Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How Do I Get Hired at an Association?

One of the things I love about being in business for myself is that I constantly can create my own opportunities.  The job market is tough out there and I don't envy anyone looking for a job right now.  However, the nonprofit or association sector is not always considered by job seekers and it should be.  Even in a bad economy, nonprofits and associations can offer tremendous opportunties.  Charlotte Weeks offers advice for job seekers for the nonprofit sectors, however, her advice can apply to all job seekers.  Bunnie

How Do I Get Hired at an Association?
by Charlotte Weeks, Weeks Career Services Inc.

I am a HUGE fan of associations as employers. Generally they pay very competitive wages, treat their employees well, and drive social change. Plus, there’s a focus for just about every interest. So how do you go about getting a job at one of these amazing places?

One of the great things about associations is that they often have something for everyone. If you’re in IT, finance, marketing, management, or administrative work, chances are there’s a position for you. Of course it depends on the specific organization (obviously larger ones have more opportunities), but overall they offer many options.

Once you know the type of role you’d like to target, the next step is to put together a job search strategy. The specifics will vary depending on the person and their goals, but in general you’ll want to do a mix of the following:

1) Network: Most have heard by now that this is the #1 way to get a job. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the slowest, which is why it’s a good idea to work on keeping your network active at all times. Wherever you’re at in your search, targeted networking is the way to go. Spend the bulk of your job search time meeting people who are in a position to hire you, or who can influence those that can.

2) Targeted Company Campaign: Surprisingly, one of the most effective ways to find a job is to identify associations you’d like to work for and apply, WHETHER THEY ARE HIRING OR NOT. Many of my clients are shocked by this method, as it seems to be such a long shot. However, the results can be astounding, especially when this tactic is combined with networking.

3) Recruiters: Approximately 15-20% of positions are found through recruiters. Since they work for companies and not candidates, you may wonder how to get in touch with one. There are basically three ways:

a) First, a recruiter may contact you directly after finding you through contacts or online (LinkedIn specifically being a huge source of recruiter candidates).

b) Second, you can proactively find recruiters yourself through networking events or direct outreach.

c) Lastly, you can send your resume out through a reputable recruiter distribution service.

4) Applying to open positions: It shocks many people to find that this is the LEAST effective way to find a job-only about 10% of people are successful. While it should still be a part of your job search strategy, it’s recommended you spend no more than one hour a day on this method.

As targeted job searches are most effective, remember to keep the end goal in mind at all times. When you network, go to where association employees will be; find recruiters who have clients at these places; and go to industry niche boards instead of those that post for everything.

Though there are always exceptions, these methods have been proven over and over again, and WILL lead you to your next association position.

Charlotte Weeks, CCMC, NCRW, and CPRW helps mission-driven executives find their passion and land at the top! Her association background includes working in human resources at the American Medical Association and leading The National Resume Writers’ Association as president. Charlotte provides comprehensive career coaching and resume services for association managers and executives, and is currently developing an information product line to further help them in their careers. She has been featured in the media multiple times, including in CEO Update, WGN-TV, Yahoo! HotJobs, and Men’s Health Magazine. To receive the free report "The 5 Most Difficult Interview Questions and How to Answer Them!" sign up here:

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