Ok, this is a little bit off topic but feel the need to chime in here since I have a human rights degree and work in security/development.
Your statement of purpose should really specific. As specific as you can get. This is for a few reasons, but most importantly because it goes beyond your the “right now” (SoP) and really has a lot of implications for the “later” (after graduation).
Working in an INGO and or a “consultant” is incredibly specific, incredibly competitive work. It often involves working for free for years before you even get the chance to earn a paycheck. I’m sure you already know this, but you need to have an idea of what you’re willing to do for 2+ years and where you’re hoping it will get you. The reason I’m saying this is because it’s going to be really difficult to keep going and push through this without a very specific picture.
Basically, here are a few suggestions I have:
1. Focus on CONCRETE SKILLs – we’re all good writers. And “knowing a lot” about the issues frankly isn’t enough. In order to end up with a job that isn’t just fundraising, you must have concrete skills that are both useful and underutilised. The best things to do for this include: Advanced Statistics (M&E); Engineering; Nutrition; GIS; Econometrics; Social Science Research Methods; This is SO important! I really can’t stress this enough! It’s the complete difference between those of us that get a job after grad school, and the people I graduated with who are still floating around with no experience taking the FSOT for the 9th time.
2. Spend time on Linkedin. Seriously. This sounds dumb, but you need to start finding people with the job that you want. And it needs to be the specific job, not a general “consultant” What do they do? What skills do they have listed? Then figure out how to get those specific skills.
3. Network your ass off. It’s really hard, this was definitely the hardest part for me until I already had a professional network. But whenever you read an awesome article in school, or read a blog about someone doing really cool work. Send them a
So yes.. In sum, take some time and figure out very specific goals. It’s really important and is the thing that will make your career actually happen.
Oh also – nearly all consultants just do research. The others, do the skills I listed above.
ETA: I hope this doesn’t come off as brusk or jerky. It’s just the truth – and one I wish someone had told me back in undergrad.