If you’re interested in a career in monitoring and evaluation (M&E), there are several steps you can take to increase your chances of success. This article provides tips and strategies for getting a job in M&E, including gaining relevant education and experience, building a professional network, and developing key skills. It also explores the different types of jobs available in M&E and the potential career paths in the field.
Table of Contents
- Acquire formal certification in Monitoring and Evaluation
- Volunteer to assist experienced evaluators
- Find an Internship in the field of Monitoring and Evaluation
- Join evaluation networks and associations (VOPE-s)
- Build your social media presence
- Prepare for the interview mindfully
- Key Takeaways
Monitoring and evaluation professionals can hail from a range of backgrounds — trained in statistics, mathematics, and research work, or with programmatic experience in specific sectors such as health, agriculture, and governance. While pathways into a career in M&E can vary, there are some key monitoring and evaluation skills that are critical.
It is essential to keep in mind that companies almost never find the ideal or perfect applicant for any open position. They consistently pick the most qualified individuals from the pool of candidates.
Getting a job in monitoring and evaluation can be overwhelming if don’t know how and where to start, and that’s why we curated this post to guide you.
Let’s dive in!
#1. Acquire formal certification in Monitoring and Evaluation
We believe that no single institution is the holy grail of M&E instruction. The course of study only needs to be accredited, recognised, and parade trainers with experience. No need to chase after a prestigious, ‘brand name learning institution’. Of far more importance is how the curriculum aligns with the stage and goals of your career.
For example, if your knowledge and experience in M&E is absolutely zero and you have made up your mind that M&E is exactly what you want to be doing with your life, then it behooves you to pursue a course that covers the fundamentals.
However, if you have worked for many years in project management and involved in numerous evaluations but lack the official ‘M&E’ job title and want to make a career shift, then perhaps you could opt for shorter professional development courses (pitched at either ‘introductory’, intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ levels) rather than pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree programme. Check out Monitoring and Evaluation Universities to find the right course for you.
#2. Volunteer to assist experienced evaluators
If you are unemployed or your current job does not allow for the opportunity to get M&E experience (maybe you work in the banking sector at the moment), you can volunteer to assist a more seasoned evaluator. Volunteering and mentorship gives you invaluable M&E experience and at the same time help you make professional connections that may eventually land you a paid job.
Many professional evaluators simply detest entering data into long Excel sheets and other statistical software. As such, they would be happy to have this mundane task done by someone else. Why not let that someone be you? There is nothing wrong in being humble and starting at the bottom of the M&E ladder. An evaluator is far more likely to mentor you and take you on as an apprentice if you actually bring some value to the table to make their lives easier. This is crucial to remember. Next time you think of contacting someone out of the blue to mentor you, keep in mind that they probably receive dozens of similar requests on a regular basis. As such, set yourself apart from others by actually demonstrating how you can be an asset to them.
Perhaps you are now wondering, ‘how do I even get to volunteer or get a prospective mentor if I never meet these evaluators?’ No worries. See our post “LinkedIn Cold Messages: How To Reach Out About a Job in Monitoring and Evaluation” for suggestions on how to come in contact with these professionals.
#3. Find an Internship in the field of Monitoring and Evaluation
If you’re interested in a career in monitoring and evaluation, one of the best ways to get started is to secure an internship. Internships can provide you with valuable experience in the field, as well as help you to build your professional network. Here are a few tips to help you get an internship in monitoring and evaluation: Do your research. Make sure you understand what monitoring and evaluation entail before you start applying for internships. This will help you to target your applications to the right organizations. Start early. The competition for internships can be fierce, so it’s important to start your search early. Utilise your network.
The monitoring and evaluation field is one of the most important and in-demand professions today. However, with the right preparation and attitude, you can increase your chances of being accepted into a monitoring and evaluation internship program. Check out our article How to Get an Internship in Monitoring and Evaluation to learn more.
#4. Join evaluation networks and associations (VOPE-s)
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) networks and associations (VOPE-s) provide a great opportunity for M&E professionals to connect with each other and share best practices. These networks can also be a valuable resource for finding M&E jobs and networking with potential employers. Some of the most popular M&E networks and associations include the American Evaluation Association, the International Development Evaluation Association, and the Monitoring and Evaluation Exchange.
It is vital for all serious M&E professionals (aspiring and seasoned) to be part of an evaluation association. This is a good way to network and learn of opportunities such as jobs that may never get widely advertised. See our article on the Evaluation Societies (VOPE-s) to join these networks.
#4. Build your social media presence
Now, more than ever, people are finding jobs on LinkedIn. In fact, six people are hired every minute on LinkedIn. A majority of recruiters (around 87 percent) use it during the hiring process, especially when vetting candidates. Your LinkedIn profile should reflect your current resume, along with links to projects, videos, and content you worked on. A professional, friendly profile photo helps recruiters put a face to the name, while a bulleted list of accomplishments using keywords can boost your credibility.
Though posting on LinkedIn is not necessarily going to get you hired, sharing and liking posts creates engagement and can help you get noticed by potential employers. If you decide to post, consider sharing pictures and summaries of projects you worked on, or articles that demonstrate your industry expertise.
You can even reach out to recruiters on LinkedIn by sending a request to connect or messaging them using InMail. When crafting your message, explain who you are, what you’re looking for, and why you’re hoping to connect with them.
Finally, clean up your presence on other social media platforms. Delete any incriminating photos, such as smoking weed, imbibing alcohol before age 21, or any other activity that could be perceived as unprofessional. Keep your pages private for additional security.
When you get an interview opportunity, read our Frequently Asked Interview Questions And Answers to know what to expect in the interview.
#5. Prepare for the interview mindfully
The interview process can be intimidating. It is helpful to remember that an interview is a two-way street—while it may seem like you are proving your worth to an employer, it is also an opportunity to assess whether the employer and role will be fulfilling for you. Preparing for an interview can help you feel more confident, so you’ll present yourself in the best possible light.
To prepare, consider writing down or saying out loud your responses to the most common interview questions. Reflect on an evaluator’s responsibilities, the skills needed to perform the role, and questions a hiring manager might ask to determine if you are the right fit. The role may require several interviews.
If your interview is virtual, and many initial screenings are, you might consider practicing mock interviews with a friend to ensure your tone and body language expresses your enthusiasm properly over the internet. Plus, small adjustments to your setup can make a difference. Clean up any clutter in your background, and make sure your internet, camera, and microphone are reliable and ready long before your interview begins.
Volunteering and mentorship gives you invaluable M&E experience and at the same time help you make professional connections that may eventually land you a paid job. If you are currently employed in development work, you may be able to create the opportunities to gain the M&E experience you seek. Go out there and land yourself the job that you deserve.
Am Looking for M&E Job in northern part of Nigeria
Hello Nasir, I can offer some tips on how to find M&E job opportunities in Northern Nigeria:
Check online job boards: You can search for M&E job openings on popular job boards such as EvalCommunity, LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and Naukri. Make sure to use relevant keywords such as “M&E,” “Monitoring and Evaluation,” “Data Analyst,” and “Research Officer.”
Research organizations: Conduct research on organizations that work in the field of development, health, education, and other areas that may require M&E professionals. Visit their websites and look for job vacancies or contact them directly to inquire about potential job openings.
I would recommend to read https://www.evalcommunity.com/find-a-me-job-in-30-days/, too.
Networking: Reach out to your personal and professional network to let them know you are seeking an M&E job in Northern Nigeria. Attend relevant events, conferences, and seminars to connect with professionals in your field and learn about potential job opportunities.
Consult M&E consulting firms: There are several M&E consulting firms in Nigeria that provide M&E services to various organizations. Reach out to them and inquire about potential job openings or short-term consulting opportunities.
Remember to tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your M&E skills and experience. Also, be prepared for interviews and assessments that may test your technical and analytical skills: https://www.evalcommunity.com/resume-scanner/
Good luck with your job search!