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Job Boards and Career Communities: A Path to Higher Engagement and New Memberships

One of the best ways to deliver value and build loyalty quickly, and to attract new members (particularly young professionals) is for your association to help members with their career growth. 

In an episode of Higher Logic’s Member Engagement Show podcast, guests Alexey Gutin and Josh Slyman of Web Scribble discussed the many ways associations can benefit from having a job board or career center, like Higher Logic Thrive Jobs (which is included with Higher Logic Thrive Community and Platform). 

These benefits not only extend to the association, but to the members, employers in the field, and industry as a whole!

What the Job Market Looks Like Today

2022 was a hot year for recruiting – it was definitely a job seekers’ market. The great resignation was cooling off slightly from 2021, but resignations remained higher than historical averages. Despite highly publicized layoffs, especially in the tech sector, this continued through 2023 and into 2024.   

There’s still a war for talent, especially highly specialized talent in which labor supply doesn’t meet employer demand. Some of the most intense competition is in verticals like healthcare, finance, diversity/equity/inclusion, STEM, and higher education.

From a job seeker standpoint, there are still plenty of jobs out there, with employers being hyper-competitive to acquire talent. And for Associations, where that talent is usually highly scaled, educated, and specialized, the war for talent is greater than roles with high turnover and lots of openings.  

The Value of Job Boards and Career Communities for Associations

The Association’s Advantage as a Career Helper

Regardless of what kind of labor market is currently in effect, association career centers are always relevant and vital. They help solidify your association as a trusted resource in your industry – for members and nonmembers alike. And many associations can do this from a position of objectivity: their priority is the growth and well-being of members, not trying to get them to stay at their current jobs.  

Associations can serve as an excellent partner, guding members along their career path. Being able to observe trends and demands in your industry via a job board also positions your association to (A) develop highly relevant professional development opportunities, and (B) orient members to possible paths and suggest growth opportunities – be those jobs, certification, networking, or educational tools.  

Career Support at Any Stage of Your Members’ Employment

When the market is competitive, as it is today, industry professionals and association members can advance their careers faster by using your association’s job board to stay aware of job posts, keep an eye on what’s in demand, and potentially follow up on new opportunities. Even if every member isn’t actively looking for a new job, most will be open to hearing about advancement opportunities.  

Alternately, when someone is laid off and needs help finding their next placement, your association’s job board is a great place for them to search highly relevant and specialized postings. And maybe while they’re there, they’ll check out your professional development opportunities to boost their resume.   

Additionally, career communities offer a place for job seekers to get encouragement from other members/professionals during their planned or unplanned job hunt. Members might even get recommendations for job openings that have not yet been posted.   

So job boards and career support give your association multiple touchpoints – for both members and nonmembers – and multiple avenues to generate goodwill for your association.  

Higher Logic Thrive Jobs - which is included with Higher Logic Thrive Community and Platform - helps you facilitate members' career development while strengthening engagement. Jobs stream right to your community feed and members only need to maintain one profile for community and jobs!

A Constant and Targeted Space for Career Exploration

Alexey says career journeys are cyclical. Once a member lands one role, the process repeats over and over again for future job changes. If someone can turn to your association for a constant source of what’s happening in the field and job market, what skills are most in demand, and what salary ranges can be expected, that makes your association invaluable.  

Your members are already looking for this information and career growth opportunities on Google or any of the myriad job search sites – where they’re less likely to find roles highly relevant to what they’re looking for. If they can find specialized roles on your association’s job board, you become a one-stop-shop! You’re the expert in your industry; you have all the career information a member might need under one umbrella.   

That’s what makes an association career center not “just” a job board – it becomes part of your ecosystem of support for your members and the field.  

A Source for New Members and Young Professionals

Think about when you were in the early stages of your career. You actively sought out information and advice from others with real-world insight. And you, most likely, spent a lot of time looking for a job in your desired industry.  

Having a job board gives you an avenue to attract early-career and young professionals and get your foot in the door. Once they’re on your site browsing jobs, and creating an account to apply, it’s the perfect opportunity to follow up about association membership. By addressing a key need at that stage of their lives – jobs and careers – your relationship with new members and young professionals gets off on the right foot. Not only can you deliver value by helping them find a job, you can also point them toward next steps.

Member Prospecting and Engagement

The job board becomes an open-ended prospecting funnel. Bring people in who are searching for careers within the specified industry, whether they’re a member or not. Capture information to foster that relationship down the road and bring people into the organization earlier in their careers.   

Higher Logic Thrive Jobs makes this easy – because your job board is fully integrated with your community and marketing!

And then there’s the engagement piece. Enabling your association to put new and fresh opportunities in front of members – right in their community feed, incentivizes them to keep coming back to your community and association. You can use that emotional connection around career, which is really about personal growth and advancement, to drive repeat logins and move people to align with your shared mission.  

The Technology That Brings It All Together

Having solid career center technology – especially something that works with your other software – allows you to fully explore digital strategies across your website, community, career center, and marketing automation tools to drive member engagement for your association and support career growth for your members.   

Josh sees this as exactly the exciting opportunity with Higher Logic Thrive Jobs – with is included with Higher Logic Thrive Community and Platform. With jobs that stream right into your community feed, community profile information completing a member’s job profile, and job highlights that match your members’ expertise, it’s the perfect partnership.

The job board creates valuable content and is an engagement driver that brings people back into the system. And when your job board attracts nonmembers, you can easily funnel them into automated campaigns that foster new memberships. You can also set up campaigns to support members with relevant resources as they advance through their career, helping power segmentation, personalization, and lifecycle campaigns.   

With your career center linked to your community, your marketing automation platform, and your AMS, you could potentially…  

  • Have a report running that pulls job board visitors or users who are not members → funnel them into an automated marketing campaign that points out how membership supports their career development (certification, courses, etc.) 
  • Have a report running that identifies early career professionals → funnel them into a marketing campaign advertising a Young Professional membership rate or promo.

There are so many possibilities based on the data you’d be able to leverage.  

The Non Dues Revenue (NDR) from Job Boards

Association Job Boards Are an Ideal Source of Qualified Candidates

Career centers also serve associations as a source of non-dues revenue through job posting sales. Employers in your industry are already paying to post jobs somewhere else – but Alexey points out that associations are so much better positioned to connect employers with highly skilled, serious-minded talent. And they could (if they choose) charge a premium compared to other generic job sites.  

Association career centers attract targeted candidates, allowing employers to find the right person with greater efficiency. This reduces the employer’s time to hire and cost per hire. It also provides access to passive candidates who aren’t actively looking for a job. 

Not to mention, from an employer’s standpoint, your members’ involvement with your association indicates their commitment to the field. Members regularly take steps to advance their growth, raise their value as an employee, and will likely keep doing so.  

From Employers to Partners

And this is another situation where having a job board gives you a foothold – you might find that employers who regularly post in your job board would be great potential partners or sponsors. They might enjoy the opportunity, through your sponsorship packages, to build their brand reputation within your membership. You could offer opportunities for employers to share industry expertise or thought-leadership content, or maybe co-develop learning courses or programs. This gives them exposure, while also helping you deliver value to your members.

Leverage the Power of Community + Careers

Ready to see what Higher Logic Thrive Jobs could do for you? Our job board is included and integrated with your community, which means only one vendor to manage, and endless possibilities for member engagement, program development, and additional revenue!

About Alexey, Josh, and Web Scribble

Alexey Gutin is the CEO of Web Scribble, bringing his background as a computer systems and electrical engineering professional to the team. Entering the space about 15 years ago to power hundreds of career centers and job boards, Web Scribble eventually pivoted to work exclusively with associations and nonprofits and has been doing that for seven or eight years. Alexey oversees sales, marketing, and customer success, and thus has a deep understanding of association and employer needs.   

A Higher Logic team alumnus, Josh Slyman currently serves as cross-platform strategist and member & customer advocate at Web Scribble. He aligns functionality and strategy for job seekers, employers, and associations using the platform. Josh brings his experience and perspective in the community space to Web Scribble’s products and services. 

Kelly Whelan

Kelly Whelan is the Content Marketing Manager for Higher Logic. In this role, she develops content to support association professionals and advise them on member engagement and communication strategy. She also hosts Higher Logic’s podcast, The Member Engagement Show. She has ~10 years of experience working in marketing for associations and nonprofits.