Membership

Unemployed Members? Keep Them in Your Network

By Chloe Thompson / Jan 28, 2013 (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Do you lose members when they lose their jobs? To keep them with you, focus on the networking opportunities your association provides.

You’re not going to find top performers at a job fair. Whether it’s fair or not, you need to have employees make referrals for you if you want to find a job.

It can be tough to wrangle member dues from the unemployed—after all, who wants another bill to pay? But letting them know that your association may be their ticket to their dream job can bring a mutual benefit.

In a struggling employment market, any “in” to a job provides a boost, and more and more job seekers are aiming to make connections any way possible. That’s a good move, according to a recent article from The New York Times.

And where’s the best place for a job seeker to put that resume? In front of someone who is already employed at a company who can recommend the candidate to the HR department or hiring manager. Some human resources professionals say clicking idly on Monster.com or other mass job-search sites won’t cut it in today’s tough job market.

“You’re submitting your resume to a black hole,” HR consultant John Sullivan, who teaches management at San Francisco State University, told the Times. “You’re not going to find top performers at a job fair. Whether it’s fair or not, you need to have employees make referrals for you if you want to find a job.”

The statistics are impressive: Referred candidates are twice as likely to land an interview compared to other applicants, while those who interview have a 40 percent better chance of being hired over other applicants, according to a recent study, the Times reported.

But many job seekers may not know that the best place to network and brush off their business cards is their local or national association. Using association conferences or seminars to connect with industry leaders is an easy way for the unemployed to gain confidence, connections, and (hopefully) an offer down the line.

Networking and career building have always been key benefits of association membership, and reminding your unemployed members of that value can help you keep them engaged in your community. Consider holding networking events that match up job seekers and hiring organizations or adding job-search strategies to your content lineup at seminars or in publications.

How are you broadcasting networking opportunities to your members? Share your ideas in the comments.

Chloe Thompson

Chloe Thompson is a contributing writer to Associations Now. More »

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