How to Better Manage Your Online Career Centre

If one of your association’s goals for 2021 is to increase traffic to your website, consider investing some time and resources into an online career centre.

Association online career centres are reliable traffic generators and are often the second-most-visited page of an association’s website (the home page is usually number one). A portion of your membership is always looking for their next job opportunity. Even those who aren’t actively job seeking want to stay sharp by keeping their resume fresh and their skill set updated. An online career centre is a great way to bring passive and active job seekers together on one hub.

When launching or updating your association’s online career centre, it’s essential to have an internal management plan for the program. Get a better grip on your online career centre by asking the following questions:

  • How does your career centre incorporate into your association’s overall strategy and vision?
  • How much non-dues revenue does your career centre generate and what percentage of your operating budget does it contribute?
  • Who can help maintain and improve it?
  • Who is your competition for talent and/or job postings in your industry?
  • What is your association’s sales approach for your online career centre?
  • What type of reporting do you need to provide, what key performance indicators are senior staff most interested in seeing and to whom do you need to send information?

Once you understand the role your association’s online career centre plays within your organization and who will help manage expectations for it, as well as its day-to-day operation, it’s time to build a career center management plan:  

Write out a mission statement and goal for your online career centre.

It should align with your association’s overall strategy and vision. For example, “Our online career centre will serve as a hub for premier professional development resources that help our members become certified so they can reach the next level of their profession.” Promote and market your career centre’s mission statement to ensure members are aware of its purpose and value. This could be as simple as posting it in a prominent place, such as your main career centre splash page.

Ask your senior leadership what kind of value they expect to see from the online career centre.

If they don’t know, or if they come up with KPIs that don’t shine a light on the value you know the career centre can provide, offer up the KPIs that will guide your team’s decisions about promotion, pricing and placement of the online career centre. Explain in detail why these KPIs matter – they should all relate back to increasing membership value in some way.

Create a spreadsheet to track progress toward your non-dues revenue goal.

Update this on a monthly basis (at minimum). Point out the most important data to your senior leadership and show how it’s working toward your online career centre’s goals. For example:

  • Increase gross sales by XX per cent in a one-year period compared to the previous year.
  • Increase the number of registered members on the career center by XX per cent in a one-year period compared to the previous year.
  • Increase unique visitors by XX per cent in a one-year period compared to the previous year.

Create a monthly marketing plan for the next 12 months.

Try designating one subject or theme for new career centre content, or one promotion per month to either employers, job seekers or both. Identify the messaging, distribution method and promotion elements at the beginning of the year, so you can be sure to lay out all professional development or job seeking topics you want to cover. Then, it’s simply a matter of executing your ideas as the year goes on. Be sure to review your career centre promotion plan with the marketing team, so your promotions are added to their calendar for distribution.

Conduct a competitive analysis for your online career centre.

Questions to ask about the career resource landscape in your industry:

  • Who are your competitors? Other associations in your industry? Local networking groups? Monster.com?
  • What do your competitors do well?
  • How much do they charge employers to post jobs?
  • What kind of unique value can you provide above and beyond those competitors?

Create a sales plan that contains custom packages and their price ranges.

For example, an employer wants to purchase 41 jobs on the career centre – what would the price be? Make it easy on yourself and others by having a scale in your back pocket such as:

  • 1-20 jobs is $100 per posting
  • 21-50 jobs is $90 per posting
  • 51-100 jobs is $75 per posting

Identify and build packages that can bundle career centre offerings with other association programs throughout the year. For example, offer 10 job postings with an event sponsorship.

You will be able to create cross-promotion and more engagement from your exhibitors, advertisers and employers with one package sale.

Finally, check in regularly with your internal stakeholders.

This is necessary to maintain support for your career centre efforts. Help them recognize the benefits of your association’s investment in your industry and in members’ careers. Use the metrics you’ve been tracking to show your progress, hard work and results.

Managing an online career centre can seem like a lot of work, but with a strategic plan like this one, you will stay focused on your mission and enjoy the benefits of a well-executed, well-supported program.

Check out AssociationJobs.ca, CSAE’s job centre.

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