What does it mean to be an association membership professional? If you judge by job listings for that role, it means a lot.
Associations Now analyzed the text of the 312 listings for membership jobs posted on ASAE's CareerHQ.org in 2013, and the most common words (aside from members and membership, of course) reveal a broad scope of responsibilities. Words such as develop, marketing, communication, retention, lead, and strategic all appear near the top of the list, at least 350 times each.
To Laurie Kulikosky, CAE, director of strategic development at the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and chair of ASAE's 2013–2014 Membership Section Council, the variety reflects the type of candidate she'd look for in a membership role.
"What I would want to see is somebody who's versatile, and I think that plays out in all the different words you've found here. They're asking membership professionals to know a lot of things and to be familiar with a lot of different areas," she says. "I think the better membership professional you are, the more you know about the association as a whole."
One word curiously low on the list: technology, appearing just 24 times. While some specific tech functions like database, web, and email were quite common, Kulikosky says she was surprised: "When I'm looking at a membership person, I want them to understand the whole technological picture."
Other words near the top of the list: program, service, meetings, team, prospect, relationship, growth, engage, and committee, all appearing more than 150 times. Nonmember, however, appeared just 16 times. Among words included just once in the year's worth of listings: mobile, monetization, nametags, cold-calling, and paperwork.
The 10 most common words
Associations Now analyzed the text of 312 membership job listings from ASAE's CareerHQ.org in 2013—nearly 87,000 words total.
develop (958 appearances)
Note: Sizes in the graphic reflect total appearances of a word and its variants. Excluded from the list were nonsubstantive words like new or key, common words like conjunctions and prepositions, and words clearly skewed by the job-listing context, such as membership, position, and duties.