Considering a Career in the Free-Market World? Here are Five Things To Consider - America's Future

January 28, 2020

Career Advice

Considering a Career in the Free-Market World? Here are Five Things To Consider

By: Claire Kittle Dixon

Are you or someone you know leading the life of Peter Gibbons, toiling away in an unfulfilling job, longing for something better?

If so, don’t fill out another TPS report! Instead, start plotting your career change into the liberty movement immediately if not sooner.

But remember that making the transition (whether from the private sector, government, academia, politics, or the broader nonprofit space) won’t necessarily be easy. It may take some time and a few attempts, but hopefully it will be worth the effort.

Here are five things to consider as you plot your path to fulfillment.

1. You may have to take a pay cut.
Thought I would just rip off the bandaid and start with that one. Depending on your current role/sector, it’s quite possible you’ll need to take a pay cut if you want to transition into the liberty movement. For instance, if you’re currently earning $350k as a lobbyist, I can promise you the contents of my piggy bank that you’ll need to adjust your salary expectations if you want to make this move.

Check the organization’s 990s to get a sense of pay. But remember: if you’re aiming to replace someone who has been with the organization for a good period of time, do NOT expect to come in making the same salary the person had when they left. And as with any transition, you may have to take a step back in order to take a few steps forward.

Finally, if money is your primary motivating factor when it comes to work, I would suggest you consider other career paths. Now, to be clear, you can make a very nice living in the nonprofit space, but in our world, it’s more about fulfillment than it is about money.

2. Help employers see that you love liberty.
This is probably the most important thing you can do. All of us in the free-market world are here because we want to be, and we want to hire people who are equally passionate about advancing liberty. You can help employers understand that you’re passionate in several ways, the easiest of which is to express it clearly in your cover letter. A more compelling way to demonstrate this passion is through action, which could include being an active member of a liberty oriented organization (America’s Future FoundationBastiat SocietyYoung Americans for Liberty, etc.), attending a liberty-oriented event/seminar/conference, or volunteering for a free-market nonprofit.

3. Help employers understand why your skill set would be valuable.
It won’t always be manifest to the employer how your skill set will lend itself to the job at hand. So, help them understand! That means reading the job description carefully and then clearly describing how your past work aligns. It also means cutting the jargon, abbreviations, and junk phrases that often litter resumes and make no sense to people in other sectors. If your resume sounds like the Peanuts teacher (Wah wah wah wah wah wah), you’re in trouble.

4. Some transitions will be easier than others.
The easiest transitions are usually in communicationsmediamarketingfinance, and administrative roles. That’s because skills for these roles are often viewed as universally applicable. Transitioning from a fundraising role is a little trickier. While many of the skills transfer, employers worry that candidates may not adapt to the very different approach we have here. For instance, fundraising for a political candidate or a university is viewed as a different beast than fundraising for a think tank. Likewise, transitioning from a legal role is also complicated. Here clients are usually looking for subject matter expertise. Senior management is one of the most difficult transitions. A successful private sector CEO may well have the capacity to effectively run a free-market think tank, but if the candidate doesn’t have experience in policy and fundraising, the board may focus on candidates who do.

5. Act like you’ve been there before.
Even if you’ve never spent time in the free-market nonprofit world, do enough homework so that it’s not patently obvious you’re a newb. For instance, don’t say you’re excited to work for “your company.” Call it an organization or nonprofit, or better yet, use the actual name of the entity! Also, don’t ask about “signing bonuses.” As a capitalist pig, I’d love it if signing bonuses were commonplace in our world, but they aren’t.

Here’s the great news: 72% of Talent Market’s placement come from outside of the free-market movement. That means the majority of the people we place are making a transition from another sector to our world! Clearly,  it can be done!

So, make sure your information with Talent Market is up to date and keep on pursuing your dream! We look forward to working with you!

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