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Tricks of the Trade for Social Sector Job Seekers

This WorkMonger blog post was written by guest blogger Suzanne Smith, the Founder and Managing Director of Social Impact Architects.

In addition to being the time of year when the leaves start to turn and pumpkin spice is back in season, fall is also known to many in MBA circles as prime job-seeking time. Whether you are actively looking for a new job or think it may be time to leave your current job, we know the job search and transition can be scary. Here are just a few tips to help all job seekers find the best fitfor them in the social sector and beyond.

Accept the job description as if it were etched in a (tomb)stone

One of the gripes we hear from young professionals is that the promotions and meaningful projects they were promised did not pan out. One of the best tips for long-term happiness in your job is to accept the benefits and responsibilities laid out in the job description as if they were etched in stone. Unless it states that you will get a promotion in two years, do not expect one. Unless it says your work is client-facing, do not believe it. In recruitment, organizations try to put their best foot forward, sometimes forgetting that anecdotes of internal success may not be the best measure for the career trajectories of most employees.

Beware of the creepy silence

In spooky Halloween movies, that moment where the lack of dialog is accompanied by creepy music is the cue that something ominous lurks. So too, in job interviews, candidates should listen closely for what is not being said to avoid catastrophe. For example, if your priority is a team environment, and your interviewers use words like “independent,” “minimal oversight,” or “periodic check-ins” and cannot give solid evidence of a culture of collaboration, then this may not be your top pick. Remember: hiring managers are in a precarious position and cannot always be candid about the skeletons in the closet. Don’t be the horror-movie victim who doesn’t sense the warning signs – observe carefully.

Leave your costume at home

No one likes a party pooper, but this is one time to leave your costumes at home. One of the traps job seekers fall into is disguising their authentic selves for things they think interviewers want to hear. At an interview, it should not be the job seeker’s goal to accommodate the organization. Remember, you are both trying to find the best mutually beneficial pairing. We realize that life circumstances sometimes inhibit your ability to be picky, but when that luxury permits itself, ditch the costumes, be upfront about who you are and you (and the organization) will likely be much happier with the result.

Remember that there will be treats . . . and tricks

One of the most important elements to vet in your job search is your direct manager. Remembering that your manager will come with treats and tricks is critical. Use behavior-based interviewing tips to assess how your boss has responded in key situations to see if you could be a good match. Ask colleagues in your network about their experience with your potential boss. Do your due diligence, but remember that there is no boss who can solve all your career woes.

Happy trick or treating to all our Social TrendSpotters! We hope that your job search yields treats. If you have tips that can help other TrendSpotters find the right jobs for them, please share them with us.


Suzanne Smith

Founder & Managing Director

Social Impact Architects

Quote: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius


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