Monitoring and Evaluation is seen as a technical field with little youth involvement. And like other fields of work, it is imperative that young and emerging evaluators meet some requirements to enable them to access opportunities in evaluation. As we celebrate the Youth in Evaluation Week, the following tips will guide you through your career path as a young and emerging evaluator:
Get your Curriculum Vitae and Cover Letter Ready: A curriculum Vitae is like an identity card. It speaks on your behalf. So every individual who attained an A Level should have a CV. Tailor your CV to meet the objectives of an organization. For example, an organization is looking for somebody with experience in data collection. So you need to highlight one or two experiences on what you have done in a project; share skills you have gained during the data collection process. Could be working as an enumerator. your CV should meet those requirements, they are essential in recruitment. So you need to look at the objectives of who’s recruiting, why they are recruiting, and be able to answer those requirements.
Cover Letter: A cover letter allows you to sell yourself to recruiters. As a beginner who might have recently graduated, you can talk about your roles in the student association, awards, and volunteering opportunities you did, if any. In addition, you should express how working with the organization can benefit your career, highlight relevant experiences, the outcome, and how well you can deliver in the position.
Find in this link CV and Cover Letter Types you can adapt to write or submit to an organization.
Volunteer your Time: Volunteering is providing service for free or with a little stipend. Therefore, getting voluntary experience while waiting for a job is important. It provides you with skills that are only acquired on the job. You can volunteer remotely or in-person to get professional experience. While searching for an organization to volunteer for, ensure it is a reputable firm that can provide a reference and recommendation letter when seeking a job. While volunteering, establish a relationship with individuals in the organization that creates room for more opportunities. Most early entering role in evaluation starts from being an enumerator, also called a field data clerk. You could volunteer to carry out an enumerator work.
Find A Mentor: A mentor is someone you look up to and admire in his/her career pathways. Getting a mentor would help you shape how you think, increase your knowledge in the field of evaluation, and provide you access to more opportunities. As an up-and-coming evaluator, you should have a mentor at every stage of your career to find somebody you can always speak to, like a mentor. It could be your boss where you’re volunteering, you could look out for thought leaders in evaluation, or other experienced people that are doing things around evaluation. You find this individuals on LinkedIn, and when in it, be cautious of your mentors time.
Join a Community of Practice: As a young and Emerging Evaluator, it’s important to be a member of a community of practice, the community provides updates on the job market, capacity-building training, conferences, and webinars. You can join the Young and Emerging Evaluator (YEE) Network in your country. The YEE is shepherd by the Global Network of Young and Emerging Evaluators. Other communities of practice you can join include African Evaluation Association(AfrEA); Nigeria Association of Evaluators; Young, and Emerging Evaluators Nigeria; South Africa Monitoring and Evaluation Association; Kenya Evaluation Society On other continent, you can join American Evaluation Association; Canadian Evaluation Society; European Evaluation Society; and a list of others. One way to access more communities or individuals in evaluation is by optimizing your LinkedIn platform, engaging with individuals working in the field of evaluation, sharing your work on your wall, and network with others.
The above tips will guide you through your career path as a young and emerging evaluator. For other tips, I recommend Isese Sor’s 6 things to consider in before starting your career in M&E and Zenda Ofir’s Collection of Top Tips for YEE.
Watch the video recording of how young and emerging evaluators can start a career in monitoring and evaluation.
Just in case you are thinking of further education in monitoring and evaluation, you can check out the Better Evaluation Global Directory of Academic Programs in Evaluation. However, I will advise that you garner some experience after your University bachelors degree before thinking of a Masters program in evaluation.
About the Author
Oludotun A. Babayemi is a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Specialist at Cloneshouse. He brings systems thinking into program development. He is a Draper Hills Fellow of the Stanford University Center on Development, Democracy, and Rule of Law (CDDRL) and a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow. He has vast experience designing and leading the rigorous evaluation of in-country development projects of international partners such as John Snow Inc, Japan International Corporation Agency, and GIZ in the areas of health, water resources, and small businesses, respectively. In addition, Oludotun spends his spare time mentoring and learning from aspiring entrepreneurs.