Finding a job is very difficult these days. When you are interested in working in social justice, non-profits, or other public-sector areas that job search gets even more difficult. Often, these jobs are not only highly sought after, but also require previous experience that us younger folks and recent grads just do not have. So what is a motivated and passionate social justice warrior (or activist, feminist, aspiring politician) to do? Here is a helpful guide I wish I had when I started applying to jobs:
1. Let your resume speak for yourself: Your resume is a big deal. It will make or break your application process. Let your experiences speak for who you are and what you do. Write about yourself and your work in a way that shows exactly what you can do. Don’t forget to be specific- If you fundraised $10,000 as the leader of your student group last semester in college it is probably worth mentioning if you are hoping to do similar in your professional work.
After you write a draft of your resume, get it checked out. If you are in college or recently graduated, submit it to your Career Center for input and editing. At the very least, allow a friend or someone you trust to look it over and make sure it is in tip-top shape.
2. Utilize databases to help find organizations and specific opportunities to apply to: There are a lot of really solid job-search databases out there like Monster, Indeed, Simply Hired, and even Craigslist. However, when you are looking to work in social justice-related fields there are often better ways to make a more targeted job search. Here are some of my favorite ways to find job opportunities-
- Idealist: Idealist is a wonderful website that allows your to make a profile, connect with peers and organizations, and search for jobs at non-profits and the public sector. When you search for jobs you can fill in your desired location, salary, field, and even your prior experience in order to pinpoint a position that is perfect for you. Thousands of organizations use this database, and it is a wonderful resource worth checking out.
- The Pro-Choice Public Education Project: The PCPEP has a really great database of related organizations who are often offering internships, fellowships, conferences, volunteer, and leadership opportunities. It also works as a wonderful tool simply to identify organizations local to you where you can apply. Simply search your part of the country and a list will pop-up.
- The Feminist Majority Foundation: Besides being a wonderful organization, The Feminist Majority Foundation offers a great Jobs and Internships section that lists feminist-related positions by region in the US. You can also follow their job page on Twitter to get updates on new positions directly to your newsfeed or phone.
- Jobs That Are Left: This is actually a google group, not a database, but it is a constantly updated list of jobs for campaigns and non-profits positions.
3. Keep making and using your connections: The people you know can make a huge difference in your job search. They can help you find a place at an organization or campaign they work at, introduce you to others who can help you find a job, and even give you that glowing recommendation when you need one. Don’t be afraid to keep in touch with all the people you met at that awesome social justice-related conference last spring, or an old boss from your college internship. These are often the people who can make a big difference in your career!
Speaking of connections, if you don’t already have one it may be time to create a Linkedin
profile. When you search a company or organization, it allows you to see who you know that can connect you with someone there. Do I need to explain how awesome and helpful that is?
4. Don’t give up: Sometimes finding the right position takes a very long time. The search can come with a lot of rejections and failures, and it is easy to get burnt out in the process. Do not give up. Ask for help when you need it, participate in self care when you can, and welcome new experiences in your field (conferences, internships, boot camps, volunteer opportunities, fellowships, etc) that may help you land a position.