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Alumni Stories: Elinor Wilcken

Thursday, Feb 15, 2018
by Elinor Wilcken and Humanitarian Institute

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*Elinor (3rd from right) with SSI colleagues and volunteers.

I'm working in the perfect job… for me!

I’d spent so long working underpaid, overworked hospitality jobs, but now I'm working where I want, using my education and I'm on a career path I’m passionate about.

Elinor 5

*Community engagement in Tanzania.

After graduating from my degree, I wasn’t sure what to do.

I had done community development work in Tanzania and knew this was the space I wanted to be in. I just didn't know how to get there.

I started to look at grad jobs, but they didn't seem right. I emailed a University career adviser… but they never got back to me. Call it fortuitous timing but I found the Certificate in Humanitarian Foundations program at the same time and enrolled.

In the course, I realised how much more I had to learn to work effectively in the social sector. Cory taught us theoretical frameworks with practical exercises. Demonstrated the pragmatic reality of this kind of work. Challenged me to get some concrete experience. Combined with the career development modules, the course left me feeling more prepared and excited to build a Humanitarian career.

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*Elinor hard at work during the Certificate course;)

After the Certificate, I worked in project management for a small NGO with some of the people I met in the course (heeding Cory’s advice;) - I was using logic frameworks, PESTLE and SWOT analysis and monitoring and evaluation strategies I'd learnt in the course.

I gained valuable experience, applied new skills and had something ‘concrete’ to put on my Resume. At the same time, I was implementing my job search strategy and getting better and more refined.

Some jobs required almost a thousand words with a cover letter and selection criteria! But I've learnt how to pull out my strengths and compile them efficiently using a skills bank and results based language.

And then I got an interview for a Community Engagement role with Settlement Services International.

They loved my application!

I prepared and practiced answers to interview questions and wrote down some dot points that showcased my knowledge and skills.

The interview went great and they took me on board.

I now find myself working in a large Refugee organisation in a community engagement capacity! 

I've wanted a job like this for a long time. But now I'm confident that my knowledge and experience really brings something valuable to SSI and the communities I work with. I feel I can participate in a meaningful way and use my skills to create lasting change.

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*Connect with Elinor on LinkedIn.

I truly believe people should keep learning and applying themselves. Without educating myself I wouldn't have been able to do it!

And now that I’m in the sector I’m not stopping... indeed I'm now enrolled in Humanitarian Institute's professional development programs... I’m going to keep learning, working hard and pushing for a better future.

Elinor Wilcken


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