Finding a Job in the Freethought Movement

Andrew Seidel is one of the attorneys at the Freedom From Religion Foundation and one of my go-to people for advice on legal issues. At the 2012 Secular Student Alliance conference, he gave a great talk on finding jobs in our movement — what you should be doing when you’re in college, what skills employers are looking for, etc.

Turns out good writing and public speaking skills (mixed with tech-savviness) can get you far. That may only be outweighed by an ability to fundraise. Those aren’t the only kinds of positions groups seek, but those are definitely skills to hone up on if you want a job in our (or any similar) movement.

Before his talk, Andrew asked a number of leaders in the freethought community about their hiring decisions — like what skills they looked for and the least desirable candidate traits. He created a document (PDF) putting all that information together.

The best pieces of advice, in my opinion?

Volunteer in the freethought movement even if you aren’t working in it — Nothing shows an employer you are committed than being active even when you are getting paid for it.

It’s not (just) what you know or who you know. It’s who knows what you know.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    I’m a music major, so I don’t think I’ll have much of a shot at it. Unless they want some pro-secular piano music or some “down with religion” choral arrangement. 

  • Anonymous Atheist

    JT Eberhard was a music major, y’know. You don’t have to only do work relevant to your major (but you can if you want).

  • Stan

    I love the idea of an atheist hymnal, Aaron.  Get to work!

  • Marco Conti

    I guess some of us have our business. It would be ice to have a “Atheist Friendly” listing of services available. I thought once I saw a directory of atheist businesses but it has been a while. In order to work and be useful for the providers and the community at large, it would need more support from blogs like this one, as well as some system to rate the businesses, avoid false bad ratings and avoid theist reprisal. Not an easy task, but speaking for myself, I would much rather give my money to a business I knew was closer to my worldview and as a business owner I would prefer a non-theist clientele.

    Additionally, every year I pick one or two non-profits to donate some of my work to. I have helped both secular and theists non-profits (making sure that the theistic non profit were not of the fundamental kind and actually did good works). Such a directory could also list those non profits as a potential employer, service provider and client.

  • M. Elaine

    I volunteer to move the bottom margin on that PDF by a quarter inch. :D

  • qtip

    Any suggestions on how to find volunteer opportunities? I’ve been doing training and putting together PPT presentations for years but so far haven’t found any atheist organization that needs that skillset in a volunteer.