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5 Tips for Landing a Job in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

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An image of a Black man wearing a blue button down at work. He is looking at his tablet and smiling to celebrate landing a job in CSR.

One way people strike a balance between their passion for social impact and their desire to work in the nonprofit sector is by searching for roles within a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department. However, since the competition is high for the few positions that do exist, it can be difficult to break into this type of work, especially when you’re just starting out.

So what does it take to hop into the CSR career path? Nonprofit experience? A degree? A background in law? Below, we share five tips for landing a job in corporate social responsibility, as well as more information on how to stand out from the crowd during the application process.

1. Understand the definition of CSR

There are many professionals out there who believe that they can simply make the switch from their current careers to CSR with only a meager knowledge of the field. However, CSR is a very general term for lots of roles, responsibilities, and activities taken up by organizations—and they are not ALL about philanthropy.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the roles and the ways that organizations are making their mark by “doing good," as well as the overall concept of corporate social responsibility. A basic way to define corporate social responsibility is as a business model that helps a company be socially accountable to itself, its people, the planet, and society at large.

For example, “ethical labor practices,” or ensuring your company is treating employees fairly, is a form of CSR. To carry this out, the company may hire more health and safety officers, or a CSR program manager. The more knowledge you have about CSR, the better your chances.

By learning the basics, you can then delve deeper in the areas that most interest you so you can equip yourself with enough knowledge to answer any tricky interview questions.

2. Develop a relevant skill-set

Once you’ve figured out what area of CSR you’d like to pursue, it’s time to think about highlighting relevant skills and experience on your resume. A background in business, environmental studies, data analysis, or human resources can be helpful, but you don’t necessarily need to pursue a graduate degree before making the switch.

Getting involved in a volunteer group, doing pro bono work at a social impact startup, participating in a fellowship, or working with a mentor can be great ways to get started. CSR professionals should also possess strong interpersonal and data-focused skills; you should be able to effectively present ideas, propositions, and the impact of CSR efforts to stakeholders and the public.

3. Get to know the "fancy" terms

Use any relevant CSR lingo throughout your job application and interview process to demonstrate you have knowledge in the field. Business, the social sector, and public policy are all linked to CSR, and there are plenty of terms to know in these fields that may relate to the position you’re pursuing. For starters, here’s a helpful CSR beginner’s glossary by Points of Light.

4. Don't forget about networking

Building relationships can always help you when you’re looking for a job that isn’t particularly easy to find. Talk to people who are already in CSR, people who want to be in CSR, or people who hire people in CSR. Even if they’re not offering you a job, there’s probably a lot you can learn from them about the field.

You can also start by leveraging your own network, personal friends, and people they know. Then slowly move on to people whom you would like to know (through networking events, online social media, etc).

5. Build your personal brand

Finally, it’s important to know just how to sell yourself and orient your goals, passion, knowledge, and experiences toward your area of interest. This requires knowledge of the job application process and how to make yourself stand out from the competition.

Build your brand by having an active online presence, effectively using social media and professional online groups, maintaining a blog on a CSR topic that relates to your career area of interest, and developing an online portfolio. Stay current on relevant trends in the field by reading articles and engaging in discussions with other CSR professionals—building your network in this way is one of the best things you can do to stay top-of-mind when one of your budding contacts starts hiring.

As you start implementing the above tips, remember to be flexible and patient. Switching fields can take time, especially when you’re developing new skills and making new connections. The most important thing is to keep your eyes open for relevant roles and apply to ones that are a fit for your background and interests—you’ll be sure to find something soon!


About the Author | Sharen Stuart is an Executive at Dissertation Mall, offering dissertation help in the UK. She’s a multi-talented person having both passion and skills in fields like writing, designing and painting.

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