I’ve noticed a pattern in job ads over the past decade – and I read a lot of them to keep up with what is going on in my career area. Many of these ads have the same title (such as Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Specialist), and yet they all vary quite a bit from each other.
You will be much better informed about your job search if you take the time to read the job ads through completely – even those ads whose position title doesn’t seem quite apt for you. I have seen jobs for M&E specialists that really encompass more program management work – and I have seen the opposite: program manager jobs where most of the skills and experience desired seem to fit that of an M&E specialist. And job ads will often describe the organization which gives you insights into its culture as well.
So I always recommend that you read more than just the job title - read job ads and see what appeals to you. As you read more of them, identify where your skills and experience best fit. Your professional profile will begin to emerge. When possible, read more than one job ad from the same company to give you insight into the technical area(s) a company is building or new work they have won. These efforts will also help you better identify where you want to work organizationally - on the government side, for a not-for-profit company, for a consulting organization, or for a foundation.
And, once you’ve secured the position you want, don’t stop reading those job ads. Have I convinced you by now what a valuable source of information they are?