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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

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)!

Civil Service Fast Stream: Essential insights from offer-holders

Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 24/05/2018.

The Civil Service Fast Stream entry is one of the most competitive grad-scheme applications there is, so it makes sense to get ahead of the game by hearing the insights and advice from some of this year’s successful applicants. 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.

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)!

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

When: 13:00-14:30, Wednesday 6 June

Where: Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road. No reservation needed.

Travel grants for overseas research – Churchill Fellowships 2019

Blogged by Abby Evans on 22/05/2018.

Churchill Fellowships offer a travel grant to spend up to 2 months overseas researching innovative practice on a topic of your choice, followed by further support and funding to disseminate your findings.

In awarding the 150 fellowships each year the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust seeks ideas that can provide public benefit in the UK, whether to a community, a sector or the country as a whole and could not be researched in the UK and therefore require overseas travel.

Candidates must be UK citizens with a British passport at the time of application, and aged 18 or above. Applications are open now and close on 18 September 2018 for travel in 2019.

 

The OX– Postcode and Start-ups Fair 2018

Blogged by James Salas on 03/05/2018.
  • When: Wednesday 16 May, Exhibitors from 16.30-18.30, pre-fair panel talk from 16.00-16.30
  • Where: Mathematical Institute

Explore local opportunities…

Looking to stay in Oxford after you graduate, or over the summer? This fair, co-hosted by Enterprising Oxford, brings together employers and local start-up companies from across Oxfordshire, all with vacancies for full-time jobs or internships!

Opening Panel Talk – 16.00-16.30: Start-ups, Skills, and Staying in Oxford

Ever wondered what working with a start-up in Oxfordshire would be like? And what sort of skills are
needed, particularly in the early stages? Come along to this panel discussion, being held before the
OX Postcode and Start-up Fair, to hear three Oxfordshire companies talk about what life is like for
them, what sort of skills are needed and why working in Oxford(shire) is a good thing.

Meet 41 employers

Come and chat to exhibiting recruiters, listed below. More information about each recruiter is available in the booklet handed out at the fair.

  • Adaptix Ltd
  • Animal Dynamics Ltd
  • Archangel Imaging and Archangel Lightworks
  • Aurora Energy Research Limited
  • BioCarbon Engineering Limited
  • Brill Power
  • Camerons Accountancy Ltd
  • Consultant Connect
  • Conversis
  • Diffblue
  • Edtopia
  • First Touch Games
  • Fourtold Ltd
  • Fuel3D
  • HT2 Labs Ltd
  • ICAEW
  • Jacari
  • LMC International Ltd
  • Metaboards
  • Newton Europe
  • Oodle Car Finance
  • Open Cosmos
  • Oxbotica
  • Oxehealth Limited
  • Oxford International College
  • Oxford international Education Group
  • Oxford Nanoimaging Ltd
  • Oxford Royale Academy
  • Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP)
  • OxMet Technologies
  • P1vital Limited
  • Pamoja Education
  • PROIMMUNE Limited
  • School Space
  • Serelay Ltd
  • The Society of Young Publishers
  • Spyre Labs
  • Teach First
  • thisislanguage.com
  • Torchbox
  • VeriVin Ltd

CPS Legal Trainee Scheme Open!!

Blogged by Annie Dutton on 08/03/2018.

This year’s CPS Legal Trainee Scheme (LTS) is now open for applications for those wishing to pursue a career in criminal law. The Legal Trainee Scheme offers up to 30 positions to those with an interest in criminal law, seeking to become fully qualified barristers or solicitors. Trainee posts will be based throughout England and Wales with specific locations to be confirmed at a later date.

These exciting opportunities to help deliver justice will include the chance to become a permanent Crown Prosecutor upon successful qualification with an expectation that graduates of the scheme will develop further into senior and specialist roles.

Thomas Heath, Legal Trainee and Pupil Barrister at CPS East Midlands, said: “Pupillage at the CPS provides so many opportunities to work with and learn from a wide variety of experienced and skilled advocates.”

To be eligible to apply, candidates need at least a 2:2 level undergraduate degree and have passed either the Bar Professional Training Course or the Legal Practice Course in time to commence pupillage or a training contract in November 2018.

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