There is no cookie cutter path to finding a career with social impact. Making an impact in your day to day work is no longer limited to a job with a non-profit organization. With a general trend towards social responsibility in the US and around the world, there are a number of new career tracks in impact and limitless ways to arrive to your ideal position.
1. Create a Personal Mission
Drafting a personal mission will provide you with a solid start to creating a career in social impact. When in doubt about your path, this is the mantra, quote, or curated statement that you always return to. It’s important to note that your mission may not perfectly align with your current position, or your next job, but it is an ideal that you are working to reach. Check out the personal mission statements of 5 CEOs here.
2. Offer Your Skills
There are a number of organizations that are in great need of skills-based volunteers. This means that you can use your professional skills - those that you enjoy most - to assist a non-profit or social enterprise. Even if the organization is unable to hire you, it’s a great opportunity to get your foot in the door and to receive introductions and connections. A few organizations that will connect you with pro-bono volunteer opportunities include, Moving Worlds, Taproot, and Venture with Impact.
Some experts say that more than 70% of jobs are landed through networking. One of the best ways to meet new people in your desired field is to follow your interests. Join groups, clubs or organizations that appeal to you and participate in activities with like-minded people.
An additional way to meet new people is by setting up informational interviews. They provide you with a specific reason to set up a meeting and also to learn more about positions that involve social impact.
4. Create your own career or position
CSR (corporate social responsibility) is a lasting trend among businesses and companies, and in order to please customers and employees, many are open to new ideas on how to reach their CSR goals in an economically efficient way. Think about how you may be able to be a social intrapreneur at your own company by creating change from within your organization.
If you have your own idea for social change, go for it! In 2016, I quit my job as a public school teacher, and moved abroad to Peru for a part-time position with a local non-profit. I had an idea for my own social impact travel company in mind, and I knew that getting abroad was my first step. After that leap, I was able to figure out the rest along the way.
5. Educate Yourself & Stay in the Loop
In order to be attractive to employers, and also to have a better understanding of opportunities that exist it’s vital to stay up to date.
Follow thought leaders on social media, (on Twitter try #sustainability #CSR #socialimpact and @skollfoundation @SSIReview)
Read books related to the social impact movement (e.g. The Purpose Economy and Social Movements for Good)
Watch documentaries related to your field of interest
Invest in yourself with a personal development retreat.
About the Author: Lady boss, wander-luster, and cancer survivor, Ann Davis traveled to over 40 countries before founding Venture with Impact, a social enterprise that mixes social impact and cultural experiences abroad.