Careers with social impact

Hands holding a heart

There is a well-trodden path to the career service with students sharing how they aspire to make a difference with their choice of career. This is a truly admirable statement, but often leads to plenty of soul searching to work out precisely how they want to make that difference and the answer to this often lies in one’s own perspective on what causes resonate with us. So what are the alternatives that can be considered, where can you look for such roles and how do you approach this conundrum?

What can I do?

You could represent someone in a court of law, teach in a deprived area, counsel someone, organise programmes on healthcare in developing countries, address sustainability issues for a multi-national organisation, support families struggling to cope, make NHS spending more effective, become a fundraiser for a charity and these are just a few of the alternatives. The key is to consider how you want to make a difference and who do you want to work with to achieve that and how your strengths can be best brought to bear.

Where can I work?

When thinking about social impact, charities and not for profits immediately spring to mind, but you can also consider local and national government, human rights and advocacy organisations, international NGOs, medicine, psychology, social care, teaching, sustainability, and more.

How do I get started?

  1. Start by thinking about who you want to help and about what issues. Think about your local area and what it needs, think about who has helped you and yours in your lifetime and who inspires you. Try to create some kind of focus for your intentions.
  2. Next read a bit about the job roles and sectors involved in this work such as the charity and voluntary sector, social care, public services, teaching and legal sector. Try to create a list of possibilities but also rule some options out and note why they don’t appeal to you.
  3. Then come and chat to a Careers Consultant to sound out your ideas and put together a firm plan of action, including attending our upcoming Social Impact Week events in January.

All those who are looking to make a difference in their careers, we salute you and endeavour to support you to do just that.

Blogs and videos:

Get inspired by students, staff and alumni who are making an impact already:

Finally, read more case studies and about the impact the University has had locally through the Whitley Project newsletter.

Explore further resources:

Graduate schemes that make a difference:  

Frontline | Teach First | Think Ahead | Charity Works | The Civil Service Fast Stream | The National Local Government Development Programme | Unlocked

Job sites: 

CharityJob | British Association of Social Work |  Jobs in Charities | Environment Job | Third Sector | Bond | DEVEX | University volunteering opportunities | RVA

Further inspiration: 

The Guardian Society Pages | TBD* | What is social entrepreneurship?