So You Want to Host an Online Career Center?

By • June 20, 2016

Katie Huckett, Career Solutions, Naylor Association Solutions
Katie Huckett, Career Solutions, Naylor Association Solutions

It has been proven time and again that association members are more engaged in their careers and dedicated to their chosen industry.

Hosting a niche online career center not only gives your members a value-added membership benefit, but it also allows your association to tap into a wealth of non-dues revenue that is ripe for the taking.

Hosting your own career center may sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things to consider when mapping out what’s best for your association:

“Are there staff and resources available to host a career center in-house?”

Maybe you’re thinking the only way to swing this project is to host your career center in-house. The upside to this option is that you have full control over your program, branding, marketing and operations. However this obvious choice has a few not so obvious downfalls. Depending on your staff size – assuming responsibility of creating the job board, handling accounting and collections, posting jobs if it’s not automated, end-user customer support and promoting the job board could put a significant drain on your resources, association time, and money. Staying in-house is doable, but in order to gain maximum revenue potential all factors will need to be considered and budgeted for appropriately.

“I don’t think we have the staff and resources to host in-house, what other options do I have?”

Now you may have realized that your association is limited in taking on this task, but you can see the benefit of hosting a career center. There are a variety of options available from working with a commercial job board to job board software providers to private label solutions. You’ll want to cover these key points when comparing outsourced options:

  • How much control will I have over design and branding?
  • What services are provided – technology, customer service, sales support, accounting, marketing, or integration with other systems and programs?
  • Who owns the data that is collected from job seekers and employers?
  • What are the revenue models? Is there flexibility?
  • Is a job board all that is available or are there other career center products and services?

“What if we already have a job board?”

Okay, now we are talking! The highest performing career centers all share a number of key characteristics and it has everything to do with establishing a plan and executing the plan. Here are just a few of these characteristics that you can start implementing today:

  • Prominent placement of job board links on your association’s website.
  • Add a job syndication widget to your home page to catch passive job seeker attention.
  • Promote jobs and your career center in your membership eNewsletter.
  • Post jobs and career center updates through social media channels.
  • Highlight your career center package options in your association’s media kit.
  • Offer employer up-sells (Featured employer, eNewsletter, etc.)

Bonus tip: Make your career center visible to members and non-members alike – integrate your job board database with your membership database for proactive member recruitment, boosting dues revenue at the same time!

These few items alone can change the game when it comes to generating revenue for your association, but the list doesn’t have to end there. Create a “Wish List” of what you would like to see happen for your career center and aim high. The important thing to remember is to start with a plan and take the steps one at a time. They don’t all need to be accomplished immediately, but instead can be checked off over time as a long-term career center program for success.

Don’t forget to jot down implementation dates of changes or additions to your career center program. The only way to truly measure the success of efforts is to keep an eye on your website traffic and revenue flow. Checking the pulse of your career center allows you to recognize trends year to year and make adjustments as necessary.

Let your members know exactly why your association is their go-to resource for professional development by showcasing career opportunities where they need it most. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Katie Huckett is an account manager with Boxwood Career Solutions.

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