Association job search, ngo jobs, association, jobs

3 Must Know Association Job Search Tips

Looking for a new association job, or trying to break into the association industry?

Here are a few tips you need to check off your association job search to-do list in order to ensure you’re maximizing your self worth and potential.

If you follow all (or even a few) of these tips, you’ll be on the fast track to landing your first, or a better, higher paying association job.

1. Don’t limit your association job search to your current association job title

There are many different departments in every association and often times they interlope with one another. Why not step outside your comfort zone and transition departments?

Maybe you like your current association but aren’t challenged enough with your job title and duties. Talk to different department heads in your organization, get an understanding of the type of workload and challenges associated with different departments; if you don’t find an opportunity on a different team, at least you’ll have a better idea how you can market your experience to fit a job description in a new role at a different association.

If you’re committed to the association industry, why not switch up your role from Marketing to Government Relations, Membership to Business Development, or Public Relations to Education?

Take a risk and see what happens. you will probably be pleasantly surprised to find out you’re cut out for way more than what you’re doing now.

Plus, if you ever want to be an Executive Director or CEO of an association, a diversified resume will give you some extra points with job hunters. This ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) blog post claims that two thirds of association CEO’s were either internally promoted or job hopped their way up the ladder to an executive role.

To be in the captain of the ship, you’ll need to be fluent in all the moving parts of an association as opposed to a single expertise like government relations or marketing.

2. Fine tune your personal brand by cleaning up your social media

Rule of thumb, pick at least one social media site you regularly post to and keep up with. In association world, Linkedin is a great start.

Check out these 31 job seeker LinkedIn pro tips

Facebook, Twitter, Medium (one of my favorites), Quora and Reddit are all also great places to stay active and maintain your digital brand.

Wondering why keeping up with your digital brand is so important?

Often times one of the first thing an employer will do when they research a candidate is Google their full name. When’s the last time you did that yourself?

You should Google your name right now and decide if you’re content with the search results.

Employers are impressed by thought leadership, professional development and online communication; social media is the first step to branding yourself and wowing employers with your digital footprint.

The best part about all of this is that you can control what they see when they research you online.

You could go above and beyond and start a personal blog where you can showcase your successful career track record and keep up with reasons you’re passionate about the association industry. Association employers find a lot of value in their candidates dedication to the profession. Plus, employers will often times choose candidates who convey concise writing and communications skills over those who don’t.

Wondering how you can launch your own personal blog? is a great place to start. Wix offers simple and intuitive tools to build a website – the best part is that anyone can build a beautifully designed blog, not just coders and programmers.

3. Do more than just apply to the job

The wrong way to go about your association job search: You find a job that interests you, submit your resume and sit around waiting for recruiters to respond.

The right way: Be a proactive job seeker.

What does that mean?

Once you have your digital brand fine tuned, go on Linkedin or Twitter and direct message the HR manager, recruiter or hiring manager; introduce yourself while hinting that you applied for their open association job.

Take it a step further and make yourself known. Share a story or article with them and get them to understand what type of person you are. After all, if they are going to be working with you 7-8 hours a day, you should start by making a lasting impression before the first day on the job.

Read their blog, scan their website – look for areas where you could help improve or figure out some detailed questions to ask during the first few interviews.

Association teams and hiring managers will be impressed if you bring fresh ideas to the table, inquire about specific challenges/opportunities and give some examples about how you can help solve some of their current problems.

Your job history and past performance matter much less when you’re viewed as the proactive candidate who is passionate and eager to serve [enter association name]’s members with a portfolio of potential new initiatives.



If you’re in the process of an association job search right now, challenge yourself to a higher standard. Take the leap and prove to an employer you are cut out for more than your previously held positions.

Do this by branding yourself as a proactive association professional who is passionate about shaping the association industry by providing excellent service to members and constituents.

Start a blog, become more active on social media and share your ideas and thoughts more often.

Make yourself known.

Career, Job Search