Career Change for Social Impact – How to Find a Fulfilling Job That Makes the World Better

Career Change for Social Impact

Photo by José Alejandro Cuffia


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More people than ever are interested in finding careers that contribute to the greater good. In fact, Deloitte recently published its Human Capital Trends report which shows that 77% of workers are expecting their companies to increase their social impact.

This means two things if you’re looking to find a corporate responsibility or sustainability career: First, there will be more opportunities, but not where you might expect them. And second, there will be more competition for those jobs.

In this guide, we’ve partnered with our friends at the MovingWorlds Institute who run a Global Fellowship to help people find more fulfilling work in a career path that will make the world better. And if you like what you’re reading, they have a free eGuide that provides helpful templates and how-to’s on the tips below.


1. Decide on the type of work you want to keep doing

Figure out what makes you come alive and write it out. Use assessments, friends, and professional colleagues to find the things that strengthen you, and try and stay away from things that you might be good at, but suck the life out of you. One exercise we recommend is called peaks and valleys: think back on your career. When did you love it the most, and what were you doing during that time? When were you most depleted at work, and what was happening at that time?

2. Focus on finding work that will be fulfilling

Purpose is not a cause — it’s what gives you energy while you work. Read The Purpose Economy, use the tools and research created by Imperative, and do a self-audit on the type of work that makes you feel a deep sense of fulfillment and belonging.

3. Shortlist the causes you want to impact

Some of us care about one cause while many of us are passionate about multiple causes. Shortlist the ones you care the most about and write down how and where you want to make a difference in the world, regardless of what your next job is. Not sure which one to look at the? The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals provide you a roadmap on the different goals that need your help to make a most just and sustainable planet.

4. Choose the type of organization you want to work in

You can find purposeful work and make the world better in any sector (here’s a guide to doing less harm and more good regardless of where you work). The goal for you now is to figure out what type of environment works best for you: Nonprofit? Social enterprise? Public sector? To find out more about each type, research things like Glassdoor Reviews, annual reports, and potential second or third degree connections in your network who might be willing to sit down for a coffee chat with you. Once you have more information about the different options and your own working style, you can figure out where you can do your best work.

5. Identify workplace environments that will excite you

Some of us like to work on teams in a startup incubator. Some prefer open office plans. Some don’t care, and others want to work remote. Which will sustain you? Similar to step 4 above, you need to go see different places to identify which will be best for you.

6. Find your ideal organizations

Search for the type of organizations that lie at the intersection of your strengths, purpose, and causes. Get creative and think about organizations in different sectors, sizes, and locations to find the best match.

7. Build the skills you need to earn a job

Now that you know where to go, figure out what skills and experience you need to develop to earn your dream job. Take steps to fill those through online learning platforms, university certification courses, skills-based volunteering, and other professional development programs.

8. Get experience to make your profile standout

There are many different ways to get experience, so try to think outside of the box. You could gain experience by volunteering, schooling, job-shadowing, board service, and even traveling – provided you do it intentionally. Take a few steps outside of your comfort zone to get the experience you need to develop your skills and confidence, while also helping improve your network and resume.

9. Build the RIGHT network

Strategically build your networking by “giving” more than you take. Adam Grant has great tips for this. And here are some thoughts on how to learn to love networking.

10. Fine-tune your resume and LinkedIn profile

There are many published best practices on how to do this, so spend time on google looking for tips most relevant to your industry.

11. Ace the interview and negotiation

When you prepare for an interview, prepare for negotiation, too. You’ll want to be prepared for the process in case it moves quickly. Like your resume, there are many tips that are sector-specific, so take time to best understand how to shine at the place you apply to.


To summarize:

Navigating a career change in the social impact sector is hard work, so don’t go at it alone. Use your friends, a mentor, and  your social network for help. Consider joining a cohort-based program, like the MovingWorlds Institute Global Fellowship, for help:

1. Decide on the type of work you want to keep doing

2. Focus on finding work that will be fulfilling

3. Shortlist the causes you want to impact

4. Choose the type of organization you want to work in

5. Identify workplace environments that will excite you

6. Find your ideal organizations

7. Build the skills you need to earn a job

8. Get experience to make your profile standout

9. Build the RIGHT network

10. Fine-tune your resume and LinkedIn profile

11. Ace the interview and negotiation


The MovingWorlds Institute combines learning, networking, and coaching to compliment a real, in-the-field Experteering experience so you can stand out from the crowd to earn – or create – your dream job.


This article was co-authored with Mark Horoszowski, the CEO and cofounder of MovingWorlds.org, a social enterprise that operates leadership development + social impact programs for individuals as well as global corporations. Mark also serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Washington Tacoma’s Center for Social Responsibility and Leadership. You can find him on Twitter at @markhoroszowski and @experteering.


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A media platform driven by socially conscious consumers, writers, and brands changing the world through Social Impact and Social Enterprise.
Causeartist

Written by Causeartist

Causeartist

A media platform driven by socially conscious consumers, writers, and brands changing the world through Social Impact and Social Enterprise.

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