Providing your association’s members with the benefits they seek is a top priority. It drives member recruitment, engagement, and retention. It can also deliver revenue for your association.
The 2022 Association Trends Study from Community Brands shows that job opportunities and career development resources are consistently among the most important member benefits. It makes sense: Job markets and economic conditions, as well as life changes, impact people’s career directions and decisions. They need resources and support throughout their careers, and they look to their professional organizations for the help they need.
There are multiple ways you can offer member career planning resources – including an online job board, résumé reviews, job seeker articles, networking opportunities, and career fairs. Those are all highly valuable member benefits.
But you can take it even further by offering your members an online career planning portal.
Offering a career planning portal with an online job board is an ideal way to provide the ultimate in member value. It’s everything your members needed in one place to plan out and advance their careers: As your members and prospective members seek jobs, your online job board can connect them with employers in your industry who are hiring. Meanwhile, your career planning portal can guide member career planning and help members land the jobs they’re seeking.
A career planning portal delivers the ultimate value by advancing members’ careers and helping your association attract and retain members.
More Than a Career Center: Career Planning Portal
Offer your members the resources they need to research, plan and develop their careers and be a career advancement hub.
What is an online career planning portal?
An online career planning portal is a one-stop location for your members and prospective members to search for and find jobs as well as relevant career resources to advance their careers. It takes your association’s online job board to the next level. Adding this resource turns your job board into a true career center destination.
A well-designed online career planning portal:
- Provides industry-specific career advice and access to career coaches, through articles, tips, best practices, and résumé reviews .
- Gives clear guidance to drive members forward in their career by helping them map out career paths, showing them related titles within a specific field, job descriptions, relevant skills, and recommended/required courses and certifications related to their career searches.
- Provides detailed information about a specific occupation such as salary, job outlook, skills and education requirements to help them decide if they want to move forward in a certain career path or change direction.
Why is offering a career planning portal important for associations?
Offering a career planning portal is important for associations because it provides big value for your members and prospective members. Professionals need high quality, relevant career resources, such as:
- Feedback to help them plan and advance their careers
- Tips on improving résumés, interviews, and more
- Targeted and valuable career articles to navigate a job search
- Insights on specific roles, and career paths with step-by-step guidance on career trajectory
A career planning portal addresses these needs by:
- Giving your members and prospective members the high-quality career content they’re seeking – all in one convenient location
- Providing your members with a reason to continually engage with your association by offering career development resources for every stage of the career journey
- Equipping your members with industry-specific advice, insights, online coaches, and mentors in one location to support career growth and advancement
As a bonus, a career planning portal makes your online career center even more attractive to job seekers in your industry. More traffic to your online career center means more employers wanting to post jobs there. And that translates to more added revenue for your association.
How does a career planning portal help members in each stage of their careers?
As a career growth hub, a career planning portal is more than just a place where your members go to find jobs several times during their careers. It can help them grow and develop throughout their entire careers.
Here are some examples of how a career planning portal can help your members in various career stages:
- Students and new graduates – A career planning portal can help first-time job seekers learn about the basics of developing résumés, preparing for interviews, networking, and building a personal brand. It can also help them to understand the best career path for their goals so they can get their careers started in the right direction. It also helps them connect with mentors who can provide ongoing support by sharing experience and advice.
- Career changers – People make all kinds of changes in their careers, from lateral moves to completely new career paths. A career planning portal can help optimize career transitions through expert advice, mentoring, information about required skills needed for the transition, and details about what to expect in the new position.
- Remote workers – A career planning portal can help professionals navigate the remote-work world with advice on how to plan their days and stay connected, how to advance their careers without being in an office, and which career paths are more (or less) appropriate for at-home work.
- Unemployed professionals – For people who are between jobs, a career planning portal can help with advice on how to resurface in their careers, coaching on how to navigate challenging discussions about unemployment, and data about specific occupations in certain locations for those looking to relocate.
- Professionals returning to the workplace – When people return to the workplace after a leave of absence, a career planning portal can help them get up to speed on changes in the job market, understand the skills they need to move forward, and gain confidence in how to discuss their time away.
How can your association get started with a career planning portal?
Creating a career planning portal from scratch is a big undertaking. It’s one your association staff might not have time to tackle. But there’s no need to build it yourself.
YM Careers by Community Brands offers job board software to power your online job board. The Career Planning Portal is included with every YM Careers job board. It’s a career growth hub that provides professionals in your industry with a comprehensive set of career resources to grow and advance their careers, no matter what stage.
The Career Planning Portal includes the following modules:
- Career Advice – This module provides career planning content for professionals to use as a resource to prepare for every step of their career path. It provides an easy-to-navigate library of articles and other content on topics including:
- Résumé and cover letter writing
- Personal branding
- Interview techniques
- Job search and career growth ideas
- Workplace and health
- Career Coaching – With this module, your members are matched with a career expert who will guide the members in career planning, résumé building, negotiation, and interviewing. It presents a directory of high-quality, experienced career coaches that can be filtered by practice or industry so that members can find the right match for their needs.
Coaches can help members to do things like:
- Work through career challenges
- Add direction to their career goals
- Prepare for interviews
- Career Insights – This module helps professionals identify their dream careers by exploring salaries, responsibilities, and job growth opportunities to guide their next career steps. It includes things like:
- Career descriptions
- Statistics on typical education levels of people in each role
- Occupational outlooks
- Activities performed by people in each job role
- Salary benchmarks
- Unemployment data
- Day-in-the-life videos
This type of information helps your members understand important career factors, such as:
- Where they are in their careers compared with projected growth
- What opportunities exist around a particular career path
- Which related occupations could be next steps in their career paths
- What they should think about when considering a potential career or location move
- Career Paths – This module gives your members an online tool to visually map out steps to achieve their career aspirations. Members choose a desired job title, and then they are presented with a career path – including job descriptions and relevant skills required for the next job in their career journeys. This tool provides them with multiple benefits, including:
- Confidence – They can plan the next step in their careers with the assurance that it will help them reach their ultimate career goals.
- Self-assessment – Using a description of each role in their career paths as well as a list of key skills needed to be successful in each role, members can evaluate their skills along the way, determining what professional education and experience they need to move forward.
- A tailored action plan – Members can design their own personalized career action plans, including learning, training, and experience required to reach their career goals.
- MentorBoard – With this module, your members can connect with mentors who will provide them with ongoing guidance and support. This service is especially helpful for those early in their careers and those who are making a career change. It facilitates the creation of lasting professional relationships that help your members grow professionally.
What are the benefits of powering your association’s career planning portal with YM Careers?
If the capabilities and benefits of the Career Planning Portal weren’t enough, here are three more reasons to implement a career planning portal with an online job board from YM Careers:
- You pay no up-front costs. YM Careers doesn’t start making money until you do.
- You don’t have to do the heavy lifting. YM careers offers sales and marketing services to help ensure your job board has maximum exposure and generates demand for your career center. When you don’t have the time or expertise on your staff, the YM Careers team helps your association reach both job seekers and employers through email, advertising, and digital campaigns to drive traffic and increase job postings on your site. This helps you increase revenue as your career center becomes the hub of talent and opportunity for your industry.
- You can start seeing value right away. Once your job board and career planning portal are in place, you’ll be able to attract more members, deliver greater member value, and drive ongoing revenue. With no up-front costs and with the YM Careers team doing the work, you can’t go wrong.
How can you get board approval for an online career planning portal?
You might be convinced that an online career center that includes a job board and career planning portal is a powerful tool for member recruitment and retention as well as revenue generation. But you still need to convince your board of directors to approve it.
To gain board approval, it’s important to build a business case for the new career resource.
Here are four steps to help your board understand your goals and the benefits of a robust online career center for your association:
1. Paint a picture.
Provide your board with background that helps them understand the importance of an online career center for your association.
It can help to use association industry statistics in this discussion. For example, association industry research from Community Brands shows that since 2017, job opportunities and help with career development continue to be among the most important benefits to members.
Make sure your board knows that a well-executed career center built on modern association job board technology provides the value members want. It can be a powerful tool for attracting and retaining members.
Also, providing employers with access to talent is an effective way to drive non-dues revenue for your association. When employers need to fill jobs that require specific skills and industry knowledge, they need to promote their jobs to members of professional and trade associations. Your online career center can help by selling them job postings, ads, sponsorships, and other fee-based products that expose their job openings to your members.
2. Spell out the goals for an online career center.
Help your board understand the benefits of great job board software by presenting them with specific objectives that tie to organizational goals. This might include things like:
- X percent increased revenue
- X percent new member growth
- X percent improved member retention
3. List the functionality needed to reach your goals.
Explain the requirements for a successful online career center. For example, here are some key capabilities to include:
For job seeking members and non-members:
- Email job matching and personalized job search and recommendations
- Career planning portal with industry-specific advice, tips, and coaching, plus other resources to help job seekers advance their careers
- Job postings
- Candidate screening and management
- Enhanced job distribution via featured job emails, job widgets, and social media
4. Explain the benefits of an online career center.
Provide your board with examples of specific ways you can provide member value and drive revenue once your online career center is in place. For example:
- Automatically send jobs to job seekers via email when jobs are posted.
- Increase member engagement with your career center by recommending opportunities to job seekers based on their prior searches.
- Offer employers the opportunity to pay to post their jobs on your job board and pay an additional fee to promote their jobs on job alert emails, your home page, Twitter feed, and Facebook page.
- Place a jobs feed or widget on the home page of your site to pull in more job seeker traffic and give employers access to passive job seekers.
- Offer career advice through articles that guide job seekers in their search.
- Provide online coaching with tips on résumés, interviewing, and more.
- Deliver career insights that help members secure the jobs they want.
Take the next step with an online career center for your association.
With the right technology, your association can realize the full potential of an online career center. YM Careers is ready to help.
YM Careers offers association job board software designed for niche career centers, versus general career centers. This makes it much easier for job seekers to connect with companies that are hiring in your industry and for employers to access highly qualified candidates (your members and potential members).