This is the second of three blogs in a series inspired by the P2P+ employer spotlight session. The first blog shared tips for how to choose the right opportunities at EnCompass and how to put your best foot forward. This blog will take a step back and look at tactics to make the connections you want, not only for your job search but for mentorship and professional development.

Where to look for work: At EnCompass and beyond

Do some research and identify a list of organizations you really want to work with. Interested in D.C.-based international development consulting agencies? Consider looking into membership with Washington Evaluators or SID-Washington, both have programs oriented toward students and emerging professionals. Check out the USAID DEC to see who works with USAID and what kinds of work they do. DevelopmentAid shares great information on the sector more broadly. You can research donors, awardees, and so much more.

finding your next opportunity

Once you have a sense of what you want to do and who you want to work with, research your target employers to learn about their particular services and areas of expertise. Read through their various job openings to learn more about what they look for in candidates at various levels. Keep an eye on their websites and social media for open positions. Sign up for their consultant databases or mailing lists. You may not hear anything for some time, but if you register in their database you will be searchable when the right opportunity arises.

Network, network, network

The relationships you build today may not result in immediate job opportunities, but they will pay off in many direct or indirect ways. One easy place to find people is LinkedIn. Send an invitation to connect with a short note. Be sure to check out what they are posting about and “like” or comment as appropriate. LinkedIn also has a number of “groups” that are dedicated to the evaluation community; you may want to check those out as well.

Twitter is another excellent source of information. Search relevant hashtags like #evaltwitter, #EvalYouth, #eval4action, see where that takes you. When you find organizations or people who share interesting information to follow, look to see who they follow to find others that may be of interest to you!

Join listservs like xceval, AFREA, IDEAS, and Peregrine (Better Evaluation). Pay attention to who is posting and try to connect with those people on Twitter and other platforms to begin building a connection.

Free communities of practice, like P2P+ or Evalyouth, are great places to build your network. They regularly offer opportunities to meet other YEEs and learn more about the essential skills for this field. You can learn so much by doing your own research and finding a community that is right for you. Get started with ALNAP, Devex, Society for International Development, EvalPartners, Global Evaluation Initiative, EvalCommunity, Gender and Evaluation Community.

Stay tuned for the final blog post in this series where we will share information on how to harness your strengths, create visibility, and keep working toward your future dream job.