Recruiting, engaging, and retaining young professional members continues to be a hot topic. After all, generations do vary, and you can’t just treat them like you would your more senior-level professional members. (Well, you can, but that may not get you very far.)
The one thing all generations of members have in common, though, is this: They ALL want value. It’s just what’s valuable to each generation that varies.
So what’s valuable for young professionals? Materials and services that can help them start building their career - or get their foot in the door, even. You probably have several offerings that align with that already: a mentoring program, networking events, a job board, etc. But the more you can offer, the better. And with that said, you may want to consider creating a “young professionals toolkit.”
Note: This would NOT replace your new member welcome packet. You’d still want to onboard your young professional members just as you would all of your new members, regardless of generation. But think of the young professionals toolkit as an added offering or benefit - just another way to engage your YP members.
The following three resources could be good materials to include:
1. A “networking best practices” tip sheet
Your YP members likely want to network, but let’s face it, networking can be intimidating! (And they’re brand new to this.) Set them up for success by providing them with a networking best practices tip sheet. You could include things like questions to ask and how to appropriately follow up and maintain those relationships.
If they feel comfortable networking, they’re much more likely to register for and attend your events.
2. A “social media best practices” tip sheet
Up until this point, your young professional members have likely used social media for personal reasons exclusively. And that’s not to say they have to change that. But it’s important that they’re aware of how social media can have an impact on them in the real world. Employers are likely to scope out their accounts, so just reminding them of what’s good to have and what’s better to avoid can be helpful. (Think of it as a “Real World-Friendly Social Media Checklist.)
And in that same vein, be sure to emphasize the importance of LinkedIn. This is key for young professionals as they start building their professional brand, expanding their network, and seeking new job opportunities. (But note: If you tell them they should have a LinkedIn account, your organization should have one too! To get one set up and functioning as it should, check out our free guide, The Lowdown on LinkedIn: Best Practices for Your Association or Chamber.)
3. A “resume rules and reminders” tip sheet
Even if your YP members have a job, it may not be the job they really want. Help them get to where they want to be by providing them with a “resume rules and reminders” tip sheet. On it, you could include formatting best practices, skills to include (if they have them, of course), keywords to consider (that aren’t too “buzzwordy”), etc. And for added value, you may even want to put together a similar piece for developing a top-notch cover letter.
Remember, the more value you can provide your YP members, the more engaged they’ll be with your organization and the more likely they are to stay.
For additional tips on recruiting, engaging, and retaining young professional members, check out our free guide, Recruiting Young Professionals for the Long-Haul: A Guide for Associations and Chambers!