Social Justice Jobs NYC: How to Transition into a Meaningful Career

As the new year approaches, many people will take the opportunity to re-evaluate different aspects of their lives, with a view to getting a fresh start in the new year. For some, this means reviewing career goals and aspirations, and considering making a change to their work lives.

If you find yourself unemployed, or bored and unhappy at your current position; or if you just feel that your daily efforts could be put to better use, you may consider a transitioning to a social justice career. A career in social justice not only helps vulnerable members of your community, and improves circumstances for others, it can also increase your job satisfaction and overall happiness.

In the video below, career coach Cathy Wasserman from Idealist takes questions on how to get involved in a meaningful career: 

An article from the World Economic Forum¹ recently stated that “social justice jobs and teamwork are the future of globalization”; and understanding how your skills can contribute to the success of a social justice effort is the first step in transitioning to a meaningful career.

A successful transition may require simply changing one industry for another – for example, working as an HR professional at a corporation, to a similar job in the non-profit world. In this case, aligning your resume to appeal to non-profits is a fairly simple process.

Related Reading: 9 Social Justice Organizations to Know in NYC

However, a complete change – one of role, in addition to industry, is a more complicated prospect. In this situation, additional effort must be made to demonstrate that you are a good fit for the job you want – effort that may include modifying your resume, but could also require looking into taking classes or completing other activities to fill in any gap between the skills you have and those that are required for the new position.

In the video below, Heather Krasna from Idealist shares tips on how to modify your resume to get the job you want: 

1. Review job descriptions

Look at a variety of job descriptions to familiarize yourself with different positions, and to identify the position you hope to get. Then, review several job descriptions for relevant positions, looking for keywords, repeated requirements, and other similarities between them.

At this point, you can begin to revise your resume to speak to the new position. Ensure that keywords are included where appropriate, and describe your experience with social justice skills in mind. Consider how you have demonstrated required skills in the past and ensure that your resume reflects those skills in practice.

2. Consider transferable skills

Look at your current job, and your job history, from a new perspective. Consider what skills you have exercised in the past that could be useful in a social justice job. Some valuable transferable skills include oral and written communication, teamwork and collaboration, project management and leadership.

Revise your resume to emphasize these transferable skills, and how they have been applied successfully in previous positions.

3. Fill in the gaps

If you find that you lack a requirement for the position you want, consider how to fill the gap in your resume. Consider whether a class or series of courses may round you out as a candidate, or if a different or advanced degree is required.

4. Volunteer

Many job descriptions note requirements that are not tied to a specific degree or educational pursuit; for example, a job listing for Outreach Coordinator for NYS Tenants & Neighbors lists ‘Knowledge of New York City, State and Federal Affordable Housing Policy’ as one of its requirements. If you haven’t worked in as an advocate for tenant’s rights previously, knowledge of this policy can be gained independently, through a class, or by volunteering for the target organization or a similar one.

5. Network

Volunteering not only offers the opportunity to gather the skills and knowledge needed to get your dream job: it also offers the opportunity to network, and take advantage of new connections in your chosen field. Networking opportunities can also be found through existing contacts as well – check social media for contacts, and friends-of-friends who may have experience, or contacts in the social justice arena.

If 2019 is the right time for you to consider a career transition, and you are interested in exploring a more meaningful career, you can find a number of social justice job opportunities at Idealist, along with opportunities for internships, volunteer work, and other ideas for ways that you can make a positive difference in your community.


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