Building a community can enhance your resume for a leadership role, communications job, and more… but it’s important to remember that building a community isn’t a stand-alone skill.
It’s the skills you’ve gained in community building that will lead you to your dream job.
Examples of Community Building Skills
Community building is a set of skills. These include:
Leadership isn’t about having power over other people – it’s about the ability to motivate and inspire others. The first thing many employers look for in a new leader is the ability to inspire teams or audiences and connect with others. Employers want leaders who can build trust and community engagement.
People with strong communication skills are good leaders because they understand how to connect with others and work as part of a team.
Leaders must’ve solid values and be trustworthy because you can’t lead effectively if your community group members don’t believe you’re doing what’s best for them.
Honesty is essential because it creates an environment where group members feel safe enough to raise issues or concerns, rather than hiding them so they don’t damage relationships and collective action.
Building a community needs everyone’s input. Your team should have a voice in decision-making. They’ve valuable information about their respective departments. You must use this information to apply best business practices. To do this, you need to create a positive work environment for your community members where they feel comfortable sharing their opinions with you and each other.
The most successful community builders know that collaboration is the key to success. There are no lone wolves in this industry. Employers typically want someone who’s able to get results, and no results come without brainstorming and collaboration.
Related: How to Build a Global Community
Community development work is about communicating with people (group members, community partners, etc.), knowing the community needs, and recognizing when human services are needed.
Treat your community members as you’d any other valued customer – with honesty, respect, and even appreciation. Communication is the key to building a successful community.
To facilitate productive discussions, you need to create an environment where people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts without fear of being ridiculed or bullied by others in the group. Here are some ground rules you should follow:
Respond quickly and effectively. If someone has a question or request, answer it as quickly as possible.
It’s easy to get caught up in a conversation, but take the time to listen and read what others are saying before you respond. Not only will you be able to identify discussion patterns and potential problem areas, but you’ll also be able to make sure your responses are appropriate and relevant.
Facilitate Productive Discussions
A disagreement isn’t always a bad thing! In fact, if handled respectfully, it can lead to a constructive dialog that leads to better-shared understanding and deeper connections between people with different backgrounds or perspectives. Decide wisely which conversations need your input – focus on those.
A community leader should have good communication skills because that’s important for community health and team building.
Problem Solving Skills
A community leader is willing to take responsibility for his/her actions and be held accountable for them. Good leaders don’t blame others for mistakes or problems that occur in an organization. They take responsibility when things go wrong and try to find a solution that works for everyone involved.
When it comes to building community, leaders also need to know how to manage conflict, solve problems and motivate group members and community partners by creating a shared understanding without being overbearing or pushy.
These days, it’s hard to be a community builder without knowing technology. In the 21st century, social media and other online presences are part of what’s required of a community, even if the goal isn’t an online community and even if the community is about public health, which may sound ironic but is true.
If you go to an interview mentioning your community development experience on your CV, you should at least know the basics of online community building tools.
Below are examples of community builder tools you should be aware of:
- Social media sites
Community engagement often takes place on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Clubhouse, Tik Tok, etc.
The reason social media is so popular isn’t only that the community manager can post the latest news, but it’s also great for building relationships between group members and it can also promote engagement between group members.
Related: What Does Social Engagement Mean
- Blogs and website kits
To announce community development work, it’s important to have at least a website, and for those with sufficient financial resources, blogs help to present news about community development work in more detail.
A community builder is likely to be familiar with WordPress, Wix, Buddypress, Zyro, etc.
- Email marketing tools
Email marketing is also a great way to share every time there’s a community improvement or news story, and for those who don’t use their social skills on forums or social media, it’s a great way to stay in touch with the community organization without having to search for their website.
Some email marketing tools can be integrated or separated into the website, such as Mailchimp.
It’s good to know the right email marketing tool, but you also need to know how to write engaging newsletters or how to manage editors or communications teams. Keeping community engagement is a real skill.
- Chat platforms
Whether it’s for the community manager
to post about the latest community improvement community group members to communicate and collaborate, or even for team building, chat platforms are always useful.
Whatsapp, Skype, Messenger, Slack, Telegram, etc. can be very helpful in building stronger communities because they can communicate instantly.
Some people prefer forums to social media, and it’s good to know the difference between each tool. Some companies prefer to build relationships by creating their own forum.
You can learn a lot from some of the most popular forums like Reddit, Quora, etc.
- Podcasts and event tools
For example anchor.fm for podcasts, Eventbrite and Meetup for event announcements, Hopin for a large event platform, etc.
Unless you’re interviewing to build a virtual reality community, it’s unlikely you’ll be asked about most apps. However, if you do get a job that requires online community skills, you should learn more about the different mobile apps. There are also some apps that you can only use on mobile, like Clubhouse.
Websites and apps don’t always work the same way.
Always remember that negotiation should be a win-win situation for both parties, not a win-lose situation.
Understand the community needs. Remember that everyone has something to gain from successfully completing a negotiation.
Your job is to make sure it’s beneficial to both the community and your employer.
Trying to build a community without a plan will lead to frustration, anger, and eventually failure. It’s like trying to build a house without blueprints.
A great community has people who’re:
- Are committed: They care and want to be part of something.
- The right target audience: they care about what you offer.
- Relevant: They live in your niche or have the same shared goal as you.
- Loyal: They stay loyal to you and don’t migrate to another community.
Disorganized community leaders can have negative consequences for their departments and the company as a whole. That’s why it’s important that an employer knows you’re organized and won’t throw the community into chaos. You may not fail completely, but it’ll be frustrating, difficult, and expensive, and even if you get the job, it won’t be a good start to your relationship with your employer.
Getting started with a community-building strategy is essential to your success, but not difficult once you get the hang of it.
An employer’s goal isn’t only to be successful, but also to ensure that sustainability remains intact with their teams, clients, or community group members.
You rely on your analytical skills in every aspect of your life. You use them to manage your money, manage your time, and decide which route to take on your way home from work. Unfortunately, these skills often come up short when you’re trying to build community. Most people know little about how to build and manage an effective community.
You should be able to analyze the data and then take appropriate action. You need to analyze the behavior of your community members to better understand how you can best support them, and then use the knowledge you gather to engage your community members in your community.
Community leaders have a lot of decisions to make. Generally, these decisions should be based on the community and its members.
Trying to please everyone is virtually impossible, nor is it always desirable, but when making decisions for your community, you should follow some general guidelines:
Do what’s best for the community – It may sound obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to forget this rule. When trying to decide between two different options, look at them from a broader perspective and try to see that both are good for the community.
Consider the needs of your members – What do they want or expect? Are they willing to wait until you find a solution that may take longer?
- Be open-minded – Being open-minded means you aren’t biased toward one option. You shouldn’t think one option is better than another just because you’ve personal preferences.
- Make sure the solution satisfies all members as much as possible – One member may like one option better than another, but in the end everyone has to be happy with it. Otherwise, your decision making won’t be as successful as it could’ve been.
- Make decisions consistent with the organization’s vision, mission, and values.
Good leaders know how and when to act when they discover a mistake. They don’t wait for someone else to fix it, and they aren’t afraid to address problems head-on.
Benefits of Experience in Community Building
Community building is a great professional experience for any workplace because it improves communication and productivity. Good community builders can foster teamwork and trust, which is important for any successful business. They can also foster collaboration and make the workplace more fun and enjoyable.
A good Community Builder communicates clearly and effectively with his or her colleagues.
This means speaking respectfully, not making offensive jokes or comments, and listening to what others have to say. Communication skills are especially important for people who work in teams – Community Builders are known for working hard to create a positive environment for everyone on their team. This includes making sure everyone understands what’s expected of them and is comfortable with their role in the project or task.
Whether you’re applying for a leadership role in a social justice community organization, in a customer service organization, or as a community manager in a social media community, as a community builder, you’re the community organizer.
If you have ‘community work experience’ in your CV, most employers will look to your community organizing skills, as well as your community capacity development ability.