I have the privilege to mentor young professionals and graduating students wanting to enter the social change sector. Most of the questions relate to differentiation- being able to win the job, get attention from recruiters, get the foot on the door so to speak! I have 5 tips on the get-go but this is not exhaustive nor it pretends to be.
Standing out in this field is very important. With any profession, early differentiation should be done even while you are studying. It is the commitment to rise above average and be the best you can be.
1. Showcase what you have done in the field of practice that you want to get into. Showcase the internships that you have done, the projects and writings that speak for that, and the interests, hobbies, and interactions that align to that sector or work. Your gig should also point to something concrete, long-term, and purposeful.
2. Showcase the personality that you have. While skills can be learned and over time, master, your personality & character might be the one that will get you noticed. Are your personality, traits, and outlook match the sector or the employment you want to be considered for? Are you comfortable with non-linear, dynamic and fluid environment (not to say, messy!) of the social sector? Do you have the grit to stand up, brush yourself up each time your fall?
3. Network, network, network. Seek out mentors, influencers, and peers in your sector and how they can help you get more information about the work you wanted or the types of new jobs being created on a yearly basis. Do not be passive about your achievements. Let them know you are looking for work, looking to be involved in special projects, or volunteering your time to worthy causes that show your leadership skills and initiative. Get out there and show up!
4. Create a compelling CV and objective for employment. Try new forms of resume that speaks not just the degree you have but the extra-curricular roles that you have in the course of your studies. Also provide references and testimonials from professors and professionals that knew your work. Get information interviews and try to seek out people who have interesting career adventures/twist and turns.
5. Know the sector very well. Research about the rules of practice, the current challenges, pain points, and trends and opportunities. This information will be very handy come interview time. Showcase what you know about the sector in your writing, blogs, and social media interactions. Keep learning and sharpen your perspectives.
What do you think are the must-haves or must-do's to get a competitive edge in the social change sector? Why not add to this initial list?
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