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How to find jobs in advocacyAre you a recent college graduate looking for your first full-time position? An experienced professional looking to make a difference? Or perhaps a high school student wanting to buff up your resume? Well, understanding how to find jobs in advocacy may prove beneficial for you.

Advocacy is the action of generating public support for or recommending a particular cause or policy. One of the ways in which The Borgen Project makes a difference is through advocacy.

By teaching citizens skills on how to communicate with their government, The Borgen Project is able to both generate support for and recommend making global poverty a higher priority for U.S. foreign policy.

Here are five ways on how to find jobs in advocacy so you can begin a fulfilling, challenging career of improving people’s lives:

  1. Find your passion.
    Is there a cause you really believe in? Is there a problem you would like to address? Is there a topic you could talk about for hours and hours? Most employers, whether it’s listed in your cover letter or spoken about in an interview, want to know what motivates you to join their team. They want to know your passion because a passion-less person doesn’t make a good advocate, now does it? Don’t think too hard about it, though.While some peoples’ passion may be something specific, like woodcutting or kite flying, yours could be a broader goal such as helping other people.
  2. Reach out to local non-profit organizations.
    There is a very high chance that your community has at least one non-profit organization operating within it. While that non-profit organization may not be directly linked to advocacy, the people volunteering or working there may be able to direct you to other non-profit organizations more advocacy-geared. And if there is a link to advocacy, then you’re in luck.
  3. Search for jobs.
    In this day and age, the internet is your friend and the perfect place to start your advocacy search. You can look at popular websites like idealist.org, indeed.com or thenonprofittimes.com to find the perfect advocacy position for you. Most advocacy positions will be posted by non-profits organizations, local governments and lobbying firms.
  4. Volunteer.
    If you’re not having any luck landing a paid position, consider volunteering. It will not only beef up your resume, but it also has the potential to lead to a paid position in the place you are volunteering. In your volunteer position, your supervisors can get to know you, see how motivated you are to the cause and perhaps find a more permanent fit for you on their team. Building these connections can lead to positions you never even thought possible!Additionally, most non-profit organizations operate under a very tight budget so the majority of advocacy positions may be volunteer anyways. Take The Borgen Project for example–we have only 2 full-time and 4 part-time employees but have around 300 volunteers.
  5. Utilize your networks.
    A recent survey revealed that 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking. LinkedIn is a great resource that connects you a network of over 400 million people. You can also utilize alumni networks, family and friend networks, and networks found through volunteering or reaching out to organizations. It is also important to keep in mind that networking is not always about meeting as many people as possible, but it is also about meeting a few well-connected people who can vouch for your ability and credibility.In the future, these types of connections can refer you to other well-connected people.

While this list is not exhaustive, hopefully, these tips on how to find jobs in advocacy will benefit you in your search.

Alexis Pierce

Photo: Youth Advocacy Programs, Inc.

Careers in Humanitarian Aid
Humanitarian aid organizations provide various employment opportunities for any individual seeking to assist nations and communities that experience poverty, war, natural disasters and other conflicts.  However, once you figure out that you want to do something it can still be difficult to determine the right humanitarian job that matches your skillset.  We have put together some humanitarian careers to help you find your path.

  • Field Officer- The field officer is the first line of defense in an aid organization.  They work directly with aid beneficiaries to determine their needs, determine any developing trends in the response and gather data for statistics.
  • Information Officer (I.O.)- The I.O. shares the organization’s activities and achievements internally and with the outside world.  Other responsibilities can include preparing and disseminating press releases, appeals, documents and briefings.
  • Camp Manager- Managers coordinate the overall humanitarian activity within camps for refugees and internally displaced persons.  They also help create self-governance structures that make decisions on how the camps will be organized and prioritize humanitarian interventions.
  • Disaster Risk Reduction Specialist (DRRS)- DRRS’s help communities prepare for and reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters.  They help create early warning systems and risk reduction measures for vulnerable countries.  DRRS’s can be engineers, architects, geologists and social scientists.
  • Food Security Specialist- A food security specialist identifies populations that are at risk of food shortages, develop monitoring systems to track their progress, and help create channels for food distribution.  It helps to be knowledgeable of global food security issues, especially since this role may require coordination with government officials and affected populations.
  • Health Professional- Health professionals such as physicians, surgeons, nurses, midwives, anesthesiologists, nutritionists, lab technicians and others are all in great need during emergency situations.  Along with the Field Officer, health professionals are on the ground in the disaster or conflict area.
  • Logistician- a logistician delivers humanitarian supplies and services where and when they are needed during an organization’s response.  Various positions within this category can require the management of purchasing, importing, transferring, tracking and deployment of supplies.
  • Protection Officer (P.O.)-  P.O.’s are tasked with keeping affected populations safe from any human rights violations.  They intervene in areas of child protection, gender-based violence, housing, land and property issues as well as issues concerning access to justice systems.
  • Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene- These individuals are responsible for providing clean water, arranging for safe disposal of waste and educating affected populations about sanitation practices.  Roles related to this field generally require engineering degrees.
  • Program Director- The program director makes sure the organization’s priorities and mandates for work are adapted to local conditions and achieved.  This is the highest position within a humanitarian organization and requires several years of management experience.

Humanitarian aid offers a wide variety of career choices for those who want to use their skills in an impactful and positive way.  Within each field, there are several related job opportunities at all levels of skill.  It is important to identify your skills and interests before pursuing a particular organization.

Sunny Bhatt

Sources: Inside Disaster, UN Careers
Photo: Borgen Project

nonprofit_jobs

Though for-profit businesses have taken a hit in years past, crippled by downsizing and high unemployment rates, the nonprofit sector continues to shine. As the third-largest workforce in the U.S., many aspiring college graduates are gravitating toward injustice-fighting and social change-fostering employment opportunities. For university students specifically wanting to join the international fight against poverty, consider these often neglected majors below.

  1. Philosophy: Despite its reputation for being “impractical” or “frou-frou,” studying anything from Plato to existentialism will refine some well-needed job skills. Employers continue to deem an analytic and creative mindset as crucial to a collaborative work environment. And who knows? Perhaps in that brain of yours, sitting right next to Karl Marx’s ideologies, you have an interesting solution to youth unemployment.
  1. History: Reading about Gilgamesh and pouring over original documents could earn you a kick-butt job kicking poverty’s butt. Learning the historical context of political discord, jihadist movements or religious traditions will foster cultural awareness. Plus, the old adage of history repeating itself if gone unlearned must have some truth to it.
  1. Sociology: Understanding contemporary social issues and having a sociological imagination will not only please C. Wright Mills but also prospective employers. That SOC 235 Social Problems course could prove helpful when discussing the general U.S. opinion on foreign aid policy. The communication and number crunching skills will also impress.
  1. English: This degree will raise some eyebrows in the College of Business; however, Longfellow can jumpstart a philanthropic career. Being able to communicate, both out loud and on paper, is something few prospective employees can do. Plus, any grant writing experience will be considered a godsend by the director of fundraising development.
  1. Sustainability Studies: If windmills and solar panels are your thing, consider an interdisciplinary major that combines ecology and the humanities. Though environmentally-conscious nonprofits are popping up like mad, your background knowledge may offer solutions to water sanitation problems or food deserts for poverty-driven organizations.
  1. Theatre: After suffering through family dinners talking about the “future” and long nights of play practice, a thespian could make the nonprofit sector their stage. Confidence and an engaging persona are key when lobbying or birddogging for the cause. Online broadcasting, whether it be in podcast or video form, is also a great way to spread awareness.
  1. Women and Gender Studies: Delving into the racial and ethnic nuances of the patriarchy could actually have life-changing implications in the nonprofit sector. Taking humanities courses in anything from sociology to political science will shed some light on the feminism of poverty. And with organizations such as U.N. Women dedicated to solving just that, you will definitely find a niche.
  1. Graphic Design: Sans-serifs and color swatches may prove useful when perusing for job openings. When it comes to beautifying a website or creating an eye-catching advertisement, few have the expertise. From collaborating with a nonprofit’s communications specialist to creating a monthly newsletter, all you artsy grads will come in handy.
  1. Journalism: In the wake of recent cutbacks, digital news sites for nonprofit organizations are exploding across the U.S. From Color Lines in New York to our own Borgen Magazine in Seattle, an increasing number of “do-good” groups are recognizing the power of media. If composing a piece about Syrians living in abject poverty sounds up your alley, jump on the journalism bandwagon.
  1. International Studies: Though not for the foreign language-avoiding liberal arts undergraduate, this interdisciplinary major allows students to adopt a global view. Political science courses, study abroad and lots of broken Spanish could translate into a foreign relations position. Many nonprofits, especially those with a worldwide focus, need a multilingual and culturally-aware employee.

While stemming away from STEM majors may cause for a few disgruntled parents or skeptical classmates, nonprofit jobs can offer recent graduates a satisfying career. From thespians turned lobbyers to history buffs turned fundraising directors, the possibilities are limitless.

Lauren Stepp

Sources: NY Times, Urban Institute, Washington State University
Photo: Flickr