value they want.
So, be sure to provide more than just a job board, but also offer a variety of career advancement resources.
Here are some examples of career content and resources you can add to your YM Careers-powered online career center to give members the support and know-how they’re seeking, in every season:
- Résumé review – Offer free résumé critique through your career center.
- Job seeker articles, tips, and recommendations – Offer articles and other content with career advice including résumé writing tips, interview techniques, job search ideas, and tips on social networking.
- Career coaching – Connect members with career coaches to help with things like career direction, job search strategies, and interview tips.
- Industry career insights – Provide insights for job seekers looking to learn more about their current career stage and future roles with additional content for qualifications, education, certification requirements, expected salary, etc.
- Career path mapping – Give your members an online tool to map out their career paths based on the jobs they want, providing them with a well-defined path to get there, including the skills, learning, and job titles they need to reach their goals.
Of course, offering job opportunities and career advancement resources is just one part of the equation. It’s also important to make members aware of the career resources you offer along each step of the member journey.
The challenge is breaking through the ads and emails competing for your member’s attention. But there are ways to do it. Some ideas:
- Send personalized emails to educate members about available resources based on their career stage.
- Host informational videos on your website and social channels to build brand recognition as an online career destination for professionals in your industry.
- Post a jobs widget on your organization’s home page to share relevant jobs with people visiting your website and drive awareness for your career center.
- Share social media posts about the career resources available on your job board. Newly posted jobs can also be automatically posted onto your social feeds to deliver relevant content for followers.
2. Invest in your training and certification programs.
Take time to review your training and certification programs, and be sure to include career advancement opportunities in your meetings and conferences. At the same time, remember that it’s important to engage members in a variety of year-round learning opportunities to address your members’ budgets, schedules, educational and certification needs, and learning preferences.
TIP: YM Careers integrates easily with Crowd Wisdom, Community Brands’ award-winning learning management system (LMS), to help you combine an online career center with your learning program. Together, they allow you to showcase career advancement opportunities alongside personalized learning paths that help members get the education and certifications they need to be qualified job candidates.
3. Keep networking alive and thriving.
Your members are seeking networking opportunities, so be sure to offer them and promote them in your member recruitment and onboarding activities. You’ll attract new members to your organization and get members more involved for years to come.
Here are some ideas to help members connect with each other throughout the year:
- Plan networking events. These can be happy hours, lunches, discussion groups, career fairs, or any other type of event focused on connecting members with each other, with thought leaders in your industry, with hiring managers, and with your organization’s staff.
- Get social. Integrate social media with your career center to allow job seekers who view a job on your job board to see any LinkedIn connections they have who work at the company. This is a useful technology integration that can help them open doors to new opportunities.
- Offer an online member community. Become part of your members’ daily social networking habits by providing an online member community where members can find industry information, network with your organization and other members, and share ideas. Look for technology that supports a modern experience, with tools to help you keep members engaged.
- Don’t forget your annual conference.Your annual conference is a great opportunity for members to connect with each other as well as others in your industry. Set aside specific times in your conference schedule for networking activities.
By elevating career advancement opportunities, your association can offer members the tools, resources, and insights they need to research, plan, and develop their careers.