I am interested in working as a grant writing consultant while pursuing a Masters in Public Administration. I have some previous work experience in this area and have successfully completed a course in order to become a grant-writing consultant. Although it was very insightful, I feel that it would be beneficial if I could speak with someone who has chosen this career path in order to learn about additional training necessary to start the process. Can you offer any suggestions?
Hi Michele –
Your instincts are spot on! The best way to get the inside story on any career is to speak directly with people working in that field.
There are a few ways you can go about finding people with whom you can do these informational interviews:
Talk to grant writers at your university
Every university seeks grant funding, so every university has people (on staff or on contract) that write grants. Check with the staff in your Development Office (the fundraising folks!). There probably are a few folks who do grant writing and would be willing to share their advice with you.
Find grant writers on LinkedIn
I did a quick search of my personal network on LinkedIn for the title “Grant Writer” – current or past – and it returned 602 names!
Now, my network is quite large, so your search many not net as many results, but it will net some, and you only need a few.
Be prepared for the informational interviews
Not sure what an informational interview is?
Read my Guide to Informational Interviewing.
When you schedule an informational interview you are asking the interviewee for their most valuable commodity – their time! Don’t waste it by being unprepared. Be ready to ask good, inquisitive questions. Seek their advice and insight. Don’t ask questions you can answer yourself by doing a Google search.
Do your homework
I always recommend that job seekers and career explorers connect with the professional associations in the fields they are pursuing.
In the case of grant writing, you should target the American Grant Writers Association (AGWA). It lists Job Opportunities and Training resources, including the Grant Writer Certification courses. Perhaps the course you took was an AGWA course.
I also recommend reading this very good download from Entrepreneur.com on Choosing Grant Writing for a Career Path. It provides a nice overview of the career path.
And lastly, here is a rather old (but still valuable) article from the Chronicle of Higher Education: Debunking Some Myths About Grant Writing. The article might be a bit dated but the advice is still sound.
Hope this information and these resources help!