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An overview

Deciding how your own values and beliefs will impact on your career choice is a very personal consideration. The information below aims to explore the idea of ‘doing good’ with your career – and focuses on organisations with social or environmental goals from the non-profit, public and private sectors. Opportunities which relate to your values can be found in all of these industries. For example, the private sector includes social enterprises, community interest companies, companies with CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) teams, SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) organisations and firms which have strong principles and values on the social/environmental impact of their work.

Defining your values

If you’re looking to ‘do good’ with your career, it can help to first consider what ‘doing good’ means to you. This can provide a useful career focus.

Try the following to help:

  1. Write a list of any of the following:
    • Volunteer or paid work that you’ve done which you consider ‘did good’
    • Causes that you actively support, or have done in the past
    • Individuals you know of who you think ‘do good’ with their career
    • Organisations or companies you know of who you feel ‘do good’
  2. For each, try to briefly define what ‘good’ was done.
  3. Consider the definitions of ‘good’ you’ve just written.  Are there any themes emerging which could help to pinpoint your values? Reflecting on this exercise can help you clarify where your values lie – and may also help to define other aspects that are important to you in a career.
Finding jobs

Working out what suits you

As well as your values, there are many other aspects that make up the ‘ingredients’ for fulfilling work. A job which doesn’t suit you, even in a context which fits your values well, can be an unhappy prospect. Take the time to think about:

  • Your skills – which do you like to use? What would you like to develop?
  • Your environment – buzzing and competitive? Supportive and personal? Concentrated and focused?
  • Your work-life balance
  • Location, salary

Generating Career Ideas

To investigate more about what would suit you, read our page on Generating Career Ideas, which contains resources, questionnaires and exercises to help you figure out what might suit you.

Job hunting

Vacancy Websites

There are a selection of job vacancy websites for cause-driven work listed in ‘External Resources’ on this briefing, and these should be supplemented with sector-specific resources. For example, if you’re really motivated to work in an environmentally impactful field, you can find many specific sites for job hunting via our Environmental Work page.

Graduate Schemes

Although a few graduate schemes do exist in charities, environmental organisations, arts organisations and so on (see the relevant sector pages for information), the high costs of training schemes mean that they are unusual in this area. A few more general schemes are listed below:

  • On Purpose runs a one year paid Associate Programme in social enterprise (only open to those with a minimum of 2 years full time work)

Speculative approaches

These are vital, as many organisations keep costs low by not advertising vacancies. Check individual organisation websites, and set up coffee chats with those working in some of your most favoured organisations to ask more about the work and the role – and ask whether they could let you know if they hear of any opportunities. See our guide to networking for more.

Alternative ways to fulfil your values

Sometimes it’s not possible to find work, at least initially, which meets all your interests, skills and has the ethical impact that you’re looking for. A good example is the field of Human Rights Law – there are many years of more general legal training and work ahead before you can begin to specialise in this application for your knowledge. So how do you keep your values fulfilled?

Volunteering

One of the best ways to connect with your values is to consider some volunteering around your other work/study.  You can see the variety of UK volunteering opportunities on Do-It.

Contact local ‘hubs’ to find out about more opportunities for voluntary work (if you’re here at the moment, Oxford Hub and OCVA are good places to get in touch with, as well as the work centred around the council-owned community centres, and properties housing many local charities, such as the Old Music Hall on Cowley Road).

Campaigning

Becoming an active campaigner can involve anything from harnessing online and social media activity, right through to in-person support for meetings and demonstrations. Connecting with campaigning hubs (examples include 38 Degrees and Avaaz) can provide you with the opportunity to participate in organised campaigning, and many larger organisations will provide resources for those that would like to further the campaign on a local or regional level.

Philanthropy

If you have the resources to donate financially, you can do a significant amount of good for the causes you care about. Individual giving can also be supplemented by working to encourage donation from those around you by organising fundraising events and sharing information.

Giving What We Can is an Oxford organisation dedicated to providing information and encouragement for those seeking to give effectively. A US-orientated equivalent, giving recommendations on charities to donate to is Give Well.

Intrapreneurship

Creating change within an institution is something all of us do in work, even in a minor way. If where you are working initially doesn’t meet your values, perhaps your enthusiasm can begin to influence a shift. From connecting with like-minded staff to discuss ideas, to creating business cases for them, you might be surprised how much impact you could (diplomatically!) make.

Investigating an employer's ethics

You can research by using an organisation’s website:

  • Reading their annual report (often available on their website – environmental/sustainability reports have been required by law since 2006).
  • Reviewing their organisational values, behaviours or mission statement – often in the ‘about us’ section of their website.
  • Researching their impacts and outputs – from learning how and if they share information with others, to evaluating the effects of their core work in light of your values.
  • Investigating their staff policies: often found near the vacancy section of their website. This might include details of their commitment to equality of opportunity, training and support, volunteering days, child-friendly workplace details and more.

The following alphabetical listing of websites provides a brief sample of research tools that may help you to investigate the policies and practices of particular companies.

It should be noted that they are drawn from a variety of sectors, and exist for a variety of different aims, so their relationships with (and perspectives on) companies may differ considerably. Some are independent organisations that are openly critical of major companies, while others are drawn from the business world, and will provide information on particular schemes and partnerships. They by no means provide absolute answers, but are hopefully useful for your investigations:

Our resources

Subscription websites

  • Ethical Jobs – a series of websites which we subscribe to on your behalf

Podcasts of past events

Careers with Social & Community Impact

This podcast will give you the chance to hear from three speakers who are all working in quite different roles but whose work makes an impact on their local communities.

External resources

Vacancy websites

  • Idealist – global search engine (use ‘United Kingdom’ in ‘Location’ for British jobs)
  • Guardian Jobs – attracts a large number of organisations seeking to improve social outcomes, as a result of its paper supplement ‘Society Jobs’
  • ACRE – CSR and sustainability jobs board
  • Elevator – jobs in charities, social enterprises and other ‘purpose driven’ companies
  • Social Enteprise UK – job board
  • Igneous Recruitment – CSR and sustainability jobs

Other useful websites

Regular events

Equality, Diversity and Positive Action

A number of major graduate recruiters have policies and processes that are proactive in recruiting students and graduates from diverse backgrounds. To find out the policies and attitudes of employers that you are interested in, explore their equality and diversity policies and see if they are a Disability Confident employer or are recognised for their policy by such indicators as ‘Mindful Employer’ or as a ‘Stonewall’s Diversity Champion’.

The UK law protects you from discrimination due to your age, gender, race, religion or beliefs, disability or sexual orientation. For further information on the Equality Act 2010 and to find out where and how you are protected, and what to do if you feel you have been discriminated against, visit the Government’s website on discrimination.

This information was last updated on 30 August 2018.
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Recent blogs about Careers Beyond Profit

Interested in journalism, arts, heritage and other creative careers?

Blogged by Lara Hayward on 17/10/2018.

Are you interested in a career in journalism but don’t know where to start? Do you want to hear about writing opportunities across all forms of media and get sector specific tips on your CV?

If so, a good place to start is by signing up to the brilliant Journo Resources website and newsletter.

Students have found it extremely useful and it’s a good first step to finding out more about the industry. We will also be running an Insight into Journalism workshop in Hilary Term so keep your eyes peeled for that.

For advice on careers in journalism and any other roles in arts, heritage and creative industries do come to the Arts, Advertising and Media Fair on Thursday 25 October at the Careers Service. For more information, see CareerConnect events section: search ‘Arts, Advertising & Media Fair.

 

The Oxford Careers Fair 2018

Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on 04/10/2018.
  • When: Saturday 13 October, Exhibitors from 11:00-14:30
  • Where: Exam Schools, Oxford
  • Including: Teaching and Education

Full details are in the fair booklet – now available online!

Find a job or internship

  • Meet over 60 recruiters at our fair for all sectors;
  • Find graduate schemes and internships in all the main career sectors that Oxford graduates enter – and dozens not included in our other fairs;
  • Explore a huge range of careers from teaching to technology, and from social care to sport!

Learn about careers at our fair talks

  • Getting Started with Your Career and Work Experience, 10:45-11:15
  • Business Career Alternatives to Management Consultancy, 11:30-12:15
  • How can the Careers Service Help Me? And, Making the Most of the Fair!, 11:45-12:15
  • Routes into Teaching, 12:30-13:15
  • Making a Difference – Graduate Schemes and Careers with Social Impact, 13:30-14:15

Get your CV checked at our CV clinic

  • Get one-to-one feedback from visiting recruiters
  • Just bring your CV and turn up! Appointments are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Meet over 60 recruiters!

Full details of employers are in the fair booklet – now available online. Recruiters attending include:

Ark Teacher Training
Army
Barclays
Baillie Gifford
Capital Group
Charityworks
City Football Group
Frontline
Get into Teaching
Girls’ Day School Trust
Glencore
Harrow School
Hertie School of Governance
Hogarth Worldwide
HSBC
Hurstpierpoint College
ION Group
Jacari
KEEN Oxford
Lidl
London Business School
M&G Prudential
Mars
MBI Inc
Metaswitch
Mu Sigma
Newham Collegiate Sixth Form (The NCS)
Newton Europe
NHS Leadership Academy – NHS Graduate Scheme
Office for National Statistics
Oxford Royale Academy
Oxfordshire Teacher Training
Palm PR & Digital
Pearson Ham Consulting
Procter & Gamble
Rolls-Royce
Ruffer LLPSShell
Softwire
South Hampstead High School (GDST)
Stewart Investors
Strategy Education
Susquehanna
Teach First
The Kraft Heinz Company
The Pimlico-London SCITT
The University of Law
Think Ahead
TPP
Unilever
University of Oxford
University of Oxford Development Office
Unlocked Graduates
Virgin Media

Making a Difference – graduate schemes and careers with social impact

Blogged by Julia Hilton on 03/10/2018.

What: Panel Talk ‘Making a Difference – graduate schemes and careers with social impact’
When: 13:30 – 14:15, Saturday 13 October
Where: Examination Schools

Are you looking for a graduate scheme that would allow you to make a significant social impact in your career? Then come along and hear from Oxford alumni in the public/charity sector who are working for organisations such as Think Ahead, Unlocked, and the National Graduate Development Programme. Each speaker will give a short presentation about their work on a day-to-day basis, followed by a Q&A panel session.

You do not need to book a place at this event but please bear in mind that spaces will be allocated on a first-come, first served basis and popular events may fill early so arrive in good time.

Civil Service – heads-up for our events!

Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 27/09/2018.

With Civil Service Fast Stream applications already open and due to close on Thursday 25th October – in 3rd week – we have resources and planned events to support everyone interested in the Civil Service and other public sector programmes.

Heads-up! Our first event is on the first Monday, in first week: Monday 8 October.

Our essential resources online:

Events

Monday 8 October – Insight into the Civil Service Fast Stream

  • 14:15 – 15:30 at Careers Service: Current civil servants talk about their work, fast stream careers, learning and recruitment experiences, including information on the Diversity Internship Programmes.

Saturday 13 October – Making a Difference: graduate schemes and careers with social impact

  • 13:30 –  14:15 at The Oxford Careers Fair (Exam Schools): Panel of alumni talking about a wider range of graduate career options with social impact.

Monday 22 October – Civil Service Fast Stream: Applications

  • 13:30 – 14:15 at Careers Service: Group discussion about Fast Stream applications, the recruitment process, preparing for each stage to be at your best.

Thursday 15 November – Civil Service Policy Game

  • 13:45 – 17:00 at Careers Service: Multi-role policy game where participants formulate policy options and influence the Minister’s decisions on allocation of funding for a major  regeneration project. Booking essential through CareerConnect.

19th October, 2nd & 27th November – Civil Service Interview Support

One-to-one advice with an experienced senior civil servant offering the chance to practice and prepare for civil service recruitment processes, particularly for the video interview and assessment centre exercises. Bookable times will be released through CareerConnect.

Civil Service Fast Stream: Getting a Head Start on the Competition

Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 31/05/2018.

When: 13:00-14:30, Wednesday 6 June
Where: Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road. No reservation needed.

The Civil Service prides itself on ‘fair and open competition’ and undergraduate applicants are up against people from all walks of life, including current civil servants who are perhaps applying for the third of fourth time. There’s no application form collecting information on your University or degree, so there’s no bias or edge for you there (for or against): just a ‘blind’ screening process.

How then to prepare and be at your best – especially since deadlines are likely to all fall in October 2018?

The Careers Service’s s running a panel next week with current students who have all been successful in this year’s Fast Stream selection processes. Come to hear about their experiences, what they did to prepare and what more they might have done to be even better.

All the panellist will have gone through the on-line screening processes and the Fast Stream Assessment Centre – and we expect to be able to lift the lid on the final recruitment hurdles used by nearly all Fast Streams (except ‘Generalist’ and ‘HR’), such as the Economics; Finance; Diplomatic Service (FCO); Social Research; Project Delivery …. and the Diversity Internship Programmes (EDIP for 2nd years on a 4 year degree; and SDIP for summer work experience for penultimate year students).

This informal panel session is a must for anyone considering an application next year and keen to learn how best to use the summer in order to be fully prepared.

The Panel:

Whether you are a finalist targeting a post-graduate application or a returning Oxford student next year, join our panel of current offer-holders for an informal exploration of their experiences, insights and recommendations for being at your best throughout the Fast Stream application process. Our panel will feature current Oxford students who have gone all the way to final selection in Fast Streams including:

  • Government Economic Fast Stream
  • Generalist
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • HR
  • Summer Diversity Internships Programme (SDIP)
  • HM Treasury Graduate programme
  • Social Research Fast Stream

Next autumn’s Fast Stream recruitment is likely to open in September, and can be expected to close before the end of 3rd Week in MT: (25 October 2018 is my best guess) – for full-time graduate entry and penultimate-year Summer Diversity Internships Programme (SDIP) and the 1st year (2nd of 4-year) Early Diversity Internship Programme (EDIP)!

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Older posts can be found in our archive of past blogs.