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Strategies for Effectively Engaging Your Chapter's Job Transition Community

Claire Motz:
Suzanne Buzek:

Almost every marketer experiences a job transition at some point during their career. It’s practically a rite of passage. While the AMA is fertile ground for those seeking to level up their skills and learn or share best practices within their marketing discipline, the networking and career development opportunities that can manifest in an AMA membership can make periods of job transition not just bearable but exciting periods of professional and personal growth.

Below are some approaches and perspectives for chapters to consider to effectively engage and provide value for the job transition community in their respective city or region.

Build career development into chapter programming

Whether stated or in stealth, there are always at least a few people in transition and seeking their next role attending AMA Cincinnati events. Some may be fresh off a layoff and fear making networking conversations awkward by disclosing their situation. Some may feel new to the industry and too uncouth to “talk shop” with other attendees, so they may sit quietly until it’s time for the speaker to take the stage. Or some may be unhappy with their current professional situation and are trying to work the room as efficiently as possible.

You can have any combination of the above circumstances and attitudes walking through the door at an event, so fostering a welcoming environment and a “safe space” for attendees to be honest as they meet or reconnect with fellow attendees is essential. This doesn’t have to be overstated but rather demonstrated. Board, partner, and volunteer engagement can be beneficial here. These are built-in “ambassadors” who can be intentional about looking out for someone new or introducing a hiring manager or recruiter to someone who shares they are looking for their next role, and so on. If the resources are unavailable, something as simple as cards with conversation starters strategically placed at tables or near refreshments can help break the ice.

Finally, encourage speakers to prompt attendees to write down or discuss with those around them what they learned at the event that they are going to take back into their work or career. Regardless of the topic, prompting attendees to process just one learning with a fellow attendee can build trust and relationships.

Engage the Recruiter Community

Whether in-house, staffing agency or executive search, the recruiter community holds high potential for alignment with the AMA community. Many individual recruiters focus specifically on marketing professionals, and there are also staffing and search firms that do as well. There are many opportunities to get them involved in Chapter initiatives. For example, a recruiter can be an amazing addition to the Board as the Volunteer Chair (we call our Volunteer lead the VP of Talent Management). Sponsorship (or Partnership) is also an area full of potential. One of AMA Cincinnati’s most engaged sponsoring partners is TCG (The Creative Group), a marketing and creative division of Robert Half. TCG serves as an active ambassador, attending almost every event and facilitating networking among members, guests, job seekers, and hiring managers.

Consider the viability of a Job Transition Group.

Among the five professional Communities (formerly called Shared Interest Groups) in our chapter (AMA Cincinnati), there is one that has been a staple for our chapter for more than a decade. We call it our Job Transition Group. It is free for all marketers to attend, regardless of AMA membership status. We estimate that the Job Transition Group alone has positively impacted nearly 2,400 Cincinnati marketing professionals (average attendance of 20 x 12 months x 10 years).

What’s the secret to a well-run Job Transition Group? Consistent and passionate leadership and management. Our Job Transition Group’s founder is truly invested in this group’s mission, and we believe that makes all the difference. When managed consistently and passionately by a well-connected leader (or pair of co-leaders), a Job Transition Group can strengthen the chapter’s reputation and culture for creating opportunities and a safe space for those in job transition. If viable and feasible for your chapter, it can become a feeder for potential members, volunteers, or partners.

Connect and include multiple — better yet, all — audiences

One of the most important audiences related to Career development is the enlightened initiates: the young professionals (YP) and students in our marketing communities. One evolution we at AMA Cincinnati are proud of over the past several years is that, while we have a robust YP presence in our region, let alone in our AMA membership, YP programming is not exclusively for YPs and students. The YP/Collegiate committee takes the lead on planning events and programming, but the events and meetups are widely promoted and intentionally marketed to all audiences. Whether it’s a laid-back social at a trendy bar that just opened, a recruiter panel, or a speed networking event, broad access and intentional direct outreach and invitations to various backgrounds, demographic makeup, and professional experiences help everyone get the most out of events.

Look at the universities and collegiate AMA chapters in your region. Does your chapter have a burgeoning population of YPs and students? If so, how do they engage (or not engage) with your AMA chapter? Is it viable to get members interacting with students on campus or invite students to chapter events? Are there unique destinations, meetup sports, or activities that can bring members, students, and young professionals together that your chapter can capitalize on? While it takes some concentrated, direct outreach and relationship development, these efforts pay off.

Have a job board, but keep it active

Although we are focusing on “Beyond the Job Board,” it’s important to note that the Job Board is still in demand. It benefits member companies and sponsors seeking more exposure as they hire new talent as a resourceful tool. If connected to the chapter website, it can improve the website’s performance from an SEO perspective.

While a job board is incredibly valuable, it’s only as good as its postings. You can keep it fresh by being diligent about deleting roles that become filled and even featuring a job or two per week in chapter emails or social media channels. Weaving it into chapter communications can keep it top of mind for hiring and seeking a new position.

As you can see, there is no one way to engage job seekers or those who may be in job transition in your region’s marketing community. Hopefully, you will find some of these approaches helpful as you strive to provide value for your members and expand your chapter’s local impact.