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One Student’s Path: Carly Richardson

headshot of Carly Richardson

This story was written by Carly Richardson, a Department of Sociology and Anthropology Student Ambassador who is majoring in sociology and political science.

Second Day is a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the “talent gap” for social impact, that is, the disparity between interest in mission-driven careers and the number of applications from college seniors that go to social impact organizations. Part of the problem lies within the organizations themselves: 70% of nonprofits don’t have a recruiting budget. As a result, they can’t always afford to promote themselves at college career fairs or other talent acquisition events leading to many hires coming from pre-existing warm connections- and leaving many college seniors in the dark about their options. 

Second Day offers two programs to tackle this issue: the Impact Fellowship and the Community Scholars Program. Each program is uniquely designed to prepare seniors to enter the social impact sphere after graduation.The Impact Fellowship connects Second Day fellows to an internship opportunity at a partnering organization. An important note is that all internships through Second Day are paid. Part of what depresses the talent pipeline is the prevalence of unpaid internships at social impact organizations. Many students simply cannot afford to intern without pay and, as a result, are put at a disadvantage in the eventual hiring process. As Fellows go through their internship, Second Day offers guidance and support throughout the experience. The Community Scholars Program provides similar support without the internship component.

Over the summer, I was a Community Scholar completing a project on “personal branding” to ready my job application materials ahead of senior year. While working on my summer project, I also met weekly with a cohort of other Community Scholars from across the country in Zoom meetings facilitated by a professional social impact strategist. In these meetings, we shared our passions and motivators, our anxieties and our successes as we dove into what a career in social impact looks like- and how to get one. We covered personal budgeting, elevator pitches, networking and more. Within my summer project, I revamped my resume and LinkedIn while exploring Second Day’s career guides, cover letter tips, and extensive job boards. 

Second Day, its programs, and its mission are especially relevant to those of us in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. In our classes, we learn the theoretical background behind modern social problems and gain the skills necessary to do something about them. Despite this, the talent gap, unpaid internships, and other barriers to access prevent many of us from securing the mission-driven careers we seek in order to work on solving the problems we’ve studied in the classroom. In my case, taking Sociology of Medicine (SOC 381) with Dr. Yocom during my sophomore year is what truly invigorated my interest in the economic and social conditions that influence health outcomes. However, I was unsure on how to translate that interest into job titles and career paths. Second Day was the ideal transitional link between my academic experience and my future career.

Recently, Second Day has released The Launchpad, an online portal providing in-depth career guides for a wide variety of industries. This platform comes as another major step in their effort to improve access to talent pipelines leading to careers in social impact. I’ve personally found the public health guide especially useful as I find myself on the other side of my Community Scholar Program experience, during which I was able to conduct several informational interviews with professionals working in my fields of interest. Doing so allowed me to narrow down exactly what I was most interested in and The Launchpad’s guide then offered me actionable steps for what to do next. 

As Second Day co-founder Mariam Matin stated in an interview, “social impact is not that structured… and that scares people.” Part of Second Day’s mission is to demystify and democratize careers in social impact by providing the direction, community, and resources people need to pursue these careers with confidence. As a result of  my experience as a Community Scholar, I feel more assured in my path through senior year and after graduation- and I have the support and community from Second Day to take with me through it.