Getting a great job in the highly competitive field of human rights can be a struggle. A Masters degree alone often does not set you apart to grab the attention of recruiters. Consequently it is more important than ever to hone your Human Rights CV to stand out from the crowd with additional skills that you can aquire through volunteering, paid internships or online courses.
No matter if you seek to work for the United Nations, a recently established grassroots NGO or your local government, they all might demand skills that you won’t learn in most Masters.
1. Learn an United Nations language
Many human rights jobs in the UN require applicants to be fluent in at least two of the six official UN languages Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. In almost all job announcements at the UN additional language skills are considered an asset.
Similarily, if you want to become a Delegate for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) you must be fluent in at least two languages paired with working knowledge of a third language.
Learning an Eastern European language might be your entry pass to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), where you can earn well as election observer or join the rewarding work of the Representative of Freedom of Media (RFOM) in Vienna, Austria.
If you consider to work for the European Court of Human Rights or the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, two of the most progressive human rights mechanisms that exist, you should consider to learn French or Spanish. Some of the most interesting human rights jobs out there require extensive language skills.
2. Learn how to tell stories
Countless fantastic human rights vacancies across all different levels and personal backgrounds are directly related to your communication skills. Those who know how to tell stories are often great influencers on social media, inspiring web content writers or terrific public speakers.
They know how to evoke empathy, one of the key drivers for engaging others for human rights and they are capable of inspiring their audiences to become active in human rights.
Coursera is offering free courses in Storytelling, teaching you how to tell stories across multiple traditional and digital delivery platforms in an effective way.
3. Study how to negotiate
Human Rights jobs are often related to negotiation. No matter if you negotiate with your line manager about additional funding for a once in a lifetime opportunity or if you lobby members of the European parliament, to know how to negotiate, can significantly increase the impact of your work.
If you aim for a job in diplomacy great negotiation skills are among your strongest assets.
Coursera is offering courses to improve your negotation skills from home at your own pace.
4. Learn how to manage a project
After finishing your study you might be prepared in a great way to conduct research on a specific topic, managing a project in human rights where you are juggling with limited resources, narrow deadlines and periodically evolving interpersonal conflicts is a different story.
Knowing how to manage a project successfully will help you to establish and reach the goals of your human rights work in a more efficient way. Project management skills are useful in almost any position, from your first entry level job to a senior level position. To learn the basics and principles of project management is a very worthwile investment of your time.