#92 How Do You Switch to a Career in Policy?
The Policy Post #92
Editor’s Note ✍️
We’re launching a brand new section in this edition of The Policy Post - one dedicated to answering questions from the members of our growing community! Keep scrolling to find it, and as always - feedback on the content of our newsletter is always welcome! Is there something you want to see more of or less of? You know where to reach us!
With that, here’s The Policy Post #92 *cue intro music*
Ask PPI 👌
This is a section dedicated to answering questions asked by members of our community on careers in policy and development, their challenges in this space, tips on how to make resumes for specific jobs, questions about industry trends - literally anything!
Shuvendu and Kairav ask, “How do I switch from a completely unrelated profession to policy?”
There is no single answer to this question. Your switch to a career in policy depends completely upon your past experiences and the skills you bring. However, there are some approaches you can use to figure out the right entry points for you in the world of public policy.
Find links in your past experiences that would be relevant to the organisation you’re targeting. For instance, say you’ve had a career in marketing and you’re now looking to switch to the development sector. If you’ve worked on any CSR marketing mandates during your time - that would be a good link! If you’ve had experience with rural marketing, you can leverage that experience and your understanding of rural India to apply to an organisation that targets that geography. These are, of course, very specific examples, but you get the point.
Finding the right access point into a career in policy is often just about highlighting relevant work experience and not all work experience. If you’re applying to a think tank for a research role, you don’t need to highlight digital marketing experience in your application - it’s simply not relevant. Instead you can highlight any deep-dives you’ve done as a part of your previous projects, case studies you’ve been through, secondary research and analyses you’ve done, among other things. This way, you make your application more relevant and increase your chances of getting that shortlist!
Know that you’re going to have to pay your dues. Switching your career stream isn’t something that you can achieve within a few weeks, months, or even year(s) in some cases. Your goal might be to work at the Gates Foundation, or the United Nations, and though getting there is possible, it might not happen immediately. You might have to work at a small NGO in a role different than what you want to be doing, but that will eventually get you to where you want to be. It’s important to remember where you want to get to in the long run so that you can chart out your career accordingly.
If you still feel like there your experience just doesn’t match up with what your dream job/industry is looking for, upskill! Do a quick analysis of what organisations are looking for and what you’d like to do most - it could be research, advocacy, data analysis and what not. Pick up as many hard skills as you can so that even if you fall short on relevant experience, you can make up for it with active skills!
Network, network, network. You might have heard this term - Luck Surface Area. I found this on google: Luck = (Passionate) Doing x (Effective) Telling. The more you network, connect and speak with people who are doing work that inspires you, you actively widen the surface area of opportunities available to you as well. It’s possibly the quickest way to make a career shift to policy (hot take, but I stand by it).
That’s it folks, hope this helps you out. Share it with people you know who have been wanting to switch to careers in the development sector, and policy in general. If you have any other questions you’d like us to answer, please send them in here! If you want to have more conversations about this, all of us at PPI are happy to! You can email us here, or reach out to us individually on LinkedIn (find all our profiles here).
This Week’s Policy Focus 🔎
National Nutrition Mission- POSHAN Abhiyaan
Sehrish Jafri writes: Although, India has always aimed at improving the food & nutritional security of the country through policies such as the POSHAN Abhiyaan, the mid day meal scheme, as well as through laws such as the National Food Security act of 2013, the grim statistics even now are such that leading global rankings like The Global Hunger Index (2020) places India at the 101st spot among 116 countries.
Policy Charcha 💬
The best Podcasts, Videos, Essays and Fellowships for this past week from the world of Policy and Governance!
🎥 Video: Recycling is literally a scam
📚 Fellowship: Delhi Assembly Research Centre Fellowship Programme
📷 Simplifying Policy Issues: PolicyGram
Jobs Post 💼
A curated list of some of the best job and internship opportunities this week from the world of public policy, development sector, consulting and communications at large!
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