Professional Association Job Boards: A Great Bet for Steamlining Your Career Strategy
Besides the Monster.com and TheLadders.com job boards of the world, there’s another type of online job board that I and many of my colleagues have used with great success over the years to find highly qualified job candidates. Many professional associations at the local, state, regional, and national level offer online job boards (or job banks) where employers can post job vacancies and members can post résumés. A smart career strategy includes posting your résumé to these job boards – especially at the local chapter level.
When I worked in the oil exploration industry, I could quickly find highly qualified candidate résumés from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) job bank list serv (way before the Internet was around). Later in my career, it was easy to locate qualified technical and product marketing writers through the local chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) online job bank.
A significant advantage such job boards offer is that some level of candidate prescreening is already addressed, especially at the local level and especially if you are active in the local chapter of that professional association. The probability of a hiring manager being personally familiar with a job candidate is much higher at the local level, especially in tight-knit professional communities. Attending local association meetings is a great way to network with others in your particular field, meet new colleagues, stay in touch with former co-workers, and add to your own technical or professional skills.
Many times I would find more than one qualified individual to bring in for an interview from these local association chapter job banks, and I very likely had worked with many candidates in the past, which made the vetting process quicker and easier since I already had some familiarity with their knowledge, skills, expertise, and likeability.
Here’s what I suggest:
- Join a professional association in your field and get involved with the local chapter by attending meetings, volunteer on a committee, write articles for the chapter newsletter, give chapter presentations.
- Get involved with the professional association on a larger scale, by writing articles for any peer-reviewed journals it publishes and by presenting at regional or national conferences.
- Ensure that the association’s job bank (especially the local branch) has your most recent achievement-focused résumé.
Don’t overlook the job banks in local professional associations; there’s less competition than with the larger generic boards mentioned previously and your name recognition factor will be much higher with hiring managers looking qualified candidates.