Is your dream to make an impact on society and you are not afraid of challenges? Then sooner or later you will become passionate about a career in human rights. The work in this field is highly demanding and extremely rewarding at the same time. It also gives a lot of opportunities and offers amazing positions both in local institutions and all over the world. The competition in the industry is enormous and it is hard to enter even with a proper education and skills. In this article, you will find a few helpful tips on how to break into the field and build your career in human rights.
Volunteering and Internships
Volunteering is a great way to get the necessary experience for starting a career in human rights. Unpaid work might seem discouraging but it will bring great opportunities for the development. Volunteering is valuable and highly appreciated in this field. This experience will help you to get a position and eventually will lead to your dream job. It is a great idea for a start as small human rights NGOs always need resources and are likely to accept the help of volunteers anytime. Try approaching them and offer your assistance with events planning, blog writing or managing their profiles in social media. Larger organizations and internship programs like BRAC and Mercy Corps may also accept your help. Consider approaching a few companies and choose the opportunity that will bring you better references and experience.
Gaining Experience Abroad
Studying, volunteering or interning in another country may bring some insights and valuable experience. Getting out of a comfort zone helps to concentrate on a field and immerse into it. Check the offers of Global Vision International and International Volunteer HQ that give opportunities to volunteer in different parts of the world. Working abroad also allows you to network and make new contacts that could lead to a future job. Mastering the basics of a foreign language will become a bonus while looking for a job in human rights sector. This skill is required in many organizations that deal with international work. An experience of volunteering abroad and immersion can certainly give more than just reading books about other cultures.
A good education is one of the basic requirements for those who strive to work in human rights field. Getting a degree in the field is a great start but it is not sufficient. It is essential to keep up with all the updates and news. Read the recent books about human rights, subscribe to blogs, visit websites related to this topic. It will help you to be aware of all the current information and innovative ideas in the industry. A postgraduate degree is almost obligatory for those who want to succeed in the human rights field. Think about further qualification in law, public policy, or international relations.
The theoretical background is important but it is necessary to know how to apply the received knowledge in practice. Consider developing the practical skills that are highly appreciated in the human rights field. That could be public speaking, grant writing, researching, program implantation, fundraising, and others. The NGOs find these skills valuable. The ability to demonstrate them confidently will surely help in your career growth.
Social Media Activity
Social media is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge, experience, skills, and devotion to the profession. Think about starting the blog for expressing your opinions in the field of human rights. Volunteering and organizing an event is great but making a post about it in social media is even better. The future employers will see your competence and enthusiasm. Vivid posts with photos about internship abroad impress more than a few lines ona resume. No matter what you do, think, or learn, social media is able to make it more visible and noticeable. It is also a good way to widen your network and make new connections which may lead to the new offers.
Choose Your Direction
Human rights field offers a great diversity of job types. Choosing the area that interests you the most may help to concentrate and make a clear plan for your career development. It might be women’s rights, policy issues, refugee’s rights, environmental justice, and others. Narrowing the number of variants will help to develop skills necessary for a specific field. Think also about the position you would like to have. Do you see yourself as a human rights journalist, an activist, a documentary filmmaker, human rights lawyer, or educator? Setting a clear goal will make it easier to choose the path and achieve the result.