Although the transition of sales and marketing professionals to careers in social justice is not commonly discussed, there appear to be opportunities for individuals from these backgrounds to pivot their skill sets into traditional social justice career paths as well as transition more directly to sales and marketing opportunities within social justice organizations.
Transition to Traditional Social Justice Roles
- Despite the fact that there is no meaningful public discourse or directly-compiled information regarding the shift of sales and marketing professionals to careers in social justice, a review of traditional positions within the field of social justice suggests there are opportunities for those with sales/marketing backgrounds to pivot such skill sets into new social justice career path.
- Specifically, a review of over 25 of the most commonly discussed roles in the field of social justice by industry experts (e.g., Human Rights Careers, Study.com, Affordable Colleges Online (ACA), HumanServicesEdu, Social Work Degree Guide) identified several traditional social justice careers that require skill sets similar to sales/marketing roles: researcher, advocate/lobbyist, community development worker and activist.
- According to Human Rights Careers, the role of the researcher is common across a variety of social justice organizations, ranging from nonprofits and academic institutions to research institutes and government organizations.
- The social justice publication adds that these researcher roles typically focus on gathering relevant information and statistics on social justice issues (e.g., poverty, indigenous rights, racial justice) and packaging this data to support larger organizational programs, influence policy decisions and inform the public and other relevant stakeholder groups.
- Moreover, Human Rights Careers adds that the qualifications for social justice researcher roles are largely experience-based, and have significant commonalities with marketing roles.
- In particular, career trades (e.g., The Balance Careers) and marketing media (e.g., ADMA, CoSchedule) consistently report that skills such as data gathering, surveying, analyzing and other research abilities are a cornerstone of today’s marketing professional skill set.
Advocate/Lobbyist, Community Development Worker
- In contrast to the researcher role, the social justice positions of advocate/lobbyist and community development worker appear to share skills requirements that are similar to sales professionals.
- As discussed in detail by Human Rights Careers and Study.com, all three of these traditional social justice roles are focused on advocating for a social justice cause, which may range from policy and legislative goals at the national level to community initiatives at the local level.
- Notably, the skills associated with such advocacy positions (e.g., emotional intelligence, negotiation skills, persuasion and working with others) are also fundamental to experienced sales professionals, as discussed by sales industry experts (e.g., Janek Performance Group, ISM, Brainshark).
- However, the traditional advocate/lobbyist and community development worker roles within social justice fields typically require a bachelor’s degree, whereas many sales roles do not.
- Lastly, the role of social justice activist appears to offer opportunities for a professional who has both sales and marketing experience.
- Also referred to as organizers or campaigners, ACA reports that the traditional activist role in the area of social justice is a ground-level position that relies on both collaboration and research skills to effectively work with local stakeholders (e.g., governments, citizens, journalists, business owners) to “highlight inequalities and increase public engagement” on specific social justice issues.
- As such, the core capabilities of both a sales and marketing background would be indispensable and dovetail well into the social justice activist role, depending on personal preferences.
Transition to Social Justice Organization
- Meanwhile, a potentially more direct career path for sales and marketing professionals into the area of social justice are sales and marketing roles at social justice organizations.
- As highlighted by Ohio State University, the field of social justice is home to a wide array of organizations, specializing in areas such children & family and community development to civil liberties and disease & disability.
- For example, in the area of marketing, positions with social justice organizations can range from more entry-level (e.g., Marketing and Outreach Assistant for CNY Fair Housing) to mid-level (e.g., Social Media Strategist with Unitarian Universalist Association) and senior-level (e.g., VP Marketing & Communications for YMCA USA).
- Similarly, sales positions within social justice organizations vary from local opportunities (e.g., Business Development Sales Professional with Urban Upbound) to positions with national institutions (e.g., Enterprise Account Executive, Nonprofit Major Markets (Strategic Sales) at NGP VAN).