How To Job Hunt Ethically In The Membership Sector When You Are Still In Post

How to job hunt ethically in the membership sector, is a hidden question we often uncover as we talk to talent across the sector. 

For years at membershipbespoke, we have been placing skilled individuals in roles at every organisational level for our clients, and it’s common for candidates to feel on edge and uncomfortable when they are searching for a new role; especially when they are already in a post. 


STOP! Remember People Leave For A Reason


If you have decided to move organisations, there will be some valid reasons concerning why you have made this decision. Though a ‘job for life attitude’, doesn’t truly exist anymore, most people in white collar roles don’t hop from job to job without good reason. 

So, here are the most common catalysts we come across. 

  • No opportunity for growth. 
  • Lack of development 
  • No viable next step up the ladder 
  • Company culture that doesn’t fit with their values 
  • Too much work ( expectations are off) 
  • Too little work (twiddling thumbs and boredom; yes roles like this still exist) 
  • Poor first line manager 
  • …. compounded by lack of flexibility 
  • Terrible commute. 

A quick glance probably doesn’t reveal any main surprises, so now we have that out of the way what next? 


Decide What You Want 

The job market is still in the grip of a skills shortage, and our clients want the best available individuals for their roles. Often the expectation is that someone who is in post, possibly already delivering in a similar role, would be a logical first choice. 

I won’t debate that one here, a subject for another post, though suffice to say clients are keen to talk to candidates who are already employed; having a job while looking for a new role makes you that much more attractive to a potential employer. 

This naturally puts you in a strong position to look around for the membership organisational role you want. 


Keep Quiet! 

I know that Jessica or Jonathan are your best work buddies but don’t say anything to them.  It’s all too easy for a casual remark to slip out unintentionally. 

Our experience is that the fewer people that know, outside of your significant other, the better. 


Be Aware of Everything You Say and Do 

Human beings are also emotional creatures too. If we are unhappy in our place of work or unstimulated, it’s likely going to show. Though you might think you have the most insensitive manager from hell, it might surprise you that they will notice a shift in your behaviour and work out what is going on. 

Being disgruntled or dropping hints about how cheesed off you are is not a good idea. 


Don’t Job Search at Work! 

I know this sounds crazy to mention and some people do surf at work; DON’T! Even though Google has it’s incognito window, it is amazing what Jennie who walks past your desk can spot. 


Don’t Upload Your CV To A Job Board or CV Sharing Portal 



Though this might seem a logical thing to do, it isn’t. You will be approached by unqualified recruiters and potentially employees in your current organisation too. Enough said on this one so let’s move on. 


Lay The Foundations: Update Your CV and Your LinkedIn Profile 

Logical I know, and not everyone thinks to do this. It’s like going on a date and not bothering to look your best! 

If you have been in your current post for a while, it’s likely you won’t have updated the projects or deliverables you are responsible for in your role.  

Remember it’s not only sales people that are asked for their results. Let’s say you are a branch network manager, do you have documented examples of how you both engage, motivate and network with volunteers? 


Make Google Your Friend 

Cycling back to what you want, head over to Google and search. If you are looking for a specific membership role, check out what appears.  

This will give you a sense of what is available in the current market, what experience you will need and then what salary you can expect. 


Contact A Specialist Recruiter 

Shameless plug perhaps and let’s look at the facts. As a candidate with experience, you will be in demand. Unfortunately, this does not always translate to a hiring manager picking up the phone to speak to you; even though you are an experienced manager yourself. 

As you will be aware as a candidate, you don’t pay a fee for career advice from a recruitment company like ourselves. The bonus is that working with a specialist in your sector will save you a lot of time and effort. 

A specialist membership recruiter will have inroads to organisations they have been developing for years. 

Some recruiters will even represent you to companies you would never in normal circumstances call you for an interview; something many candidates don’t appreciate.  

By the way, if you want to know more about this send us a private email here. 


Get Planned and Organised 



Job hunting takes time and effort so plan accordingly. We have already talked about preparing your ‘sales documents’, i.e. your CV and LinkedIn profile ahead of time. 

Free up your diary too. It’s rarely a smart idea to start a new job search then to disappear for two weeks skiing in the alps. 


Maintain Your Excitement 

Though it’s a great feeling to take part in an interview that went well, don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. 

Staying pokerfaced till you see an offer in writing that is what you want, is a much better idea. 


What Next? 

Take action.  

First of all, go and read this post about taking charge of your membership career first. It’s all too easy to jump roles without thought or planning, and our experience as professional recruiters is that this rarely ends well. 

If you are still sure that it’s time for a change, get in touch and let’s see if we can help. 





About membershipbespoke 

The membershipbespoke group remains the only specialist recruitment organisation in the UK, which offers a dedicated service tailored to the needs of Trade Associations, Unions, Professional and Regulatory Bodies.  

We use our considerable expertise in successfully recruiting for positions across every department within a membership context. To find out more call us on 0203 4403653 or email us here. 

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