Your Association’s Job Board Strategy Depends on its Members

Strategies for association job boards are not one-size-fits-all. Membership associations and trade associations typically using the same approach to marketing to candidates and employers may not yield the same results.


But let’s back up a bit – what do we mean by “trade associations” vs “membership” associations? Jaffe Management defines defines the two like this:

“The simple answer is that an individual membership association is an organization whose members are professionals in a certain industry. Their membership dues tend to be in the in the $100’s and not the $1,000’s every year and they as an individual are the member. On the other hand trade associations are generally comprised of companies who become organization members, often with one or two people representing the organization at meetings – quite often the President or CEO.”


The distinction is important, because how your association leverages its members to drive membership sales, non-dues revenue, and engagement with respect to its job board or career centre can be stark.


Job Board Strategy for Membership Associations

For associations whose members are individuals within a certain profession, your job board strategy should be fairly balanced between marketing to candidates and employers. Your membership is likely built around people who meet specific professional criteria or those working towards it. You are also likely already engaged with employers – companies and other organizations whom you work with as sponsors, advertisers, and collaborators.


As a membership association, you can readily speak to the value of the candidates on your job board, since they have had to meet your membership criteria and thus have, in a sense, already been pre-vetted for employers. Making sure your members use your job board to maintain their profile/resume and make it their first stop when job searching is a prominent task when it comes to marketing to candidates.


For both candidates and employers on your membership association job board, your main marketing challenge is to consistently promote your job board’s tools and services to them, whether or not they are new to your association.


Including links to or highlights of the latest job posts in your newsletters or email marketing, incorporating an introduction to your job board in new member welcome packages, and running quarterly promotions with discounts for employers are some simple ways membership associations can consistently market their job board.


Marketing for Trade Association Job Boards

For associations whose members are organizations (depending on the type of association, they may be companies, charities, NGOs, etc.), you’re less likely to automatically have a solid database of qualified individuals ready to participate on your job board as candidates and job seekers. As Jaffe Management pointed out, these organizations are usually represented by one or two executive leaders and there are likely far fewer member-organizations in a trade association than member-individuals in a membership association.


Marketing to candidates within your trade association’s sector is fundamental to the success of its job board. While your member-organizations may look to your job board for help in hiring, they may not be keen to promote your job board to their employees. Marketing efforts you put towards driving membership sales and engagement can also promote your job board’s tools and services for employers, but you’ll need to develop a different strain of outreach for job seekers who may not have previously had any direct connection to your job board.


The reputation and expertise your trade association possesses gives you an advantage when it comes to establishing a job board that serves the talent in your sector, industry, or niche. As with many other types of job boards, content can play a key role. Publishing blogs, news articles, and other resources for the people who work in your trade helps your site build SEO and relevant traffic, and works to engage candidates even when they’re not actively looking for a new job.


Supplementing jobs posted directly by employers with job feeds from aggregators and other job boards can also keep candidates active and engaged on your job board, particularly if hiring is seasonal in your industry. In some cases, trade association job boards may benefit from shifting candidates’ perceptions of you as not just a trade association, but an online community of shared interests, skills, and professions.




Image credit:Papaioannou Kostas