In this recap, we will explore great ways to propel your members forward and upwards in their careers, something they will appreciate and that will help you create life-long member loyalty. Job boards have always been a great resource for your members and for your association by bringing in non-dues revenue, but in 2020, your job boards became a lifeline for professionals who found themselves out of work through no fault of their own. Jobs on career centers YM Careers powers have been viewed more than 400 million times – so you can imagine how many applications and hires that’s ultimately translated to. But your career center can be so much more than just a job board, let’s find out how.
What Members Want
Keeping up with members’ needs is an ongoing challenge as audience interests and demographics shift. New communications channels pop up and new competitors emerge, including non-traditional ones like LinkedIn. The evolution of technology brings new expectations for member experiences. But one thing that has been consistent is that members join because they believe doing so will help their careers. Learning and networking are vitally important, and so is connecting to new job opportunities through the association.
Our study showed that 76% of members join either while in school or within the first 5 years of employment. We call them early careerists. And for early careerists, here’s what they said matters most:
- Job opportunities
- Training to accelerate their career goals
- Building a professional network.
BUT only 28% of respondents actually felt their association was doing a great job of supporting their career growth. For starters, many associations still have old school job listings or classifieds pages with only a few relevant jobs on them – which members didn’t like. Many also said they had challenges connecting the training that they were offered, to their career goals.
This is a huge opportunity for you to close this gap and do a better job of supporting these early-career professionals who represent your future, by delivering to them what they are telling you they want – robust job opportunities, training that they clearly understand will drive their careers forward, and development of a strong professional network.
Offer Valuable Career Content
This data is insightful and spotlights the importance to members of providing career growth resources and career advancement content to them. This type of information, coaching and content helps you develop relationships and trust with members and member prospects.
Here are things we’ve found are valued by members through our research.
Industry career research and benchmarks: Members appreciate being able to validate a benchmark for example, that they are paid fairly. Sharing common job descriptions; typical activities that people perform in different roles within the field; credentials needed to be qualified for a role; and typical career paths are all useful examples to share.
Industry news is valued: Aggregated niche newsletters can be a great way to keep professionals fluent and current in your industry. When you aggregate news in an industry, you can use machine learning so that each recipient’s future newsletter is filled with more content similar to the topics that the recipient clicked on in prior issues. The newsletter becomes more aligned with the recipients’ interest over time, as the algorithms learn more about the recipient. This makes the job easy and automated for your association.
Core content like eBooks, whitepapers, blogs are important: Ensure you’re the first place industry professionals look for trusted information. This ensures prospects think of you as a reliable source of information and a partner who helps them reach their goals. This content can bring professionals to your website, and then become the catalyst for converting website visitors into prospects, and then converting prospects into new members.
Reminder: Community Brands research has found that the best time to attract new members is early in their career stage, so publish content specific to the challenges and opportunities early career professionals in your space, are likely to face. .
Career Pathing & Planning
Career pathing in your specific niche can and should be a feature of your career center that sites like Indeed, Google and LinkedIn, simply don’t offer. A career map, showing professionals the job they have today, the job they want to have in the future, and the jobs along the way that will get them there.
Benefits of Pathing
- Helps your members understand where they can take their careers
- Provides structured career path information
- Let’s members explore careers within an industry
- Creates a customized career progression plan
- Shows them jobs available and professional education useful at each stage
Value of Pathing
Finding the next step in their career: Members will plan their next career step with the confidence that will help them reach their ultimate career goals.
Self-Assessment: When provided with a description of each role and a highlight of the critical skills needed to be successful in that role, members can evaluate their current skills and determine what areas they need to focus on in order to succeed.
Personalized action plan: Members will design their own personalized career action plans, including the learning, training, and experiences required to reach their career goals.
Career Planning Portal
The next way you can add value, beyond career pathing, is broader career planning resources. You don’t want your association’s Career Center to be just a transactional portal where employers and job seekers connect. You want it to be a true Career Destination. Imagine if your members and professionals could come to your site to research all things related to jobs in your industry. They could get a complete picture of what their career options are in your field, how bright the prospects for those options could be, what their life will be like if they take those options within the field you serve. This creates engagement and provides value.
This is very useful, practical, fun, interactive information. It drives traffic to the career center, which is important to the employers who pay the association to post their jobs.
With the Career Planning Portal your association can:
- Help members see and understand the options that are in front of them
- Take your career center beyond just jobs, to help make it a truly robust career destination
- Bring people from outside your field into it
Many associations simply don’t have the resources to produce this type of content on their own. As your career center provider, YM Careers can now source this for you. We already have this information for more than 1,000 different careers. Our goal is to make this turnkey for associations and to give them something they can be proud of to promote as a resource and help members advance their careers – making you more valuable to them.
Associations are only going to become more important career resources as the workforce evolves and becomes more technical in the years to come. Specialized talent will be harder and harder to find and will increase in demand in the coming years. Your association can be a critical enabler of progress for our economy if you build a career destination that attracts professionals in your field, helps them understand and plan their career future, and then gives employers access to hire them.