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How to Build a Social Impact Career You Are Passionate About

How to Build a Social Impact Career You Are Passionate About


How to Build a Social Impact Career You Are Passionate About

How often have you found yourself saying, I wish I could find a job where I can truly make a difference in the world? Fear not - you aren't alone. In the past, we have generally associated social impact career paths with public service or nonprofit jobs. However, these days there are many different avenues to build a career with impact.

Today, social impact careers have taken on a new and exciting outlook. More and more companies are starting to realize the importance of incorporating social responsibility within their own business models. Indeed, businesses big and small are prioritizing corporate citizenship, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability. The big picture now is about blending social and environmental goals directly into business models, which, in turn, trickle down to:

  • Employees.
  • Suppliers.
  • Consumers.
  • Local communities.

What do social impact career paths look like?

The doors have swung wide open for those who are seeking a career where they can make a difference. No longer do you have to hunt for a company with a social and environmental consciousness within their business structures. Doing what you love and having the opportunity to make a difference in the world, regardless of the business, is very much a reality.

And the exciting news is that the jobs are vast and exciting. You can pursue social impact in these verticals and more:

  1. Charities/nonprofits
  2. Entrepreneurship and social enterprise
  3. Government and public services
  4. Human rights and public interest law
  5. International development
  6. International organizations
  7. Medicine
  8. Psychology
  9. Sustainability and the environment
  10. Teaching
  11. Think tanks


What kind of experience is required?

Having a passion for what you do is key in social impact career paths, as it is with anything. Just because your resume may not clearly show that you have the expertise or experience, that doesn’t mean that there aren't opportunities out there for you today. There are, and you can start now.

How to begin your social impact career

Here are a few tips to help you get involved with social impact:

Identify the skills you need to develop

Research open positions at your ideal organizations.

  1. Explore job descriptions and find overlapping skills requirements.
  2. Look to successful people in social impact.
  3. Follow relevant professional associations and influencers.

Build the right skills and experiences with hands-on learning

  1. Take certification courses or online classes - Online classes are a great opportunity to expand your knowledge, learn new skills, and become a more well-rounded social impact professional.
  2. Participate in skills-based volunteering - Good causes are one of the best ways to gain real-world experience.
  3. Engage in board service- Consider serving on a non-profit board to hone your skills and knowledge of how organizations work from the inside.
  4. Take on a stretch project in your current role - Explore opportunities within your current company to expand your skills.
  5. Train others- You will be surprised at how much you can learn by teaching others.


Taking action now

In March of 2021, Net Impact hosted a half-day conference, Good Work: Designing a Career for a Just and Sustainable World, which provided a roadmap for attendees to explore social impact in depth and gain insight from industry leaders. You can access free recordings of the following fireside chats to start you on your path to a social impact career you're passionate about:

Learn More

Net Impact is committed to supporting its community on the path to building careers in social impact. To learn more about how you can help drive businesses to create social and environmental change and build a career that matters, check out Net Impact’s Regenerative Economy Series.