Young Professional Networks

Although the economy has shown continued growth since the Great Recession of 2008, Millennials continue to struggle with securing full-time employment. According to statistics from August, the unemployment rate for 18-29 year-olds has averaged nearly 12 percent. Those numbers are bleaker when discussing college-educated Millennials; 53% of college-educated Millennials are either jobless or underemployed, and only 30% feel that their job correlates to their long term goals.

So, what does this mean for your organization, and how can your organization connect with these young, educated adults?

Young Professional Networks! Simply put, a young professional network or group is an outlet that provides networking, professional development, and volunteer opportunities for motivated young professionals.

It’s a no brainer that your organization should consider starting a young professional network.

The 2012 Millennial Impact Report surveyed thousands of Millennials about their interest in young professional networks and found that the top three reasons Millennials join professional networks are: interest in the mission and cause; social and professional networking; and, professional development.

Benefits for your organization:

  • Access to educated, skilled volunteers looking to expand their network and expertise.
  • Access to young professionals and their network. Although they may lack capacity to give to your organization, Millennials are great “movers and shakers.”  They likely know, or know someone, who can connect to those donors you have been trying to meet.
  • Fresh blood! Young professionals from outside of your organization bring in new ideas and talents to tackle the problems in your community.

Benefits for young professionals:

  • Access to your organization and network.  This is extremely helpful to young professionals looking for employment or professional references.
  • Resume builder. Completing a significant project for your organization is a great way for young professionals to demonstrate they have the skills to succeed.
  • Opportunity to use and develop skills related to their desired career goal. With a great number of Millennials underemployed, young professional networks allow Millennials the opportunity to continue using the knowledge they gained during college.

Tips for developing your young professional network:

  • Millennials are more than social media users. Develop projects or assignments that add value and produce tangible outcomes for the organization.
  • Small organization? Consider collaborating with similar organizations to develop a young professional network that will work on a project beneficial to all parties.
  • Be sure that your organization has the capacity to manage a young professional network. Think about extra costs, staff responsibility, meeting locations, etc.

Does your organization already have a young professional network? Have you tried to start a young professional network in the past?

Comment below and let me know about your experiences.