Let me start with the bad news. There is no job in the world with a description that simply reads, “Do good.” Doing good is, in fact, not a job. You won’t see it advertised on a website, in a newspaper or from a headhunter. That said, creating social impact may be a core part of a position a company seeks to fill.
There are stats that prove that the desire to “do good” is prevalent among millennials and mid-career professionals. A surprising 70% of college graduates across North America are now looking for jobs with companies known for integrating CSR (corporate social responsibility) into their business practices. In fact, people consistently rank finding a job that provides meaningful work as their top priority.
The good news is that there is a way to find work that does good. More and more companies recognize the importance of this growing trend. They are hiring accountants, strategists, project managers, graphic designers, lawyers, HR consultants, and they are filling every other job position that you have probably already heard of. However, what’s changed is that mission-aligned companies are seeking like-minded employees.
Companies whose core values are centered on creating a positive impact in the world are where the “do good” jobs are found today.
So how do you find them?
Today, careers that do good can be found in every industry imaginable. Every industry is being rethought, rebuilt, and redesigned in a way that does good. Companies that have an entrenched position in the way business was conducted in the past have been investing millions of dollars in this next generation of opportunities that offer a more sustainable path forward. Companies like Waste Management are investing in do-gooder companies like Recyclebank. Coca-Cola is investing in companies like Honest Tea.
Today it is possible for job seekers to make money and change the world.
Industries are being rebuilt by entrepreneurs and the people who support them. They are being built by people with real jobs making real money and making a fundamental difference in how our world operates.
So how do you stake out a job for yourself? Begin by figuring out who the leaders are who are hiring in your industry. Below are some steps you can follow to rethink the possibilities for any industry and steps you can follow to identify where the jobs are and which entrepreneurs are leading the charge. To begin uncovering the opportunities and the potential leaders to work with in your particular profession, here are four questions to ask yourself. They should spark some thoughts and give you a starting point for your explorations into reinventing your industry.
1. Why does industry X exist?
Why does this industry exist? What fundamental need does it meet? Does it ensure that people travel great distances quickly, or does it answer the question of how we know about the world around us? How will the needs be different if you look into the future ten, twenty, or even fifty years from now? Express your answer to this question in the form of a human need that will be around for many years to come.
2. What’s broken?
Asking what is broken about the current system can be a powerful, yet daunting task. Sometimes the answer is found in conversations with people who have been in the industry for years, and other times what’s broken is commonly understood by almost everyone. Knowing the current limitations, flaws, and challenges can help you identify gaps that you can fill and opportunities for innovation. How could you help to transform a company so that it’s more sustainable and more efficient? Where are the opportunities for reinvention?
3. What are the mavericks doing?
Once you begin to look, you will find people who are already working on these core questions and rethinking industries from the ground up. These people are some of your greatest assets today. They may be answering the questions in a different way than you envision answering them, but like you, they are just beginning to figure out the answers by improvising, experimenting, piloting new or untested methods, and answering similar questions. Some of these startups and renegade entrepreneurs redefining industries are featured on websites like GOOD.is. Although these pioneers seem far along, they understand that they need fresh people to collaborate with. These will be your peers, collaborators, board members, and potential bosses. Get to know what they are doing, what questions they are asking, and how they have found funding that allows them to fully dedicate themselves to realizing their answers to these core questions.
4. Who are the winners?
Understanding who profits as a result of your industry’s improved redesign will help you immediately recognize who will fund your work, who will hire you, or who will eventually acquire your company. Who currently “wins” as a result of this industry being fixed? You can guarantee that companies that are already firmly entrenched in looking for answers to this question are also looking for ways to re-create and rebuild their businesses in a changing environment. What you can uniquely offer them is the flexibility, creativity, and low stakes that are often needed to take a gamble on something new.
The people who stand to profit from your redesign are the people to look to in order to pay your bills, invest in your company, or kickstart your career. If you can help an established company see the long-term benefits of shifting gears to be part of the noble solution, they will want to support you. The real solutions are almost always good for multiple parties, and these types of solutions are going to come from people like you who can solve intractable problems with fresh eyes.
The above is an excerpt from Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money, and Community in a Changing World.
Social Good Guides (SGG): Once a person decides they want to create positive impact through a paying job, how does one go about finding listings for these types of jobs?
Dev Aujla (DA): The truth is that only about 5% of jobs are found from job listing boards. The way to really find a job in this space is to pick the industry that you are interested in, find a person that is rebuilding their company in an exciting way, and present that person with a real skill set to help them build their company.
SGG: What types of skills does a changemaker need to master before applying for a social good job?
DA: It can be anything. This is where I would look at a traditional job board. The jobs you will find listed are for graphic designers, sourcing consultants, project managers, operations directors, etc. Ask yourself what are the skills that are needed to get those jobs. Companies that are making money and doing good are running regular businesses and they need people with traditional skills.
SGG: How can job seekers educate themselves about the social good/social impact landscape before going on a job interview?
DA: Get together with one friend and create a strategy for how you plan to break into the social good world. Choose three conferences to attend. Go to two separately and go to the other with your friend. Report back and challenge yourself to follow up with the people you met at each event. If you really hold your friend accountable and he or she does the same, you will be on your way to breaking into a whole new network of professionals.
How can you stay ahead of the competition?
DA: Understand first and foremost that the companies that are hiring are hiring people with real skills. Ask yourself which real skills you can bring to the table and how you can help a company build their business or make money. At the end of the day, any social good business is simply a business like any other.
SGG: Do jobs in the social good/social impact space pay well or do you have to be ready for a pay cut?
DA: Working for companies that do good is not the same as working for nonprofits. These are real businesses that are earning real profits and rebuilding our economy. To find them, you just have to know where to look.
SGG: Where are the social good/social impact jobs listed?
DA: Although a listing is hard to come by, you can begin by understanding some of the players in the field and learning more about how the space functions. Check out the resources below. They will provide you with a whole array of leads and opportunities to find the perfect opportunity for you.
SOCIAL GOOD AND GREEN JOBS SITES + RESOURCES
• B Corporation Jobs Board
• Business for Social Responsibility
• Commongood Careers
• Echoing Green – Social Impact Jobs
• Give To Get Jobs
• Green Dream Jobs
• More Than Money Careers
• My Occupation
• Net Impact
• Opportunity Knocks
• Opportune Jobs
HEADHUNTERS AND RECRUITERS
• Be Bold by Cheryl L. Dorsey, Lara Galinsky, Don Cheadle, and John Prendergast
• Making a Life, Making a Living: Reclaiming Your Purpose and Passion in Business and in Life by Dr. Mark Albion
• Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money, and Community in a Changing World by Billy Parish and Dev Aujla
• Passion at Work: How to Find Work You Love and Live the Time of Your Life by Dr. Mark Albion and Lawler Kang
• The Encore Career Handbook: How To Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life by Marci Alboher
• Working On Purpose by Lara Galinsky with Kelly Nuxoll
RESOURCES ON INTRAPRENEURSHIP
• “The Social Intrapreneur: A Field Guide for Corporate Changemakers”
• “Move Over Entrepreneurs, Here Come The Intrapreneurs” at Forbes.com
• Insights on Intrapreneurship from a Google+ Hangout with Ashoka Changemakers
• Net Impact: Learning and Resources
The guides are primarily intended for social entrepreneurs based on the United States, though some of the resources may be generally of interest to an international audience. Please remember that many of the topics covered by the guides, such as corporate structures, laws and legal customs, accounting, business planning, funding and fundraising, etc., vary widely from country to country, and that the information presented here may not be correct, applicable, or relevant to any other country or jurisdiction.
DEV AUJLA: GUIDE AUTHOR
Founder of Catalog
Co-Author, Making Good
Dev Aujla runs Catalog, an agency which provides strategic advisory and recruiting services to companies that make money and do good. For the last ten years Dev has been at the center of a progressive new generation that is rebuilding, redesigning and rethinking the ways that we do good and make money.
He is the founder of DreamNow, a charitable organization which has helped young people organize and start community projects. Over the last ten years DreamNow has reached over fifty thousand people and raised million of dollars for sustainability and youth organizing. Dev has worked with large corporations such as BMW and Pepsi and with companies like GOOD/Corps and Change.org helping them to do good, build partnerships and launch programs across the United States and Canada.
Dev speaks regularly and has blogged for outlets that include INC Magazine and Fast Company. His writing and work have been featured in dozens of media outlets that include the New York Times, Glamour Magazine, MSNBC, CBC and The Globe and Mail.
Dev holds an English Literature degree from the University of Western Ontario and currently lives and works in New York and Toronto. He is the co-author of Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money & Community in a Changing World.
JACQUELINE GU: COVER DESIGNER
Senior Designer, 270 Strategies
Jacqueline Gu is a graphic designer who believes that design has a social responsibility to do good, give back to its community, and make an impact. Her most recent contributions include leading a mentorship group for AIGA Chicago, participating in Greater Good Studio’s project, “Designing Chicago,” an improved transit app for the city of Chicago, and working as a collaborator with Made by We, a for-benefit design studio based in Washington, DC.
She has been lucky enough to work with a diverse range of clients including HBO, Namco Bandai, Lego, and Feeding America. She holds a BFA from the University of Michigan, and is currently at 270 Strategies as a senior designer working on various nonprofits, grassroot organizations, and political campaigns.
When she isn’t designing, Jacqueline enjoys getting her hands dirty screen printing and metalsmithing, indulging in bad reality TV shows, and biking along Chicago’s beautiful Lakeshore Trail.
Consultant and Strategist, Social Good Guides
As a Design Strategist and Creative Facilitator, Marc focuses on human-centered design and social innovation. Marc organizes, plans, and leads creative workshops to create positive change and tackle some of today’s gnarly social challenges.
Through playful exercises, he helps people come up with fun, usable, and innovative solutions to challenges. With a graphic and web design background, Marc is able to put ideas generated from these workshops into action, which continues conversations and encourages further collaborations across multiple industries. He loves finding ways for organizations to make huge changes and impacts in unexpected places.
Since 2009, Marc been actively involved, as both an advisor and facilitator, in Project M, an immersive program designed to inspire and educate young creative individuals by proving that their work can have a tangible impact on the world.
A multitude of his collaborative workshops and projects have been featured in the New York Times, Fast Co, AIGA, GOOD, Print, ID, PSFK, and various other design and culture outlets. Marc has lectured and facilitated numerous workshops at a number of distinguished universities and conferences throughout the country. Among other things, Marc is building out Secret Project @ CCA along with teaching in the graphic design department, and leading GOOD SF. He also rides a bamboo bike, makes homemade hot sauce, and unplugs in the outdoors. You can follow him on Twitter, @think557
Founder, Social Innovators Collective
Series Producer, Art Director and Editor, Social Good Guides
Website | Email | LinkedIn | @shanadressler | @sic_org
In 2011, Shana Dressler founded the Social Innovators Collective with the mission to train and nurture the next wave of social change leaders to help them achieve measurable impact and financial sustainability. Since then she has been creating and leading workshops on business development for social enterprises and nonprofits at General Assembly, New York’s premiere center for entrepreneurship, the Social Good Summit, and social enterprise conferences at Harvard, Columbia, New York University, Brown, the School of Visual Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, and others. In 2014, she designed the curriculum for a startup business school designed to support 21st century entrepreneurial problem-solvers and creatives tackling the most pressing social and environmental challenges of our time.
A deeply committed social entrepreneur, Shana is widely recognized as the first person in New York to organize rigorous educational programming for social entrepreneurs in startup mode. To fill a notable gap in the lack of resources available, Shana co-created the Social Good Guides, a series of 20 guides focused on the essential small-business skills that would-be changemakers need to know and an 8-week workshop called Social Good Startup: Idea To Launch.
Shana is an Aspen Institute Scholar, a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and a judge for The Webby Awards. In 2014 she became a Delegate to the United Nations Foundation Global Accelerator which brought together a “100 of the world’s top entrepreneurs to work together with policy leaders on global issues.” Shana was recently honored by the World CSR Congress as one of the 50 Most Talented Social Innovators. In addition to frequent travel to far-flung places, Shana loves all things chocolate, and makes her way around New York on a midnight blue Vespa. You can follow her @shanadressler and @sic_org.
THE SOCIAL GOOD GUIDES PRODUCTION TEAM
Please donate. Your support is needed and appreciated!
Text © 2015 Dev Aujla
Cover © 2015 Jacqueline Gu
Graphic design and all other elements © 2015 Social Innovators Collective.