Is a Career Center Right For Your Association?
An online career center — a robust tool that allows employers to post open positions and job seekers to view open positions, post résumés and take advantage of other career-development features — can be a powerful tool connecting qualified talent with the right employers. It can also be a significant member benefit for an association.

When assessing whether or not to launch a career center, it is important to ask the following questions:

Would your members benefit from a career center?

If your association serves a specific industry, profession or market, a career center is something your members could find valuable. However, if your association is primarily serving a cause, or if it attracts members from a diverse set of markets, a career center might not be a good fit. Furthermore, an association serving competitive member companies might not find it appropriate to provide a job search tool, but members could still find value in mentoring, coaching and other professional development features commonly offered by career centers.

What other career centers exist in your industry, discipline area or market, and would another one be a welcome addition?

It is important to understand where members currently go to find employees, find jobs and satisfy their career development needs. Does a resource already exist in your market? Does it meet the needs of your members? If another resource does exist, it does not mean you should or should not launch your own career center. However, be mindful that you will have to compete for traffic from both job seekers and employers, and you might want to tweak your offerings so that they are unique and powerful in relation to your competition’s career center.

What could a career center provide your members?

It is important to understand what career centers are and what types of services and resources they can offer. Fundamentally, a career center only serves two primary purposes: provide assistance to individuals who want to improve their careers and provide assistance to employers who want to find the right people to join their organizations. Fulfilling these two purposes can take many forms (See Figure 1). Depending on the third-party provider, it can be easy to turn on many features, but associations should only include the ones their members would find truly useful. Otherwise, users could be frustrated by the unnecessary bells and whistles.

Figure 1
Below is a comprehensive list of services most career centers can offer.

Job Seeker Resources Employer Resources
Search open positions Post open positions
Post résumés Search résumés
Post searchable résumé anonymously Pre-screen candidates
Create job alerts Post a position to other job boards
Offer samples of résumés Offer job description samples
Access to salary and benefit survey results Access to salary and benefit survey results
Search available internships Post available internships
Participate in online career fairs Participate in online career fairs
Find mentors Provide metrics on job posting views
Find someone to mentor Tracking of job applications
List of competencies by job title List of competencies by job title
List of desired skill sets and behaviors List of desired skill sets and behaviors
Provide career coaching Provide reference checking
Provide professional résumés writing assistance Provide employment verification
Provide social networking profile development List company profiles and recruitment information

Associations exist to serve their membership, and an effective career center can connect members in ways that are much more impactful than taking classes or attending events. Career centers can also be a powerful retention tool. If it helps a member find and secure their ideal job, they will be a member for life.
  Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  Send to a Friend


subscribe button
feedback button
Board Forward is published 10 times a year by SmithBucklin, the association management and services company more organizations turn to than any other. SmithBucklin has served volunteer board members for 70 years.


Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin. All Rights Reserved.