Like Tech, there are so many opportunities in the Social Science or Arts domain abroad that can earn you a six figure salary, opportunity to work with International and Government organisations and a solid career pathway. This is irrespective of whether you studied religion, languages, Sociology or Theatre Arts.
Here are my five top tips.
- Take a six months crash course in policy analysis or public policy. YouTube, Coursera and voraciously reading widely. Why Policy? Because it is portal that opens the door of endless opportunities. Learn everything about legislation, regulation, government processes, external relations, writing briefs, policy reports and critical analysis/research. If you studied Geography, refocus your energies in learning Climate Change and Environmental policy issues. If you studies Sociology, take up policy interest in Human Rights, Gender issues and the likes. If you studied Linguistics, pivot in Social Justice or Labour Market policy issues. The possibilities are endless, so are the opportunities for upward mobility.
- Start your first job with NGOs and Not for Profit organisations. Why? They have easier entry for career starters. While you are here be very intentional about your growth. Learn everything about grant application, policy advocacy, fundraising and marketing, government relations, public speaking, writing briefs and reports. Be a sponge and soak it all in. If you were recruited as a graduate policy advisor, your aim is move to policy specialist level or advisor role in 1-2 years. Ensure before you leave that you have a solid understanding of how NGOs and NFTs work. You will need this knowledge. Some people prefer to stay here and move on to International Organizations, it all depends on ambition level.
- Now is time to move to a government role to solidify your policy knowledge and experience. You can start with the municipal or local government, however, your sights should be on Federal or Provincial government to work with Ministries, Departments and Agencies. This is your space and plan to grow through the ranks from senior policy advisor to principal advisor position till you land Managerial policy gig. The fun part here is that you can port to different government agencies and keep growing. For example, you can move from Ministry of Environment to Energy and Natural Resources then unto Prime Minister and Cabinet. The years you spend here is dependent on your ambition level.
- Now is time to move to the International space. United Nations, World Health and the likes. You already have government and NGO/NFT experience and here your experience morphs into consultancy and specialist Chair positions. This is the cream of policy work. The possibilities are endless. From Board membership to CEO.
- Set up your NGO, NFT or Policy Advisory office. Policy will always be on demand. Government WILL always need specialist advice. The policy sector will always need specialist. If you have advanced your career to this stage, the world is your oyster. All the knowledge and experience you have built over the years will make you perpetually in demand.
Hopefully I can unpack some of these points more clearly and take questions during a live video, if people are keen.
Let this be your main take away, Policy work is goated.
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