Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Career Path Discovery: Community Organizer

An Example of Researching a Career Path to figure out if it is really what I want.

Research Overview:
  1. Define it.
  2. Jobs.
  3. Internships
  4. Identify Career Paths
  5. University Degrees

  1. Define it. Figure out exactly what people mean by the name. For example: Looking up Community Organizing led me to Community Development and  Nonprofit Organizations.   I discovered that in the United States most community organizing is surrounding issues of housing, jobs, poverty, and lowering crime rates. I don't think that is what I actually want to get involved in. I went through the rest of the steps, though, as this could lead me to narrow down what I AM looking for.
  2. Identify Jobs. Google jobs in that field. You should find job search engines. Look at several job listings, identify if they are what you want to do or not. Identify the parts you want to do, and the parts you don't want to do. This will help narrow down your target 'job'.  For example, I googled community organizing. Some job listings I found include: Administrative Assistant, Website Manager, Director of Marketing and Communications, and Data Analyst. The Administrative Assistant sounded like a glorified secretary in charge of donations, who also provided customer service, mail, office support, and a few things that interested me like "coordinate conference room calendar, refreshments, and catering for meetings; and Schedule donor and sponsor village visits.I knew right away that websites, data analyzing, and marketing are not what I am looking for, so I kept looking.   
  3. Internships. Again, I googled 'internships community building.' This turned up many possibilities, as they are always looking for volunteers. Probably the best way to find internships is to identify organizations you want to work for, and contact them directly. The following is a good summary of community building qualifications you gain through internships: "The ideal candidate has experience in the following: working with the media, organizing campaigns, organizing populations of diversity, volunteer management and crisis management." Most of these you have to acquire through experience, rather than the schoolroom, making internships and volunteering crucial to this career path. Fortunately, universities are awesome for providing tons of opportunities to get involved, organize, and manage events. 
  4. Identify Career Paths. I googled "how to become a Community Organizer." That provided some good information, but I actually found the most information in Job Postings, as they list necessary qualifications. 
  5. Related University Degrees:
    1. Human Services
    2. Social and Community Services
    3. Social Work, focus in Community Building
      1. Look at required classes and see if they interest you!
    4. Social Services
    5. Community Organizing Certificate
    6. Sociology
The Reason for the Research:
Identify your core interest.
I realized as I researched community organizing  that it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. I was looking for something that has more to do with international aid and education, or working with and empowering youth. My target skill set includes organization, public relations, and event planning. Therefore, I will do similar research with international aid programs and youth programs, to identify possible jobs and career paths.

Good Articles:

Community Organizing Never Looked So Good

Big Future: article on preparing to be a community organizer here

Find How: page with links for "how to become..."