|For readers unfamiliar with (Name of Agency) would you please take a few moments to describe the agency.
The organization is called the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal)—it is one of the three affiliates in the state of California. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defends the fundamental rights outlined in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These include the right to freedom of speech and assembly, the right to religious freedom, due process of law, equality before the law and the right to privacy. The ACLU also relies on state constitutional provisions and federal and state laws that further these and similar rights.
What types of opportunities are available within your agency in terms of employment and, or volunteer opportunities for human service professionals?
There are a lot of internship and volunteer opportunities to work with the ACLU across eight different projects: jails, police practices, criminal justice, education advocacy, immigrant rights, LGBT, gender and reproductive justice, first amendment and economic justice. The ACLU hires attorneys, organizers, policy advocates to do the programming work and other professionals for support. To find out about job and internship/volunteer opportunities, these can be found: https://www.aclusocal.org/en/about/careers
How is (Agency) distinguished from others?
We are seen as the premier defender of rights preserved in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and we stand up for those rights even when what or who we are defending is seen as unpopular. We strongly believe in fighting for the rights of all and we have a long history of staying true to that principle.
For those entering the job market what advice would you give them in terms of making a good impression and standing out from other applicants?
It depends on the agency/organization and what type of experience they are looking for. When I hire, I look to see how passionate the applicant is in the area of focus and the population the agency serves. If attempting to obtain a job in a non-traditional agency, steer away from using “social work” terms and talk about your skills, abilities and experiences in more relatable terms. The social work degree is extremely versatile and I view it as a people’s degree—if the work involves people, you know how to interface with them. Show that you’re a team player, but also someone who is solutions focused. It’s easy to be critical and point out problems, but you show worth and value as a problem solver. If you don’t get your “dream job” get a job that will help you get closer to it. It should be common sense, but dress appropriately—you can’t go wrong in a suit; make sure you don’t have any spelling or grammatical errors in your resume or cover letter; and research the agency, the position you are applying to and who your interviewer(s) is.