Engaging Young Professionals: How Your Association Can Succeed

As many of us know, young professionals are proving to be the lifeblood of any association membership.

They’re ambitious. Eager to learn and eager to be taught, young professionals are looking for a place to help them hone in on their professional skills and build up their experience for future career endeavors.

So, it only makes sense that associations and young professionals are a natural match. Your association has an artillery of amazing benefits young professionals are looking for. The only thing standing between your association and a diverse membership is engagement.

With the proper strategies and tactics in place, young professional engagement is possible!

Career Development Resources

Chances are, career development is on the forefront of any young professional’s mind. They’re new to the career world, and having a set of well-developed skills is what will propel them forward into a successful future. This means it’s absolutely crucial for associations to incorporate career development opportunities for members.

There’s a multitude of activities your association can choose from, but here are a few that can really set the bar in terms of value.

First, let’s talk about professional networking. Knowing the right people can open doors, provide unique perspective, or even help you add to your skill set. This is why networking opportunities are so crucial to every professional association. Take a look at larger successful networking like South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin – a festival that celebrates the convergence of film, music, and interactive media. An entire event centered around networking for all lovers of tech, artistic expression, and other industry professionals. It’s events like these that have young professionals swarming to know more.

Even though your events may work on a much smaller scale, your association can learn a lot from studying networking events like SXSW. Learn what works for them by reading articles, watching social channels during the event, and maybe even attending one year and incorporate ideas into your association’s networking opportunities.

Another tool for career development that is highly sought after by younger audiences is resume building.

A strong resume is the key to any great first impression, and young professionals are looking to wow at their next job interview. But, your younger members may have never received training on what makes a desirable resume. Your association’s team is full of industry experts who can lend a helping hand to younger members in need of a resume makeover. You can even extend the option to volunteer to your more experienced members. Offer a resume building workshop to members and potential members, and you could see an increase in your younger audience.

You can also try incorporating a job board into your association’s website, giving younger members easy access to industry-specific positions. This is a high value benefit that can make the job search of any member a more enjoyable experience.

There are plenty of other opportunities for your association to provide valuable career resources to younger members. Things like interview practice sessions, mentorship programs, and recommendation letters are all highly recommended benefits to adopt into your membership plan.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you want to get your younger members engaged, you have to get them involved. And here’s the best part – they’re looking to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 63 million Americans gave eight billion hours of volunteer service. With a strong sense of giving back ingrained into our communities, it seems that everyone is looking for a chance to give back, but especially young professionals. They have a strong urge to make a change and to dedicate their time towards a meaningful mission. What better way than to introduce them to your association and its core goals than to provide them with ways to help?

Community level volunteer opportunities are great for local members looking to give back. You can offer up positions to host workshops and events for community members based around your association’s industry. This way, your younger members can interact with the community while engaging with your association’s mission all at the same time.

You can also allow members to host content on your association’s platforms. For younger audiences who are looking for a tech-savvy association to get involved with, this is a bonus. Invite them to lead industry-driven webinars, create insightful written content, or even “takeover” your association’s social media for a certain amount of time. Volunteering not only their time, but their ideas, to your platform will prove to your younger audience that their opinions and beliefs are valid in the eyes of your association.

Young professionals are looking for a place to go for a brighter future. If your association can hone in on what makes it appealing to this audience, it’s sure to attract and engage a younger generation of members for the future.

Author Audra Hopkins is a blogger and inbound marketing specialist for Web Scribble located in Troy, New York. Web Scribble was founded in 2002 to provide the best job board software for associations, publishers, and niche sites.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/PeopleImages

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