The Most Common Words in Membership Job Listings

By: Joe Rominiecki

An analysis of the text of 300-plus membership job listings from ASAE's in 2013 reveals the breadth of expertise and responsibility sought in membership professionals.

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 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 in 2013—nearly 87,000 words total.

develop (958 appearances)

program (592)

marketing (585)

service (503)

communication (430)

retention (424)

strategic (396)

recruit (383)

plan (375)

lead (351)

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.

To explore the full list of words and frequencies from the membership job listings, download the Excel file [XLS].

Joe Rominiecki is a senior editor at Associations Now in Washington, DC. Email: [email protected]

[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Job Description."]

Joe Rominiecki

Joe Rominiecki is a contributing editor to Associations Now.