The job market in every sector is ripe for the taking, however, sometimes following your morals is better than seeking a lofty position. With so many injustices in the world, there has never been a better time than now to embark on a career in social justice.
In fact, a recent study proved that many graduates are willing to earn less if the work they complete has a meaningful impact. Passion is now more of a priority than a mere paycheck, even with the current rate of inflation.
With the highlight of racial injustice in the United States being highlighted every day, you can turn your activism into a paying career. If you are looking for tips on how to embark on your career in the social justice path, we have some tips that will help you get started.
What is Social Justice?
The first order of business is to thoroughly understand what social justice is before considering it as a career path. This line of work focuses on fighting on behalf of societies or individuals who are in need of ethical relations. Basically, fighting for equitable human rights, treatment, and opportunity. Some of the most common causes of social justice include:
- Access to healthcare
- Refugee rights
- Racial equality
- Child welfare
- LGBTQ+ rights
- Sustainable development
- Ending poverty
- And many others
There is plenty of social justice causes available, so you are sure to find one that aligns with your passions. If you revel in doing work that helps those who have no voice, then a career in social justice will probably be fulfilling for you.
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Considering the intense need for people to work in the social justice sector, you would think it would be easy to land a job. However, social justice work is often the hardest industry to break into. Human rights and social justice are hot topics, but they are also dominated by giant international organizations. The best tip we have if you are serious about entering the field is to start interning and volunteering as early as you can. This will give you a lot of hands-on experience that will put you ahead of the pack when you apply for a position. Social justice organizations also have fewer resources to work with, as a result, they will hire fewer new faces. This often means that you will need to come to the table with both references and experience in order to land a job.
Challenges To Consider When Perusing A Social Justice Career
Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and this holds true for a career in social justice. It is important to understand the challenges you will face on this path if you want to ensure your success. The first challenge you should always keep in mind is that this career path is often filled with pushback, misplaced anger, and an overwhelming amount of stereotyping. When you work to lift people up, those that are holding them down will always work against you. This can lead to smear campaigns, harsh critics, and more. It is also not a career path that will lead to riches in most cases. Most social justice workers mention compensation as the main flaw in their career, regardless of how fulfilling it may be.
Learn NGO Management Skills
Social justice jobs are more than beating the street to help those in need. In fact, the majority of the work is done behind a desk. It is important to learn skills that will help you to be as effective as possible for any organization that may hire you. These skills include fundraising, grant writing, public speaking, research and writing, program implementation, and more. If you are so inclined, learning another language can also give you a leg up when looking for a position at many international organizations. Proving your value and showing your passion for social justice will help you succeed over the life of your career.
Set Flexible Goals
Setting goals are important when you enter the field of social justice. Chances are there is some event or group of people that you want to help. This desire will be what drives you to excel in the field, but it is important to keep your options open. There are thousands of jobs in the social justice field. Narrowing down your ideal job and even the perfect place to work is going to be easier said than done. Think about your interest; are African American rights important to you or are you looking to work in the field of economic development? Perhaps environmental justice or refugee rights are more in line with your passions? Case management, advocacy, data science, and marketing are also important roles within the social justice sector. Keeping your options open will allow you to be impactful without burning out.
Network & Education
Networking is one of the most important tips we have to give you. Just like with any other field, who you know will often determine how far you can go. Start networking with people in your field of interest as soon as possible. Consider helping out at local events and making connections with those hosting the events. Always look to your friend and professional circle for possible connections. That being said, you should also make a point of continuing your education in the social justice field even if you are lucky enough to land a job. This will allow you to always stay up to date on the latest trends, statistics, available grants, and more. Social justice is perfect for those who are go-getters and who are self-motivated.
Making Progress One Community At A Time
It is important that you never stop listening to your heart and those that you aim to help. There is always something to learn both from those above you and those below you. Listen, learn, change track, grow and move forward. As you challenge yourself and the system around you, then you will be able to truly affect change. Social justice is not only about being loud, it is also about helping those in need in silence. Most importantly, have fun following your passion to make the world a better place. Be it as a journalist earning $40,000 a year, a victim advocate making $50,000 a year, or a social worker making $65,000 per year. There are so many positions available that will allow you to serve those in need.
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