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Careers for the “greater good”

Blogged by Abby Evans on November 7, 2017.

Many students aspire to make a difference, to “do good” with their career. Here we share a few ideas and resources to get you started, see also our key resource for Careers Beyond Profit.

What does “good” look like to you?

Think for a moment…. Is there something you’ve done already that you feel ‘did good’? Are there causes that you actively support? Which role models (celeb or real!) do you feel ‘do good’? Are there organisations that you feel ‘do good’? Identify common themes that emerge, and start to work towards your own definition of good. Struggling? Perhaps a philosophical framework might help –some basic reading on consequentialism, virtue ethics and deontology (duty-based ethics) might get you thinking.

Clarify your values

What is important to you? You are more likely to have a fulfilled career if your values align with those of the organisation that you work with. Values include things like integrity, status, respect, community, equality, independence, fairness, honesty, ambition. See our Careers Workbook for help with thinking through the values that are important to you.

Explore opportunities that match your aims

Many think of charities, the public sector or social enterprises when considering careers that make a difference, but opportunities can exist in the private sector too. Focusing on certain sectors can help your research…but it’s worth thinking about the role that suits you too.

Some key resources:

  • Linked In, particularly the career insights of 180,000+ Oxford alumni on the University of Oxford Linked In page, is a tremendous research tool – try a keyword search (CSR (corporate social responsibility), sustainability etc) to discover alumni with shared interests, and get in touch for insights.
  • Listen to alumni talk about their careers, not-for-profit sectors included.
  • Consider a public sector or charity sector graduate scheme: Think Ahead, Frontline, Teach First, Police Now, Unlocked, Civil Service Fast-stream, National Graduate Development Programme for Local Government, NHS graduate management scheme etc.
  • Explore opportunities to volunteer while you are at Oxford.

For more advice and many more links to resources to help you, see also our information on  Careers Beyond Profit.