How to Channel Your Passion for Social Impact Into Your Career

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You just graduated from college, you know what you’re good at and where your passion lies, and you’re ready to begin your job search. Now what?

When I graduated, I knew that I had a passion for writing and that I loved creating and managing my personal blog. While I knew that I should search for jobs in writing and editing, I was not yet familiar with the term “content marketing.” Yet, that’s exactly what my first job—listed as a Digital Journalist—turned out to be.

Researching beyond the familiar could be your greatest asset during your job search, and, below you’ll find four job titles (all found on Idealist.org) that may be new to you, but could offer a great jumping-off point for your career.

Communications Specialist/Associate

In the nonprofit world, communicators are the ones who give a message its legs. Oftentimes, the communications department is responsible for both internal and external communications. On a practical level, communications specialists and associates may manage website content, create and send newsletters, create print literature, write press releases, support crisis-management, manage social media, and develop key messaging and branding. This role can also be responsible for introducing new technologies and social platforms.

As the title suggests, a communications specialist helps to refine the way the organization communicates with stakeholders. This skillset can be an asset, particularly if you’re interested in marketing, public relations, management, or content creation.

Content Manager

A content manager is someone who oversees website management, updates, and addition of content. Creativity, management skills, a bit of tech know-how, and attention to detail are necessary for this position. You may also manage relationships with writers and other internal teams that deliver content and copy.

For writers and creatives, content management may not be a first impulse. But, within the social-impact space, content management is an opportunity to delve into an organization’s mission more deeply. In these positions, you’ll be creating, formatting, and managing written or visual content so your creativity, comfort pitching your own ideas, and experience making stories appealing and accessible will all sharpen and develop.

Organizations putting resources into content management want candidates who know how to craft headlines that make their articles stand out on social media, as well. As a professional, a proven track record of effective storytelling is a big bonus.

For examples of content manager positions, search keyword terms like “digital communications” in addition to “content manager.”

Find more ways to get experience in content management in Get the Experience to Land the Job: Digital Content Manager.

Community Manager/Relationships Builder

If you’re a born extrovert and love meeting new people, you may shine as a relationships builder or community manager. It’s no secret that organizations rely on relationships; donors, community partners, stakeholders, and social media networks are an organization’s lifeblood.

It’s important for an organization to be in good two-way communication with these groups while simultaneously developing their contact and lead lists. You may already know you’re good at these things, but mastering the skills needed to effectively grow a network will give you the chance to develop the ease with which you communicate with a variety of stakeholders.

A community manager may be responsible for responding to followers on social media, tracking donors in customer relationship management platforms, or building new partnerships. Positions such as Customer Care Specialist or Community Liaison are a chance for you to learn and master customer relationship management platforms such as Salesforce or Base.

Pro Tip: Don’t shy away from different job titles, as most of the positions on this list have a wide array of names. For instance, while Grants and Special Events Associate doesn’t appear to be a community-building role, it actually can be.

Program Coordinator/Associate

If you’re interested in growing as a manager and a leader, seeing first-hand how a team is run on a daily basis will shape your understanding of how organizations thrive, and where they can do better. Program assistants/coordinators usually do just that; simply, these positions make organizations run.

Tasks can include everything from administrative duties and event planning, to sponsorship relations and assisting leadership-level staff. You’ll also have access to calendars and budgets, which can teach you a lot in your first job.

When beginning a job search, we never know where the hunt will lead. Read full job descriptions even if a particular job title doesn’t sound familiar. A title you’ve never heard of may just be a fit.

Do you have a job title that you weren’t familiar with until you actually applied for the position? Tell us about it in the comments below.

 

About the author: Gina Ciliberto first delved into social impact when she created a campaign to raise awareness around immigration in her high school. She now writes about social justice issues ranging from fracking to human trafficking for the Dominican Sisters of Hope, and volunteers with the ASPCA in her spare time. Her work is featured on the Huffington Post and Let’s Travel! Radio, among others.

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