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Impact Job Search Guide

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

So you want to work for an impact-driven business … Chances are, your first step, after dusting off your resume, is scrolling through job search sites like LinkedIn.

Submitting applications to online job postings is a common starting place for job seekers. However, these postings typically get many applications, making them highly competitive. Unless your profile is a perfect match, it can be tough to even be considered for a role.

Job search experts estimate that up to 85% of jobs belong to the hidden job market, meaning that they are not listed on job boards. To increase your chances of finding a role with an impact, consider taking a more proactive approach like networking with impact leaders or reaching out to impact-driven businesses directly.

In this job search guide, we provide tips for finding relevant impact-driven businesses and marketing yourself to potential employers.

Understand the Difference Between Reactive and Proactive Job Search Strategies

Most job seekers use a reactive job search approach. They look for job postings on job boards and company websites and submit applications. In a proactive job search, on the other hand, you find and reach out to businesses that interest you. Here are some benefits to using proactive job search strategies:

  • Be considered for positions not posted on traditional job boards

  • Demonstrate your initiative to potential employers

  • Find a role that truly interests you

Determine Which Issues You Care About

Before starting your impact job search, take some time to reflect about which local or global issues matter most to you. The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a useful framework for figuring out which issues you are passionate about. Here are some suggestions for exploring the SDGs and choosing which issue(s) to focus on in your work:

  • Try volunteering for organizations that address different SDGs or joining a relevant student club/group

  • Reflect on past work/volunteer experiences that have felt meaningful and consider what they have in common

  • Research different social issues and explore content like articles, videos, and podcasts to find out which issues excite you

  • Contact and network with professionals tackling different issues to learn about their work and whether it appeals to you

Find Relevant Impact-Driven Businesses

Once you've chosen the issue(s) that you would like to target, look for businesses that work in those areas. Use business directories to discover potential employers. Make a list of your top employers based on the type of work that they do and other criteria like location and company size. Here are some impact databases to try:

  • B Corps (link)

  • 1% for the Planet (link)

  • Social Impact Listings (link)

  • Weaver's Social Enterprise Directory (link)

Identify What Value You Can Offer

Every person has unique skills and experiences to offer to an employer. Consider how your unique skill set could help solve a business problem or contribute to a company's success. Here are a few ways that you can add value to a business:

  • Share a helpful resource like an article or website

  • Give feedback on the business's website or social media presence

  • Offer to volunteer

Reach Out to Businesses

Although it can seem intimidating at first, reaching out to impact-driven businesses can lead to your dream role. Connect with employees using LinkedIn, phone, or email to introduce yourself and learn more about the business. Carefully craft your email or elevator pitch to highlight your strengths and what you can offer to the business. Here are some ways to reach out to a business:

  • Ask acquaintances who work there for a referral

  • Connect with current employees on LinkedIn and request an informational interview

  • Call the business to introduce yourself and inquire about openings

  • Send an email pitch to a hiring manager

Prepare for an Interview

Congratulations! You've been invited to an interview. Here are some steps you can take to prepare for the meeting and portray your skills and experience in the best light:

  • Research your interviewer and the business, including its website, social media accounts, and news coverage

  • Brainstorm examples from your past experiences that best demonstrate your skills and qualifications

  • Prepare responses for questions that the interviewer might ask

  • Come up with thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer

  • Hold a mock interview with a friend or family member

If you're an aspiring change maker under 30 looking for an impact job, Thrive can help! Here are a few options to consider:

  • Join the Thrive Community to learn about impact careers, join SDG-related webinars and career skill workshops, and connect with like-minded aspiring change makers from around the world (link)

  • Participate in the Thrive Career Program, a 2-week-long career development program to strengthen your job search skills and get support being placed at an impact-driven business (link)

  • Follow us on LinkedIn

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