Follow Your Purpose: Finding a career for good
Last week, I gave a presentation about social business to a group of college students. I shared with them some ideas for how to define your values and purpose and put that into a story about the social innovation or business idea you might have. After the presentation, students approached me and asked largely the same question — “How can I get involved in social business?“
Here’s the thing…students are from different backgrounds and majors, so a marketing student and a young engineer are not really looking for the same thing. In other words, there is no simple way to answer the question–it takes each student to start looking around at all the opportunities out there and find what speaks to them. I thought it would be really useful to pull together the best ‘jumping off points’ to the opportunities that are out there for students. Whether it’s a fellowship, first job, summer internship, volunteer project, or a class, there are many ways to dive in to social enterprise.
Find your Calling
There is one big step to take before diving into the hunt for opportunities. Know thyself. Ask yourself some important questions and discover what you are truly passionate about first, and get an overview of the process:
How To Find a Job with Social Impact
5 Lessons For Becoming a Social Justice Entrepreneur
This is also stated in the article linked above, but I want to emphasize it again. Once you know what issue you are passionate about, spend some time, either locally, nationally, or abroad, volunteering with an NGO that works on that issue. Even if you know what you’re passionate about, there’s nothing like getting out there and experiencing it for yourself. That experience becomes part of your story, and gives you a leg up when applying for internships and jobs.
Get an Internship
Internships are the stepping-stones to getting the career you want. Often times internships are very competitive, so it’s important to build your experience locally, in school, or through volunteering to set yourself a good chance of landing one. Here are three great places to look for internships with companies and non-profits that do good.
Get a Fellowhsip
Fellowships are an amazing opportunity to put your passion and ideas into practice around social innovation.
Echoing Green – Fellowship Listings
Get a Job
This one can be trickier. Start by finding the companies or nonprofits you really want to work for, and start tracking their blogs and websites to catch any job openings. In addition, Echoing Green has a great blog series called Social Impact Jobs that collects many of the best opportunities.
NetImpact Job Board
Echoing Green – Job Site Listings
Echoing Green – Social Impact Jobs
These are just a few of many places online to find opportunities for a life and career with purpose. If you have any other tips, suggestions for places to looks, or other ideas, leave a comment!