Optimizing your association’s online career center to make it one of your most valuable assets is simpler than it looks. Especially now that you’re reading this easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide from the leading provider of association career centers. Associations want to provide a useful online hub for active and passive job seekers. Employers want to be visible on these hubs so they can find the best talent for their open positions. I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals from both sides and observed what tactics work to make an online career center unique, useful and valuable to all who visit.
What’s that – you’re too busy to spend hours optimizing your career center? Fret not: These seven keys can be done one at a time, when you have the time. They are the seven most basic fixes you can do to help optimize your career center and get it in shape to become one of your association’s most valuable—and profitable—assets.
Place your career center within your site’s main navigation
As a rule, your career center’s job listings should take no more than two clicks reach. Homepage > Career Center > Jobs.
Boom. Done. (Even better? Feed jobs to your homepage…but more on that later.)
Home page navigation real estate may be difficult to secure. However, if your senior management wants revenue from your career center, they need to know having that placement is one of the most important ways to get it.
Stick with us. Only six keys left to turn!
Amp up the main splash page
Okay, you’ve made your career center a main navigation item and members have clicked over to it. What are you planning to show them? A listing of jobs? Links to other parts of your site? You need to make visitors to your career center feel like they’ve just stumbled upon a gold mine of useful, valuable relevant information. First, make it easy to find the right information as either a job seeker or an employer.
Next, make sure you have a veritable feast of tips and resources for the job seeker to keep them engaged and coming back for more. Your association undoubtedly has valuable, industry-specific, career-related advice throughout its website such as industry news, salary data, job search tips, resume advice, and career development resources. List and link these items up front on a splash page, and be sure to create links from each content section back to this central page. Follow this key closely and you’ll make your career center main page one of the most visited pages of your entire site.
Put RSS Feeds to work across your website
RSS began life in 1999 as Rich Site Summary but today it is better known as Really Simple Syndication. Either way, a job listing-based RSS feed a great way to add dynamic content to other heavily-visited areas of your website. Why is that important? Because most of your members aren’t in active job search mode, which means they may not visit your career center. But if they see an interesting job or a particular company is hiring while they’re elsewhere on your site, they’re more likely to visit it.
Plus, your members will view job content as industry news, not advertising. Use RSS to constantly feed viewers fresh text such as featured jobs, upcoming career webinars and newly published white papers. RSS can, and should, be used on your website’s homepage as well as your career center splash page.
And if your website has special interest groups for different member segments, use an RSS feed with jobs targeting those users on each of those section pages as well.
Key 3: RSS Feeds. Feed your members well!
Include your career center in your media kits
You probably have an “Advertise with Us” page or a full-fledged media kit to promote advertising in your publications, on your website and at events. Did you remember to include your career center? If not, get it in there! Revenue from job listings and other advertising on career centers can be a lucrative source of non-dues revenue.
When a prospective advertiser finds your media kit, be clear about who your typical audience is. Unless your career center is members-only, it’s not just your association’s members checking out your job listings and career resources! Your career center represents everyone who is looking for jobs and seeking career advice or resources. Provide the numbers that most advertisers need to crunch to add you to their media buy. How many views per job? What are your visitor demographics? Where are they coming from? How are they engaging with this section of your website?
Your biggest selling point here is that your candidates won’t be found on commercial job boards! An association’s career center visitors are highly qualified candidates who are plugged into your industry by virtue of their membership and activity in your association. That kind of job seeker may be difficult—or impossible—to find anywhere else! This is the key to help you put your best foot forward. Be creative!
Promote your career center in your eNewsletters
Most of your audience is probably happily employed, but would make a move for something special. These people are less likely to visit your career center, so adding job content to your eNewsletters is an effective way to bring the jobs to them. Organic or sponsored editorial content is usually more persuasive and effective than a career center ad because the recipient has requested or subscribed to it. Upsell your career center-advertising employers to your eNewsletter and increase revenue, improve employer ROI, add constantly changing content to your newsletter and increase awareness of your career center.
Want even more dynamic content? Try a jobs-focused newsletter like CareerWire to help your association become the leading source of industry-related updates and job openings. Useful content, relevant ads, job openings: That’s win-win-win-win for your association, your members and your employers.
Socialize your career center
Did you know you can extend your career center onto Facebook and Twitter with minimal effort? And engaging in social media can engender trust between your stakeholders and your association, but true engagement means far more than just placing an icon on your site. Boxwood can extend your career center into Facebook using our proprietary app installed on your association’s Facebook Page. We also can auto-tweet job postings in real-time to your association’s Twitter account, getting your jobs in front of your followers and driving traffic to your career center.
If you want to keep your Twitter feed from becoming overrun with new job listings, you can minimize the number of job tweets by only tweeting featured jobs. It’s a great way to increase upsell resulting in more revenue for your association.
Just one more key to go!
YOU got this
I saved the most important key for last. You. Or more specifically, your creativity, imagination and commitment to making your association’s career center a valuable and engaging destination for your members and non-members alike. A career center can benefit tremendously from these tips, and best of all, once you’ve made these changes, they practically run themselves!
That’s it! The seven keys you need to position your career center to become a revenue-generating superstar for your association. Now, go ahead, do great things for your online career center!