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Café Impact: How-To Snag a Social Justice Job Interview

Feb 6th, 2014Photos & Videos
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Café Impact is democratizing access to careers of conscience. Jonathan Lewis brings together nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs to give you the career-building skills you need to change the world.

Are you a social sector job-seeker? Feeling frozen out of your future change-the-world job? Reluctant to enter the fray? Fear of failure stopping you from a career as a social entrepreneur?

Putting off the miserable process of knocking on doors is understandable. If you are in hiding, napping on the sofa or watching TV reruns, you know it. Enough said about that.

Beyond those diversions, you also might be putting off the job hunt until you have acquired this or that new skill, recovered from a bad breakup or lost weight. Waiting to undertake your social sector job search doesn’t necessarily mean it will go better later. It probably won’t.

Except for now, there is no ideal moment to take a first step. Looking for a job comes with only one guarantee. Guaranteed: delay means you are losing precious opportunities right this minute to learn what the social sector marketplace wants and needs.

Rejection is a pain in the ass, but taking a risk on yourself is its own reward. Each interview is practice for the next one. Each question, and your authentic answers, fortifies you against, in the words of Samuel Johnson, being “blown about by every wind of criticism.”

Even if you don’t get the job, the act of applying is important. Crassly, it’s free advertising. Inherently, you are your own best billboard. “When I started out, I applied for every job whether qualified or not,” remembers Keely Stevenson, Chief Executive Officer, Bamboo Finance USA.

“I woke up every morning and for eight hours a day surfed the Internet, wrote cover letters and updated my resume. I treated the job search as a job,” she adds.

When looking for a job, “be foolishly courageous. Be proactive in your risk-taking. Anticipate the needs of future employers,” advises Jacob Harold, CEO, Guidestar (the nonprofit rating agency).

“What turns me off is reading resumes,” candidly cautions John Anner, Executive Director, East Meets West Foundation. The important disclosure here is that he does it anyway. As you are reading this blog, thousands of other social sector employers are reading resumes. Is yours in the hunt?

Even if you are a contentedly perfect person in every way (aren’t we all?), you probably don’t feel particularly perfect at the job of looking for a job changing the world. You don’t need to be. You just need to give it a try.

This blog was originally published at Huffington Post.

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