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I know, you’re thinking, “How can my association’s Career Center add value to my annual conference?”  A valid question. After all, one exists online and the other at a physical location.

While that is true, stay with me while I share four ways you can connect your association’s Career Center to your annual conference and add value for your members in attendance and sponsors. This addition will help you obtain your goal of making your conference an unforgettable event.

Deliver the Best of the Best

To an employer looking to hire the most qualified candidate available, your annual conference is a potential gold mine. Nowhere will an employer be able to connect with a more concentrated group of dedicated professionals, actively committed to advancing their careers through the professional development and networking opportunities offered at an annual conference. If you factor in the scheduled networking events, those employers get the added bonus of meeting with attendees in a casual atmosphere where they can learn more about a potential candidate outside of a structured interview environment.

Reach Passive Job Seekers

While there may be only a fraction of your members actively looking for a new opportunity at any given time, statistics show that about 75% identify themselves as passive job seekers, and will consider a move if the right job was offered to them. These employees are high performers valued by their current employers who take great effort in taking care of them. They don’t move that often which makes them harder to reach.  The trick is to get in front of them. While the goal is to make your conference valuable for every member in attendance, imagine the kind of impact you could have on their professional lives by connecting them with their next job opportunity while they are in attendance.

Build Your Sponsor Base

Every association has its usual list of potential sponsors they reach out to each year for their conference. Consider for a moment the potential value of looking at the employers already advertising on your Career Center and putting together a sponsorship package built around a career fair held at your conference.

Your conference career fair could represent one of the few times during the year when employers can efficiently enjoy face time with the concentrated volume of highly qualified candidates that make up your association.  Recruiters know they need to utilize many channels to build a pipeline of talent, and a career fair at your conference is potentially a cost effective way to build that pipeline. Even if they aren’t filling specific positions at the time of your event, they may still attend. Being able to promote their employer brand is very important to their success as recruiters.

More than likely you produce some form of a conference program. Consider adding job postings to the program. It will provide those employers willing to pay extra for the exposure they are seeking at your event, and can actually be a great source of additional revenue.

Drive Awareness by Adding Services

We all know an association’s Career Center is both a valuable member benefit and a great source for non-dues revenue. Employers are more than willing to pay you for the opportunity to recruit at your event.  But it also can be a great draw for your event itself.

Considering ramping up interest by adding career focused services like a Certified Career Counselor onsite to help any potential job seekers. In many cases they may be willing to do so at no charge to you in exchange for the exposure they receive to job seekers. They can help with resume critiquing, career counseling, interview tips, etc.  If a job seeker is interested in a more in-depth engagement, they can make that arrangement onsite.

The Bottom Line

Whether you choose to have a booth at your conference to drive awareness by registering members for your job board, or you host a full fledged career fair, making your Career Center a featured part of your conference can increase engagement and add value for your members and sponsors. Impact like that lasts long after everyone has returned home.