Sonya Kibler, MPH, MS has spent the last ten years working in the public health field with international non-governmental agencies both in the United States and abroad. She shares from her extensive work experience some of the most effective practices for finding MPH work.
1. Conduct informational interviews
- Set up informational interviews with individuals who are working in your projected field to help you determine if a particular line of work or company is a good fit. Ask about skills needed for success, the culture of the company, and projections about the future of the field.
- Use these informational interviews to establish relationships and gather information, not to ask for a job.
- Always ask for introductions to others who work at agencies you would like to explore.
- Conduct informational interviews throughout your career, not only when you are looking for work.
2. Be active on LinkedIn
- Every MPH grad should have a LinkedIn profile and know the basics of using LinkedIn to network and get a job.
- Remember to have a professional photo, keep a professional presence, personalize invitations to connect, know all your contacts, and be able to perform advanced searches.
- Keep your profile up-to-date. You never know what opportunities might come when someone learns about you.
3. Move beyond social media
- Social media definitely has its place in a job search, but there is incredible value in forming real, lasting connections with people in your network.
- Here are some examples of how to do that:
- Join communities and conferences created around your interests. These can be online, in-person, or a combination of both. For example, Sonya is active with the CoreGroup, the Richmond Food Equity and Access Task Force, and the RVA Food Collaborative.
- Find and attend an employment group. These supportive and encouraging venues will help you network and share opportunities. Sonya attends a formal Richmond-based Meetup group which offers computer trainings, accountability groups, resume reviews, and practice interviews. You might find a group in your area through a church, a Workforce Center, a technical center…or by starting one yourself!
- Stay in contact with organizations you are tied to. Sonya stays in touch personally and electronically with her alma maters at Tufts University and Virginia Tech as well as with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and her local Workforce Center.
4. Volunteer in your community
- Reach out to local organizations. You will be able to keep your skills fresh while benefiting other people, adding to your resume, and making connections with like-minded individuals. Sonya volunteers with the Richmond City Health District, Fit4Kids (in collaboration with Richmond City Public Schools), Bon Secours Class-A-Roll and the NonProfit Learning Point.
Follow Sonya’s seasoned advice to help you find the MPH job you are looking for.