Attracting new members to your association and keeping existing ones requires that you provide enough value to those members to justify plunking down those annual dues. There are many membership perks that you can offer, but one of the perks most desired by association members is a job board for industry-specific position openings.
If you are not already offering an online job board, you absolutely should. Most people join an association to enhance and further their career prospects in some way, so job boards are one of the most highly-trafficked areas on most association websites. It’s a resource that members appreciate and even expect.
The job board also gives you a wealth of data about industry trends, in-demand positions and salary expectations. This is valuable information that you can share with your members.
Tips for Running an Effective Online Job Board
Plan for it to be open to members only.
A job board isn’t going to help your recruit members effectively if non-members are free to see and apply for the jobs. Your job board should be password-protected for members only. Exclusive access to these job postings is one of the biggest perks you can offer to your members. This will require that you set up online accounts and a portion of your website (the job board and anything else exclusive to members) will be accessible to only those with login credentials.
Choose your software.
If you have an IT person or website developer, recruit their assistance in sorting through your software options. The type of system you will be choose will be determined by a number of factors, including whether you want to incorporate other features besides just jobs into your members-only portal, how much customization you need, and so on. You can also take a look at Capterra’s extensive list of job board software ranked by reviews and approval ratings.
Actively recruit employers to post jobs.
A job board is not a field of dreams. If you build it, they will not necessarily come without some extra effort on your part to jump start things. A job board can tend to stagnate if not managed regularly. Appoint someone on your staff to be in charge of reaching out to potential employers and scouring other relevant online job boards to make sure that your board is the most complete one-stop location for all the best positions in your industry.
Eventually, once the board becomes active, the time required to chase down job openings should reduce as employers and job seekers start thinking of your association as the best place to find qualified staff and come to you on their own.
Stay in touch.
Don’t expect members to be checking in on your job board regularly. Especially when the job board is new and you are trying to activate it, send out periodic emails to let members know when there are new job opportunities that they might be interested in. It could be tacked on to your regular newsletter but will likely get more attention if the subject line is something jobs-related like “Fortune 500 Company Seeking Experienced Project Manager.” A members-only Facebook or LinkedIn group is another great place to share job openings. Your members and the employers will both appreciate it.
Make listings public, but applications for members only.
If you have a fairly active job board, consider making the job listings public but the ability to apply for members only. This can be a very compelling reason for someone to join your association, if they see a position that they are interested in applying for. Keep the public information to job title, description and deadline, whereas the company name, contact information and application would only be available to members.
If your job board is not very active, having openings listed publicly can backfire. A job board with few recent listings may cause prospective members to not see the value in joining. In that case, keep your job board hidden behind a password-protected wall until you can get more activity going.
Keep it up to date.
If your software doesn’t automatically delete older job postings or allows employers to leave application deadlines open-ended, be sure to keep an eye on it and clear off any old jobs. Nothing looks worse than viewing a job board where all the entries are old and past the application deadline. Your members will question whether they are wasting their annual dues on out-of-date job leads.
Create extra reasons to visit.
Consider creating a private discussion board or social media group for members to ask questions of industry leaders, network with each other and stay connected with your organization. Then even when there aren’t positions currently available, job seekers can get career and job-seeking advice from their peers and superiors.
Generate extra income from your job board.
In the beginning, it’s best to avoid charging employers to post a position on your association job board. It is in your interest to have as many positions listed as possible for members. Employers may not want to pay for a posting a job on a new, untested job board. Offer to post jobs for them to get your board populated with great job openings.
However, if your board really takes off, you might consider using it as a source of revenue by charging a fee for employers to post jobs, and/or creating spaces for advertising. Especially if your industry recruits for high-income positions, you may be able to switch to a pay-to-post model and generate some extra revenue for your association.
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