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Can the Association Do What Our Government Hasn’t Been Able To?


skillsGAP resized 600  The ASAE Foundation Research Committee is considering the following question: How often do employers consider the industry training and certifications offered to association members when evaluating candidates for job openings? This question is being considered for a research study to understand what types of professional/career development options are provided, how employers perceive the value of the training and where opportunities exist in order to fill the “skills gap” that exist across the country.

Further, the ASAE Foundation Committee hopes to determine the responsibility and opportunity that exist for Associations to provide:

  • Industry-specific skills training

  • Content related to industry trends

  • General and "soft-skills" training (e.g. critical thinking, basic data analysis, public speaking, management and leadership)

According to the US Bureau of Labor and statistics, at the start of 2014 there were nearly 4.3 million workers displaced in the US. Of these, nearly 30% remained either unemployed or underemployed at the end of 2014. This troublesome when the total number of job openings in the US at the end of 2014 was nearly 5 million. The US Government has attempted to close this gap for four decades by passing multiple pieces of legislation but the issue continues to exist. Today, more than 50 pieces of legislation are being considered by Congress. Judging by the disparity between the number of displaced workers in the US and the number of open position it doesn’t appear that our government has been able to come up with a legislative solution. Is the taxpayer money used to fund these legislative initiatives being well spent?

Associations offer industry training and certifications for its members but it is unclear how much value is placed on these trainings and certifications by employers. Could the Association be a logical source of additional training that isn’t directly related to the industry? Many employers realize that they can hire employees with the most certifications but if the employee lacks skills/training in areas such as management, public speaking, leadership, etc. they may need to continue evaluating candidates for their positions. This research by ASAE could help the Association to develop well-rounded education programs for the Associations’ members.

If you’d like to share your thoughts on this research proposal please visit the discussion group started by Pauline Karpowicz. You’ll need to be able to login as an ASAE member but if you aren’t a member, feel free to send an email to and we will share your feedback on your behalf. 

An open letter to Boxwood clients and friends


Well, friends, I have some really exciting news to share with you…

I’m delighted to announce our recent acquisition by Naylor, LLC.!

As of Friday, April 25th, Boxwood Technology is officially part of the dynamic Naylor family of businesses. As a leading provider of print and digital media, event management and marketing services to associations, the synergies and opportunities of Boxwood and Naylor joining forces were just too great to ignore. The benefits for our collective association clients will be amazing. But more about the business aspects in a later post.

Right now, however, I just want to speak on a more personal level. Of course I find the acquisition truly exciting, and after 12 years, it's incredibly fulfilling to see the Boxwood brand and business expand, grow and move on to the next level.

Being a part of the association community for so long, working at Boxwood with our dedicated employees, our incredibly loyal customers—an industry full of people I'm happy to call friends — I consider myself incredibly fortunate when I look back at the past 12 years. To me, Boxwood is more than a just career. I'm proud of the business we've grown and proud to have its successes recognized and appreciated by an organization as impressive and multi-faceted as Naylor.

I truly believe everyone who makes up our vibrant Boxwood family — especially our incredible customers — are in for a very bright, very successful future together.  I look forward to sharing continued updates with you.

Onward and upward!
c smith first sig

Take 5 for Best Practices

Job Posting Tips - Content for Your Employers

A well written job description can help snag the right candidate for the job. The job description is your employer’s introduction to the candidate, so it should be clear, concise and free of any grammatical or spelling errors.

Here are five lessons for your employers to learn about creating effective job descriptions. 
  1. The devil is in the details. Things to include:
  • Job title
  • Department
  • Location of the position (if there are multiple locations)
  • Title of supervisor
  • Pay grade or level (if your company has this)
  • Type of employment, such as full-time versus part-time
  • FLSA status (exempt versus non-exempt)

  1. Compete for the total package.   Remember that your competitors are out there describing their workplace as the best.  What sets you apart as an employer? Are there special benefits?  Determine what you have to offer so that you can attract the candidate you need to meet your business needs.

  1. Don’t worry about pedigree.  In today’s job market the workers are typically highly skilled and qualified.  Don’t discount a candidate because they have a bachelor’s degree and not a master’s.  Often times those with more on the job experience can bring a lot to the table and ensure that your organization is setup for success.

  1. Must have vs. Nice to have. Perhaps you’ve crafted your dream candidate in your head, but do they truly exist? Consider making a list of must haves and nice to haves.  Remember some skills are quickly and easily obtained.

  1. Reporting for duty. Certain decision points go behind applying for a position.  If the position that you’re hiring for is reporting directly to the CEO, President or C-level management.  Let candidates know this critical information to attract the right talent.

Two ways to SHARE these lessons with your registered employers!
  1. Download a list of active employers in the Client Management System. By sending these tips to your employers you will be able to remind them of the value of your career center.

  2. Get your IT Department to post these tips as an article for employers on your career center Splash Page.

Rose Tinted Glasses


Content for Recruiters

Too many employers these days are wearing rose tinted glasses.  They think their employment brand is what they say about their values, benefits and work experience.  It isn’t.  If you look at an organization through the critical lens of top talent, an organization’s brand isn’t words, it’s deeds.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Having a written employment brand statement is very important.  It is, however, only half of your employment brand, at least for high caliber candidates.

You see, the best talent are good consumers.  In other words, they expect a vendor or an employer to create a brand that magnifies what’s best about their product or employment experience.

The vendor’s or employer’s definition of what’s best, however, may not be the same as theirs.  So, what do they do?  They test drive or try out whatever they’re being offered.

Now, that’s relatively easy to do for a car or a flat screen TV, but it’s much more difficult when you’re trying to evaluate an employer.  With the exception of intern programs, there’s simply no way to get a realistic look at what it’s like to work for an organization.

So, what does the best talent do?  They create a surrogate.  They use the employer’s recruiting process to gauge its employment experience.  In essence, the best talent believe that the way they are treated as candidates is a good approximation of how they will be treated as employees.

Optimizing the Candidate Experience

That simple truism is the principal reason for all of the recent concern about “optimizing the candidate experience.”  More than well written job postings, more than a cool career area on your corporate Web-site, more than a scintillating social media program, putting your organizational best foot forward during your recruiting process will spell the difference between winning and losing the War for the Best Talent.

So, how do you optimize the candidate’s experience?  Simple, you walk the talk.

You set expectations with your brand statement about what it will be like to work for your employer AND you illustrate that experience with the organizational structure and employee behaviors that characterize your recruiting process.  You make sure that everything that’s said and done to evaluate the candidate ALSO illustrates your employer’s core values and culture.  Or to put it another way, you take off your rose tinted glasses and make sure you look your best through the critical lens of top talent.

Thanks for Reading,


Visit me at

Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream, The Career Fitness Workbook: How to Find, Win & Hang Onto the Job of Your Dreams, The Career Activist Republic, The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired & Not Be Fired, and WEDDLE’s Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet.  Get them at and at the all new today.


Take 5 for Hiring Demand

December Conference Board Report

According to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL), online advertised vacancies increased to 5,297,100 for the month of December – up 125,600.

“In 2013, labor demand in the first half of the year was flat but was more upbeat in the last six months with gains in a number of occupations.  These gains have helped whittle the unemployment number as more and more workers found employment,” said June Shelp, Vice President of The Conference Board.

Occupational Highlights for December

  • Management occupations increased by 22,400 due to a higher demand for Elementary School Education Administrators, Secondary School Education Administrators, Treasurers and Controllers.
  • Business and Financial occupations improved by 14,100 due to increased demand for Personal Financial Advisors and Tax Preparers.
  • Sales and Related occupations were up 13,400 due to the demand for Other Sales and Related Workers and Sales Engineers. 

Recap by Region

The West experienced the largest increase in online labor demand. 

  • California experienced the largest gain with 22,700.
  • Washington (+3,000)
  • Colorado (+1,100)
  • Arizona (+200)
  • Nevada (+2,200)
  • Alaska (+1,400)
  • Oregon (decreased 900)
  • Utah (decreased 300)

Michigan had the largest increase in online labor demand for the Midwest with 9,100.

  • Ohio (+7,100)
  • Minnesota (+6,100)
  • Illinois (+4,400)
  • Missouri (+1,400)
  • Wisconsin (decreased 3,500)
  • Kansas (+2,100)
  • Indiana (+2,000)
  • West Virginia (+1,400)
  • North Dakota (+400)

The largest gain in the Northeast occurred in the state of New Jersey with a 10,800 increase in online labor demand. 

  • Massachusetts (+6,200)
  • New York (+4,800)
  • Pennsylvania (+1,000)
  • Maine (+2,100)
  • Rhode Island (+1,500)
  • Connecticut (+1,300)
  • New Hampshire (+1,200)

Lastly, the state of Florida showed the largest increase for the South with an increase of 6,000.

  • Texas (+5,200)
  • Georgia (+3,400)
  • Maryland (+800)
  • North Carolina (+500)
  • Virginia (decreased 1,500)
  • Tennessee (+1,600)
  • Louisiana (decreased 800)
  • South Carolina (decreased 800)
  • Arkansas (decreased 600)


Source:  The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine Data Series (HWOL)

The Affordable Career Act


Content for Job Seekers

With all of the talk about the Affordable Care Act, preserving our physical health is on almost everybody’s mind.  While that’s certainly appropriate, ensuring the health of your career is just as central to your well being.  Indeed, the single best way to find a new or better job is to conduct your search with a strong and vital career.

In today’s highly competitive job market, you can have the best written resume on the planet, you can be a black belt networker on LinkedIn, you can interview like a champion and still not get a job offer.  To put it bluntly, knowing how to conduct a job search is not enough to get you a job.

Why?  Because employers are now looking for a different kind of candidate.  Although it’s seldom expressed in their job postings, employers are no longer satisfied with people who can do a job.  They want people who will excel at it.  And, to excel on-the-job, you have to achieve and maintain occupational strength, reach and endurance.

I call that commitment to self-development the practice of “career fitness.”  It is now as integral to finding a new job as traditional job search tactics.

What’s involved in building up your career fitness?  First, you have to see yourself differently and then you have to become that new person.  It sounds like a lot, and I’m not going to insult you by telling you it’s not.  Achieving and maintaining career fitness is a big undertaking, but it’s also the only way you have a real shot at winning your dream job.

The New You

Today’s global marketplace is roiling with new technology, new practices and procedures, new strategies and tactics, new competitors and market dynamics.  To survive let alone prosper in this ever-morphing environment, employers need workers who are themselves constantly evolving.  Jobs are changing at warp speed, and employers want workers who can keep up.

In the past, employers sought candidates who were as complete as possible.  They had a full set of skills and knowledge to do a job.  Now, employers want candidates who see themselves as a “work in progress.”  These individuals accept responsibility for keeping their skill set and knowledge aligned with the new jobs being created, so they are always able to excel.

To become a work-in-progress, you must add two new facets to your job search:

  • #1. Regardless of your seniority, experience and academic degree, you must enroll in an educational program that will expand or repair your occupational capabilities.  You should then feature that self developmental commitment on your resume.
  • #2. Regardless of the stress and wear and tear it imposes, you must apply your current and new capabilities in some sort of volunteer or similar employment situation.  And, you should also feature that commitment to work and contribution on your resume.

That’s the Affordable Career Act – a proactive program for managing the health of your own career.  If the Affordable Care Act is known as “Obamacare,” this activity is best described as “Youcare.”

Thanks for Reading,


Visit me at

Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream, The Career Fitness Workbook: How to Find, Win & Hang Onto the Job of Your Dreams, The Career Activist Republic, The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired & Not Be Fired, and WEDDLE’s Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet.  Get them at and at the all new today.

Take 5 for Positioning


New Year, New Reminder

An association possesses something that other job boards don’t:  a targeted pool of qualified industry professionals.  As a result, your association can offer a much stronger value proposition than a commercial job board. 

Chances are that many of your marketing efforts towards the end of last year revolved around aggressive marketing campaigns in order to play up key features, year-end discounts and impressive statistics for those last chance 2013 recruitment needs.  Now that 2014 is here, it’s time to get back to the basics and remind employers why association job boards are ideal for locating the best industry talent. 

For January, we challenge your association to take a step back and focus on selling (or re-selling) current and prospective employers on why posting to a niche job board is a more effective way to target and recruit qualified professionals in your industry.  To kick off the New Year, allow yourself to take a simpler approach to career center marketing and highlight a few of the reasons why posting to an association job board is better. 

Unlike commercial job boards where hundreds of unqualified candidates may apply, a niche job board directly connects qualified industry talent to employers, so those who do apply will be much more likely to match their requirements. The goal of commercial job boards is to achieve a larger volume of resumes to attract more job postings, while niche boards work towards attracting candidates that are the most relevant to the positions that are posted.

Branding Opportunities
Both job listings and posting enhancements such as Featured Job Packages and banner advertisements tend to get lost on commercial job boards. Not only are your corporate members competing with other industry employers, but they are also thrown into the mix with listings and advertising enhancements from irrelevant fields, making it more difficult to build a brand among the people they are trying to reach.

Elite Talent
Employers need to recognize that members of a professional association represent elite talent. When posting to a niche job board, hiring managers can be assured that they are selecting from the largest pool of candidates with certifications, extensive training and knowledge available. It’s a fact ‒ workers engaged with their industry’s associations tend to be more involved and interested in their careers ‒ your job board attracts those types of professionals!

Reinvest in the Community
Job postings on niche sites allow corporate members to reinvest in the community since revenue generated from the career center stays with your association. This leads to funding scholarships and education programs and initiatives that will provide a wider range of relevant, high-quality talent nationwide.



Take 5 for Competition


Job Posting Add-Ons that Enhance Your Value

Employer Offerings

An online job posting is just one of many ways for your association to generate additional non-dues revenue.  As your partner, Boxwood has a full suite of job posting enhancements that were designed for the unique needs of employers.  Expanding your career center beyond the standard job posting capabilities offers employers more variety and provides an additional return on investment for their recruiting dollars. 

Consider adding one of the following advertising enhancements to your career center:

Featured Job
It’s a fact ‒ jobs featured in search results receive twice as many detailed page views and apply clicks.  A Featured Job is highlighted in a yellow box and listed as “Featured” on the job seeker search results page for additional exposure.

Brand2Recruit allows the employer to obtain even more resumes, attract passive job seekers, and build a strong brand among the types of candidates they are trying to reach.  This package distinguishes a particular employer among others by providing information about the organization that attracts top quality job seekers.  Brand2Recruit includes the following: 

  • A banner advertisement that randomly rotates in job seeker search results and links to a company profile page

  • A company profile page that allows the employer to include more information about the company, benefits, awards, etc.

  • A link to all jobs that are currently posted by the employer on the company profile page

  • Company logo placed within the profile page

  • A link to a company video (if provided by the employer)

Talent Blast
Talent Blast allows employers to get maximum exposure and up to 4 times the qualified response with one single job posting.  This enhancement combines sophisticated posting optimization (SEO) and targeted ad campaign management (SEM) to hundreds of additional job sites, providing ultimate exposure and performance that results in more qualified applicants for a job.

  • The job posting is optimized (SEO ) to rank higher in search results for better visibility on job aggregator sites and job search engines

  • The job posting is distributed to hundreds of additional relevant job boards including vertical sites, regional sites, diversity sites, and even social networks as part of paid ad campaigns (SEM)

  • SEO and SEM ad campaigns are monitored and adjusted in real-time to achieve the best performance possible

  • The job posting is sent to passive job seekers from a national database who match the requirements of the employer

Now more than ever, employers have an even greater need to shorten the recruitment cycle and find talent even faster.  Advertising enhancements ensure that your employers gain recognition by increasing the visibility of their jobs.  Not only do these offerings benefit the employer, but it also allows your association to add an additional stream of revenue and enhance the value of


Weddle's Content: Game Changers


Content for Recruiters

In this season of football, basketball and hockey, there is a lot of talk about game changers – the individuals who, more often than not, spell the difference between victory and defeat.  They are every team’s dream player and, in every other facet of the economy, they are every employer’s dream new hire.  The goal of recruiting, therefore, should be to recruit more game changers than the competition.

While recruiters have always focused on the best talent, it would be a mistake to describe game changers as “A” level performers.  They are much more.  They not only excel at their own work; they raise the level of work done by everyone else around them.  They change the game because they turn the team – or the business – into an “A” level performer.

So, where do you find these game changers and how do you recruit them?  In my book, The Career Activist Republic, I introduce a number of concepts for identifying and engaging these extraordinary individuals – men and women who are best described not by their impact, but by their defining characteristics.

Concept #1: Focus your time and effort where it is likely to have the greatest payoff.

It is, of course, both politically correct and accurate to acknowledge the presence of game changers among active job seekers.  However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, at any point in time, just 16 percent of the American workforce is actively in transition.  In other words, four-fifths of the workforce is composed of what is conventionally known as “passive job seekers.”  And, the probability is simply much higher that you will find the game changers you need in that larger group.

Concept #2: Recognize (and accept) that passive job seekers aren’t job seekers at all.

The 84 percent of the workforce who are not actively engaged in a job search are “prospects.” They aren’t seeking a job or a change in employer.  They don’t visit corporate career sites or job boards unless they are drawn to those locations by something they value.  What do these passive prospects value?  Anything that will make them better.  They may not be job seekers, but they are always looking for ways to advance in their field.  That’s why I call them “career activists.”  They can be activated to consider employment opportunities by content they find useful.

Concept #3: Use a pull-pull approach when developing content for career activists.

First, transform your career site into a center of excellence for career advancement by featuring one or both of two kinds of content:

  • Content that will help these game changers manage their career effectively – set appropriate goals, deal with problem bosses – not conduct a job search – write a resume, take an interview.


  • Content that will enhance their knowledge, skills, credentials or market awareness so they are able to compete successfully for ever more challenging and rewarding employment opportunities.

Then promote that content to pull the right passive prospects to your site.

Second, transform your job postings into electronic sales brochures targeted directly at game changers.  These individuals don’t care about the “requirements and responsibilities” of a job; they want to know the answers to five questions:

  • What will they get to do?

  • What will they get to learn?

  • What will they get to accomplish?

  • With whom with they get to work?

  • How will they be recognized and rewarded?

This content is the best way to pull passive prospects into an active state or what is commonly called an applicant.

Game changers are the key to victory in today’s highly competitive global economy, but game changers can’t be recruited with traditional strategies and tactics.  What’s required, instead, is a focus on that segment of the workforce where there is the highest probability of success, an understanding of this population’s unique interests, and techniques that leverage those interests to pull them into the enterprise.

Thanks for reading,


Visit the all new

Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream, The Career Fitness Workbook: How to Find, Win & Hang Onto the Job of Your Dreams, The Career Activist Republic, The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired & Not Be Fired, and WEDDLE’s Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet.  Get them at and at the all new today.



Weddle's Content: The 2013 Happy Job Seeker List


Content for Job Seekers

Wish lists are big this time of year, not only among kids and parents, but among employers, as well. Organizations are looking ahead to 2014 and hoping they'll find just the right kind of talent to meet or exceed their business goals. Knowing what's on those wish lists, therefore, is a critical component of any successful job search.

Not all employer wish lists are the same, of course, but as with kids, there are certain "must haves" that appear on almost every organization's list. What are this year's favorites? Well, there are a number of old standbys and a couple of new additions that are sure to put a big smile on just about any recruiter's face. And, here's the top five on this year's Happy Job Search List.

1. State-of-the-art knowledge and skills.

Employers are no longer competing against cheaper labor, but against smarter labor throughout the global marketplace. How can you wrap yourself up as a smarter job seeker? Enroll in an academic program or certification-granting training course in your field and add that ongoing education to your resume. Prove to employers that you see yourself as a "work-in-progress," not someone whose expiration date has passed.

2. The ability to contribute to the organization’s success.

Employers no longer need people who can do the work; they need those who will excel at it.  How can you put a bow on your ability to make such a contribution?  Help others be successful in their jobs.  Find one or two blogs, discussion forums or other online venues where you can share your expertise with others in your field and then contribute regularly.  Those you assist just might turn out to be people who are looking for great coworkers to refer to their employer.

3. A flexible approach to work and employment.

Change is the new norm in business, so employers’ workplace needs are constantly in flux.  How can you avoid being seen as someone who’s stuck in a rigid box?  Do your homework on the strategies being used in your field to reduce costs and improve productivity (e.g., telecommuting, virtual organizations) and make the effort to get yourself (and your family) comfortable with them.  Then, signal that flexibility on your resume.

4. The capacity to work in a wide range of situations and circumstances.

In these days of lean staffing, employers need multidisciplinary workers who can perform competently in different assignments.  How can you celebrate your good will toward organizations that make such adjustments?  Acquire ancillary skills (e.g., the ability to speak a second language, knowledge of new software programs) that enable you to pinch-hit for another employee or excel at more than one job and promote that capability to employers.

5. The dedication and competence to bring originality and creativity to your work.

Employers know that what wins in today’s competitive economy is innovation in product or service design, development, sales and marketing, delivery, execution and support.  How can you prove you’re not regifting the same, old capabilities that have always been used in your field, but instead bring an original spark to the job?  Create a “smart resume” which highlights both your quantitative accomplishments and your imagination – the ingenuity you use to achieve them.

Employers know that they’re unlikely to get everything on their wish list when recruiting for their openings.  However, the more of those gifts you offer in your job search, the more likely it is an employer will grant you your wish and offer you a great job.

Thanks for reading,


Visit me at the all new

Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream, The Career Fitness Workbook: How to Find, Win & Hang Onto the Job of Your Dreams, The Career Activist Republic, The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired & Not Be Fired, and WEDDLE’s Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet.  Get them at and at the all new today.


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