The career trajectory of a membership professional can be challenging and comes with an expectation that you have acquired expertise in marketing, membership engagement, business development, customer retention and soft skills including management. When you do attain proficiency in these skills, it is notable that within the membership sector that progression is not guaranteed. We often see candidates leaving organisations that they are passionate about citing the need to seek professional development!

Stop and think! You need to consider where you really want to be and try to position yourself for that elusive promotion.  It will mean conducting some research and analysis, and creating a career development plan for yourself and gaining the support of those that can help you!

Assess your current performance 

Never complete just the bare minimum or accept average! Staff who consistently achieve outstanding or exceptional work are those that are highlighted and praised by senior management.  Assess the results that you achieve currently and look for ways in which you can go above and beyond demonstrating the value that you add to your organisation.

Conduct research – what does your future role look like

Locate the job description of the job that you really want.  If the role isn’t live, speak to HR in confidence or look online to find similar roles at other membership organisations.  If you are a member of the MemberWise community you will also have access to industry standard job descriptions for all roles

Get familiar with the “actual” job requirements 

Review the job description, identify the requirements needed and undertake a gap analysis: review each requirement and compare it to your own skills, knowledge and experience. Establish all the areas where you feel that you don’t meet the minimum requirements and create a list of professional development goals.

Create your career development plan. 

Your professional development goals therefore become a plan of action, e.g. if you don’t have enough people management experience,  volunteer to lead or establish project teams to gain exposure and prove your leadership capability. Don’t forget: some of the development opportunities may come outside of the workplace – think about what networks and groups you may be involved in that will support this development.

Seek constructive feedback 

Get advice from role models and peers who are successful (ideally in your target role) at other organisations. Attend networking events such as MEMX2019 and hear the words of experienced professionals, gain access to exciting case studies and the professionals themselves. Let them know you’re interested in what they do and would appreciate feedback. Walk them through where you are today, the job you want, your gap analysis and your career development plan.

Get ready to present “The Plan”

Once you’ve worked through the previous steps, arrange a time to meet with your line manager to discuss your career aspirations.  Be clear about why you are meeting. Set an agenda. Share your career development plan, asking for feedback on other actions you can take to better position yourself for that future promotion. Ask for their support in your quest to continue learning and developing in your career.

For further advice on seeking your next step and to discuss the current recruitment market please do not hesitate to contact Francesca Lord or the team at Hunter Merrifield on 0207 759 7929 or Francesca has 15 years experience recruiting within the membership sector and is working to see Membership recognised as an exciting and rewarding career choice supported with continued professional development.


Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash