Career communities can help you network, build skills and, ultimately, elevate your career. But what exactly are they, what are the benefits to them and how can you join them?
What Is a Career Community?
Career communities consists of groups of individuals — those looking for their first jobs, already working, looking to switch careers, start their own businesses or more — who come together in one place to learn from and teach one another. In short, a career community is a collaborative ecosystem of industry professionals within a learning space.
Tons of colleges and universities, for example, offer career communities for students. For example, Bentley University Career Services "embraces career communities as a model to expand student awareness of the many functional roles, employer organizations and industries that can align with their unique strengths and interests."
In schools, career communities usually consist of groups of students who have career interests that fall into a specific occupational category. These programs are implemented to provide a more targeted approach to guiding students through the career development process.
In the working world, career communities still exist for professionals who've already been through that process. That's because we're always working on our careers and navigating new jobs and, sometimes, even new industries. Some professionals in the same jobs for a long time still look to improve their skills, gain new skills or hone in on certain skills. Or perhaps they have side projects or businesses. Whatever the case, a learning space full of like-minded individuals who can offer advice, guidance and even resources is certainly helpful.
What Are the Benefits of Joining a Career Community?
The benefits of joining a career community are plentiful. Career communities offer a number of resources, as well as advice, motivation and tips for prospective workers and professionals alike. Here are some of the benefits of joining a career community:
- Access to mentors to help guide you through the career development process.
- An outlet to discuss and discover your career interests and goals.
- Specialized services, programs and events designed for networking and skill building.
- Networking opportunities with professionals both inside and outside of your field.
- Skill sharing services to learn from and teach others in the community.
- A support system of advocates for your career growth.
- Advice, how-to and motivational articles to help you answer career questions.
- Q&As with industry professionals to help you answer career questions.
What Are Some of the Best Career Communities?
There are tons of amazing career communities out there from which to choose. And Fairygodboss is one of them!
Born in 2015 while our CEO was interviewing while two months pregnant (and hiding it), Fairygodboss helps women get hard-to-ask questions answered. We help you get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits and work flexibility. We offer company ratings, job listings, discussion boards and career advice.
Ladies Get Paid works with coaches to bring members programming such as workshops, webinars, video content and its podcast, Lady Talk. It also has a town hall that gives women a space to speak up; through this open forum, thousands of women have shared their workplace challenges. On top of all that, Ladies Get Paid also hosts pre-work coffees and post-work drinks on an ongoing basis.
Girlboss' mission is to " redefine success for millennial women by providing the tools and connections they need to own their futures." As such, Girlboss is a community of "strong, curious, and ambitious women redefining success on our own terms." The platform informs, entertains and inspires action through content and experiences.
Mogul touts itself as "a social enterprise that enables women worldwide through information access, economic opportunity and education." Mogul actually partners with Fortune 1000 companies to attract, retain and advance diverse talent. These partners communicate their jobs and internships through employer profiles and access award-winning webinar trainings on everything from Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Leadership to leveraging Safety At Work.
5. Power to Fly
Power to Fly's mission is to help companies that struggle to build diversity across their organizations — especially in technical roles.
"Countless studies have shown that diverse teams perform better than homogeneous ones, but without focused solutions, gender parity throughout the corporate ladder won’t be achieved for 100 years," the platform reads. "Our mission is simple: encourage diversity recruiting and hiring by building the tools and employer branding services that emerging businesses and enterprises need.
Six Degrees Society is a women’s networking group that hosts a diversified series of monthly programming for millennial young professionals. It's more than a networking group, however; it's also an empowering community for women across the country looking to learn new skills. Through a referral program, all attendees are friends of friends of friends and are pre-approved by the community.
BossedUp believes in playing the cards we women have been dealt, while changing the game. Its programs, tools and resources are designed to help women reclaim their power, while being honest about the unjust system in which women are operating.
8. Women 2.0
Women 2.0 is a global brand for women in tech and startups and general diversity & inclusion in the tech industry. According to the site, "with community-based media as [its] backdrop, [Women 2.0] provides action-based, scalable solutions and impact-focused initiatives that close gender gaps and increases D&I, with a particular focus on female-founded and earlier-stage companies."
9. Ada's List
Ada's list is a group of more than 5,000 women (trans, intersex and cis) who, broadly speaking, work in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. It's an email-based community where members can talk off the record about professional, tech and science-related topics; share job listing; announce conference panels and calls for submissions; find talented women to write about; find support; get some informal mentoring and share tech-related event.
10. Career Contessa
Career Contessa is a career site by and for women that helps "women cultivate successful careers through expert advice, interviews and videos, one-on-one mentoring, online skills-based courses and resources, and a curated job board." It also offers on-site talent development programs, educational marketing opportunities and in-depth company profiles.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.