Give Members the Career Resources They Want

Farrar-Give Members the Career Resources They Want March 28, 2024 By: Lauren Lanz Farrar

Association trends research indicates that job opportunities and help with career advancement are among the most important benefits to members of professional associations. But the research also suggests that associations underestimate the value of career resources to members. Learn how you can make sure your association provides members with the career assistance they’re seeking.

The 2023 Association Trends study by Community Brands shows that help with career advancement and job opportunities rank as top priorities among benefits for members, especially for those in the early and middle stages of their careers.

Member Priorities Based on Career Stage

Association Member Priorities Graphic 

But there are gaps when you compare how important these career benefits are to members with how important association professionals (“pros” in the graph below) think they are to members. The data suggests that associations greatly underestimate the value of career assistance to members.

Among the Top Membership Benefits

Association Membership Benefits Graphic

Three Opportunities for Your Association to Deliver Greater Member Value

What can you do with this data about what members want? Let’s look at how you can bridge gaps in member value by offering career-related resources.

1. Provide high-value, career-focused opportunities.


A relatively low percentage of members in the study attended an in-person or virtual career fair with their association or used the organization’s job board or career center in the past 12 months. However, members placed high value on those activities.


These data points suggest that associations have an opportunity to provide and promote more of these types of high-value, career-focused engagement activities.


Engagement Activities with Organization (Members' Perspective) continued


Association Engagement Activities Graphic


2. Become the preferred source for job opportunities.


When looking for job opportunities, members in the study say they are most likely to use LinkedIn and Indeed job boards, yet they are significantly more likely to view their association as the best source for getting a quality job offer. These findings suggest a strong opportunity for associations to transform their job boards into the go-to career destination for their industry or profession. (More on that below.)


Member Viewpoints of Sources for Job Opportunities


Association Job Sources Graphic


3. Provide a broad range of career development resources.


Members in the study are interested in receiving career development help from their association in multiple ways. There’s another discrepancy here in terms of what associations actually offer. While a majority of association professionals in the study say their organization has a job board, few offer the types of additional career advancement help that members want.

Career Development Offerings vs. Member Interest

Association Career Development Graphic

Where Can You Start?

The data points above indicate an opportunity for associations to provide a broader range of resources—so members can land the jobs they’re seeking and grow their careers. Help your association become the top career resource for your members and your industry by optimizing your job board and career development resources with these tips.

Online job board.

Offer an online job board that makes it easy for members to search and apply for job openings. Here are some capabilities to consider:

  • Build in mobile responsiveness to allow your members to quickly apply for jobs from their mobile devices.
  • Adding personalized search will increase engagement and job views by recommending opportunities to members based on their prior searches.
  • Offer job alerts and matching that automatically send jobs to interested and relevant job-seeking members via email when they are posted.
  • Let members upload their resumes to an anonymous resume bank so that employers can approach qualified candidates for open positions.

Career development resources.

Create a more robust online career center by adding career development resources, including:

  • Career insights, like salary, education and skills requirements, outlooks for job growth, related jobs, and more to help members make informed career decisions.
  • Career advice through articles, tips, best practices, and other content formats.
  • Career coaching that connects members with professional career coaches who can help them develop career-building skills, such as career planning, resume building, interviewing, and negotiation.
  • Career pathing, so members can build a clear road map to reach their professional goals by using an online tool to visualize the steps from the job they have to the jobs they want next.
  • Mentoring that connects members who are early in their careers with experienced industry professionals who can provide them with inspiration and guidance in their careers.

Offering a comprehensive online career center shows members you’re invested in their futures. With the right tools and approaches, your career development resources have the power to help you increase member recruitment, engagement, and retention.

Lauren Lanz Farrar

Lauren Lanz Farrar is a content marketing specialist for Community Brands.