Recently, we talked about the challenges that smaller towns and cities face, along with their chambers of commerce and local governments, when it comes to attracting and retaining a skilled workforce.
Many municipalities, their leaders, and businesses are working hard to make their communities great places to live and work, and are proud to see their youth achieve success in school and work. But they still struggle with being able to effectively connect those young people with the kinds of opportunities that will allow them to stay there and help grow the businesses that employ them.
So how can a community job board run by a chamber of commerce or municipal government help retain their young, homegrown talent?
To answer that question, we need to look at some key factors that make a community job board successful:
Content & SEO
The first item to address is jobs – if there are no jobs on your community board, no one, young or old, will have a reason to be there. Building relationships with employers is fundamental, and you may want to explore different pricing and business models or incentives for them to advertise their jobs with you.
However, if you’re still building relationships with local employers, a jobs backfill feed can supplement your job content when you’re first getting started, or during times when you anticipate a seasonal dip in job openings.
It’s also important to diversify the content you publish – it can’t only be jobs. Creating or sharing resources like job search help, training and education opportunities, and career development advice can become really valuable to your job seekers, especially if it’s specific to what’s available in their hometown. Highlighting the advantages of living and working in your region, as well as publishing regular spotlights on local employers and their staff, can shed even more light on the opportunities available to your homegrown talent.
With a combination of jobs and other interesting, informative, and entertaining content published as pages or blog posts on your job board, you’ll be not only be providing more value to your community, but also make it more easily found on search engines.
Making sure you have great content, a well-structured website, and that you’re taking advantage of local SEO tools can all help you optimize your community job board for search engines.
No one is an island, especially not in the interconnected social age that we now find ourselves in, so it’s important that your job board find ways to connect to your community through social media. So-called Millennials and Gen-Z are heavy users of social media, and use it for research, personal communication, job searching, and even for community-building.
Letting job seekers use social media to log in or sign up for accounts, and making it easy for anyone to share your jobs with friends and followers via social media are small things that can have a big impact.
Sharing your jobs and other content on your social media accounts (be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) is a fairly simple way to stay in touch with local job seekers and drive them back to your job board on a regular basis. There are plenty of ways to get creative with this, but it’s a fair bet that using social media helps make finding your community’s jobs easier and more convenience for your job seekers.
People in the recruiting industry have been talking about mobile for years, and while I knowingly risk beating a dead horse when I bring it up, it’s still an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to connecting young people with jobs. I’ll just go ahead and quote myself on this point:
It’s not that younger job seekers don’t ever use laptops or desktops, but they are accustomed to accessing tools and resources through their phones, and are more likely to be frustrated when they’re not mobile-friendly or not use those resources at all.
People search for jobs on their mobile phones, especially young people, and it’s not a fad that will go away. It’s crucial for community job boards who want to nurture and retain their young and talented workforce to make their jobs available and accessible to them via mobile.
What’s more, many of your local small- and medium-sized businesses don’t have their own mobile-friendly tools to help them with their recruiting. By providing a mobile-friendly community job board, you’re servicing both those businesses and young workers by helping them connect with each other more easily.
Economic development projects led by chambers of commerce, business associations, and municipal governments can continue to do great work by facilitating connections between young workers and local employers. With the help of modern and mobile-friendly job boards that let them showcase the benefits of living and working in your region, homegrown talent and businesses can help each other thrive.