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I am an English Literature Student who wants to work for the SDGs. What should I do?

I am a creative problem-solving person and I study literature. I want to work in international organizations for any good global causes related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. However, I am not a specialist. Is it true that I can only work in a company as a communications officer? What are the work types for generalists like me? Where can I find the resources for SDG related jobs or companies? career generalist specialist communication international-organizations sustainability humanitarian NGOs startups

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Carmen’s Answer

To start with, think about what's your strength and what you enjoy doing, then which SDG and what organisation you want to devote your career to. There are many civil societies and coporations that contribute to SDGs, and they need all kind of specialists and generatlists to operate their organisations and to deliver their programmes. From development experts to accountants to event managers to communicators.

As you're studying Literature, your strengths may be language and communications, and they are much-needed skills for many jobs in civil societies. They need people to write articles and media posts about their work to engage patrons; they need people to write grant proposals to apply for funding; they need people to write position papers based on academic research and statistical studies for advocacy. It's not a bad move to start as a communication officer or programme manager for NGOs. You can learn about the subject matter on-the-job and later become a generalist / communicator specialises in a certain area, or become a specialist with good communictions skills.

Thank you, Carmen! I am looking into it. Mena L.

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Mary’s Answer

Start two ways: 1). Focus your literature studies where you can on topics that relate to community, international studies, and women in literature (this is easier at the upper division levels). Along the way, develop your skills in persuasive writing and presentation skills. 2) Volunteer in your own community right now. Food Banks need help desperately both in person and on the phone. There will be cleanup “events” for trails, rivers, beaches, parks, and playgrounds. Work toward being a volunteer project leader - literature majors are excellent at that once they have experience.

Finish your degree (consider a Sustainability double major?), but add the purpose you have discovered. The actions you take now to support your studies will find a place on your resume/CV and will open doors for you when you search for ways to work in the fields that interest you.

Thank you, Mary! This is very helpful! Mena L.

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Dennis’s Answer


Check out the link below,

Thank you, Dennis! It is a nice article. Mena L.