Updated on May 15, 2017.
Finding the right job in social change, development, peacebuilding, social entrepreneurship, and related fields requires a combination of the right experience and training, an understanding of the field, developing strong connections and a bit of serendipity. In addition to academic and/or professional training, it is essential to have an understanding of how social changeworks in practice. Many people working in social change, will not find employment with “social change” or “peacebuilding” but with organizations in others sectors (international development, education, environment, social entrepreneurship, social impact, business) working on social change related jobs. Thus, it is also important in the job search to broaden your scope to include international development organizations, government and intergovernmental institutions, for-profit and business institutions, educational institutions, and more.
I strongly encourage my students to develop developing strong skills in social change/conflict resolution processes and theory, but also develop an expertise in a another sector and/or regional area. For more information on careers in the field, see a report I co-authored, Skills, Networks and Knowledge: Careers in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. offers guide to careers in the field based on interviews with over 60 organizations and practitioners. The document also offers 10 pages of resources for finding jobs, internships, scholarships and more. You can download the report for Download Webreport.pdf or at the ACT website. Another great resource is a Career Guide from Sustainability on Corporate Social Responsibility. Idealist has also developed an excellent guide to Nonprofit Careers and a separate Careers Resources Section . Dr. John Paul Lederach and Kate Mansfield from the Kroc Institute have also developed a wonderful visual representation of possible careers in the field.
Here are some additional career development suggestions
1) Develop a Strong Resume – Make sure you have a strong, clear and compelling resume and cover letter. See the Download TipsforWritingEffectiveResumes.pdf . Many university career centers also offer guidance on resumes.
2) Follow Dr. Zelizer’s Twitter List of Key Careers Resources in Social Change. This is an excellent way to follow key job openings and news regarding careers in social change real-time.
3) Conduct Informational Interviews – Most people are more than happy to talk about their job and conducting informational interviews can be an excellent way to learn more about an organization and what a career is like in a particular area. Informational interviews are a chance for you to ask general questions of someone already in the field. However, it is very important in informational interviews not to ask for a job or put pressure on the person you’re speaking with to help you find a job.
4) Subscribe or Visit Key Websites and Job Lists – There are countless numbers of websites that provide resources on jobs and internships in the field (and in related fields). You should get on all or some of these sites as you will get daily or weekly updates of opportunities around the world (note some charge a fee, whiles others are free or provide partial postings for free).
Some of the best sites for jobs directly in social change, development, peacebuilding, social entrepreneurship, etc. include:
- PCDNETWORK – Our one stop shop for professional opportunities (jobs, fellowships, internships, etc. in social change
- UNJOBLIST– A very useful site with jobs at UN agencies and other Intergovernmental Organizations.
- IDEALIST – Primarily Jobs in International and Domestic Non-profits. Covers many sectoral areas, health, development, etc.
- INDEED– A Very useful site that searches across many job sites around the world. Searching by conflict and development keywords is best way to use the service.
- RELIEFWEB – Primarily jobs in International Non-profits and UN.
- DEVEX– Covers jobs in International Development and Consulting around the world.
- Rework– Jobs in impact with companies working on social, environmental, and cultural innovation.
- Nonprofit Technology Network Job Board – Jobs related to nonprofit technology.
- Sustainability Careers– Job openings at Business for Social Responsibility and at BSR member organizations.
- International Organization Careers Website – Professional employment opportunities in International Organizations (site sponsored by the US Department of State)
- SKOLL WORLD FORUM JOB LIST– Job and Fellowship postings related to social entreprenuership, the social sector and corporate social responsibility.
- Tech Nonprofit Jobs List from Fast Forward – Fast Forward accelerates tech nonprofits by investing money, providing training and mentoring, and increasing the visibility of tech nonprofits to scale them to impact.
- The Posner Center for International Development Job Board – Is a coworking space based in Denver, Colorado with over 60 member organizations. Their job board lists openings at Posner and the center’s members.
- Unreasonable Careers – Jobs at Unreasonable Startups or the Unreasonable team.
- BCorps Jobs Board openings at certified B Corps, which are companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
- BUSINESS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – Jobs in Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entreprenuership.
- Mission Investing Job Bank – shares career opportunities in mission investing at member foundations, affiliate member organizations and other organizations
- Social Enterprise Alliance Job Board – Positions in the social enterprise sector.
- Social Impact Jobs – List from Echoing Green, one of the leading orgs in the field.
- Big Society Capital – jobs at Big Society Capital, as well as relevant opportunities within the social investment market.
- Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs Job List. List positions in small and growing business member companies/organizations around the world.
- OpenGov Hub Member Jobs – Job opportunities from organizations based at the OpenGov Hub in Washington, DC.
- Liberation Tech Jobs – Listserv that has jobs exploring how information technology can be used to defend human rights, improve governance, empower the poor, promote economic development, and pursue a variety of other social goods.
- Be Social Change Jobs – Maintains a job board of positions and internships in key social change orgs.
- Open Gov Jobs – Positions related to open government.
- Impact Design Hub Jobs – Jobs at the intersection of public interest, social impact, humanitarian, and community design.
- Jobscsr.com – positions worldwide in the following sectors Social, Environment, Economic, Health & Safety, Climate Change, Human Rights, Finance.
- Give to get Jobs – Opportunities in the for profit sector that are involved in social change.
- ICT4D Jobs – Opportunities in information and communication technology for development.
- Young Professionals in Foreign Policy Job Board – Careers in international Affairs, largely NY and DC based positions.
- Zebra Jobs – A leading online portal for jobs in Africa, many focused on development related issues.
- JOBS FOR CHANGE – Useful resources and guides to careers in social change.
- BRITISH OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT NETWORK – Listing of Jobs at Key UK Based International Development Organizations.
- ALERTNET – Jobs in International Development and Humanitarian Relief.
- EUROPEAN PEACE BUILDING LIAISON OFFICE -Jobs at European Based Organizations.
- FOREIGN POLICY ASSOCIATION – Listing of Jobs at Key US nonprofits involved in international affairs.
- JUSTMEANS – Jobs in Social Change and Environment.
- FOREIGN AFFAIRS – Listing of jobs in International Affairs.
- DEVNETJOBS – Listing of Many Positions in International Development and related fields.
- JOBS4DEVELOPMENT -List of many jobs worldwide in International Development and Related Fields
- MandE News Job Forum – List of jobs/consultancies related to monitoring and evaluation in international development.
- EUROBRUSSELS – EU Related Jobs.
- The New EU – European Affairs Jobs in Brussels and Europe.
- Democracy Digest Jobs – List of jobs related to political and democratic development.
- Elevator– the Good Job Network, is an exclusive marketplace for people
to list, discover and apply for good jobs in the UK.
- Society for International Development Job List – Posting of SID/DC Member Jobs.
- Next City Jobs– Jobs focused on urban issues and innovation.
- Sportanddev.org – Positions related to sports and development.
- Next Billion Career Center – Learn about job opportunities in the development through enterprise space.
- Social Venture Network – Jobs in social entrepreneurship and related fields.
- Omidyar Network -Jobs in social entrepreneurship.
- Jobs for Change – Wonderful resources on nonprofit jobs.
- Inside NGO Jobs – Jobs in international development
- On Think Tanks – Jobs at think tanks around the world.
- OneWorld Jobs – brings the latest jobs and volunteer positions from organisations working to create a better world.
- Donor Committee for Enterprise Development – job postings in private sector development.
- BCorps Jobs – lists opportunities in companies that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
- Angel List– Jobs at Startup companies largely in the Information Tech Sector (including some focused on social change).
- ED Surge Jobs – Jobs in Educational Technology & Innovation
Other Job Sites/Resources that may have relevant jobs:
- FOUNDATION CENTER – Jobs in Foundations and US based nonprofits.
- CHRONICLE OF PHILANTHROPY – Variety of jobs in US based non-profits working in diverse sectoral areas.
- CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION – Jobs in the US (and some international) Higher Education Sector.
- Association of International Educators (NAFSA JOB Board) – Jobs in international education and international student services.
- BRIDGESPAN NONPROFIT JOBS BOARD – Has useful list of nonprofit jobs in the US in diverse sectors.
- Startup Hire – Jobs at startup (particularly in tech) around the world.
- Mashable Job Board – Jobs in new/social media.
- Community Roundtable Job List – Positions related to online community management in diverse areas.
- ACRE Resources – Jobs in environmental and corporate social responsibility areas.
- BRIGHT GREEN ALERT – Executive search firm for jobs in the green sector.
- Eco.org – jobs in the environmental sector.
- Greenona Jobs – Green jobs.
- Mashable Job Board – Jobs in Social Media.
- Net Impact – Jobs in corporate social responsibility and related fields.
- NONPROFIT OYSTER – Jobs in the nonprofit sector.
- OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS – Jobs in the nonprofit sector.
- REDF – Nonprofit and social enterprise jobs.
- TREE HUGGER – Green jobs.
- VENTURE LOOP – is the worldwide leader in job postings focused on venture-backed companies.
- Global Impact Investing Network – Jobs in impact (financial) investing.
- Microfinance Gateway Jobs – Jobs in micro-finance and related fields.
- Growth Hacker Job Listings Find jobs in growth marketing, user acquisition, conversion rate optimization, content marketing, analytics, product, and more (many are at tech startups).
- Nonprofit Technology Job Board – openings at the intersection of nonprofit and tech.
3) Use your contacts/networks – One of the key strategies for finding a job/internship is to consult your personal and professional networks. Let your professors, colleagues and friends know that you’re seeking an opportunity and perhaps they will have suggestions/contacts. University career centers and alumni can also be terrific resources.
4)Join New Networks– Joining a professional network in the field can also be a useful way to make contacts and learn about opportunities. Some relevant networks include:
Society for International Development or Society for International Development DC Chapter
Association for Conflict Resolution
Women in International Security
Peace and Justice Studies Association
5) Examine Ethical Practice – When you are researching an organization it is important to make sure that the organization’s ethics and practice fit with your values. If you’re offered a job (hopefully before this happens) learn about what the organization does, how do they treat their staff, how do they work in they field and with partners, etc.
6) Considering Taking a Job to Get Experience – Although many people would like to obtain their ideal job right away, sometimes it may be worth considering taking a job that will help you develop the necessary skills, contacts and experience that in the future can help lead to more of an ideal job.
7) Explore Fellowship Opportunities – There are many excellent fellowships/scholarships that do provide funding for independent research/volunteer work/study. Thus, fellowships can be an excellent way to get experience in the field. You can find many fellowships/scholarships on this site by searching by various keywords.
8) Explore Organizations that Have Developed Mentoring Programs for New Employees – A number of organizations have developed special entry level positions in which new employees receive extra mentoring. Look for organizations that have Junior Program Officer Positions (some in the UN), Entry Level Fellowships (Catholic Relief Services in the US) and others.
9) Develop an Expertise in a Needed Area – There are number of current areas in which the field is in need of developing further expertise. Developing your skills in this area can make you more attractive to potential employers. Some areas include: Program Evaluation and Monitoring, Conflict Mainstreaming and Conflict Sensitivity (Integrating Conflict Across Sectors), Organizational Conflict Management. Talk with your colleagues and other professionals in the field to see what might be potential growth areas.