The holiday season is in full swing, and we can’t help but think about all of the ways we’re grateful for the social-impact sector. From the nonprofits with missions we love to the social-impact professionals working tirelessly to build a better world, we are so happy to be part of this inspiring and supportive community.
We often talk about gratitude here on Idealist Career Advice—touching on topics like being grateful for your career and thanking those who have helped you along the way—so instead of recapping all of those helpful tips, we wanted to share some ways you can take your gratitude a step further this season.
Here are nine ways you can share the wealth, as they say, and pay it forward by helping co-workers, your online network, and newer professionals in their career journeys.
In the workplace
Share helpful resources with co-workers
There are probably one or two people at your workplace who are always there when you need them. Maybe they regularly share gems of career advice or have offered to take work off your plate—whatever it is, now is the time to let them know they’re appreciated.
Sharing some of your favorite free or low-cost professional development resources is a great way to pay it forward. If there are more costly options you think they’d appreciate—such as a certificate program or conference—consider how they could fund these opportunities. Here are some tips for how to pitch an employer to cover professional development that you can share with anyone at your organization.
Shout out those who went the extra mile
It never hurts to share positive feedback about a colleague with the higher-ups. If a co-worker has gone out of their way to support you or took initiative on a project, call it out at your next all-team meeting or send a message to their manager. If you’d like to give them a heads up first or thank them one-on-one, use one of our five templates for extending gratitude to your network.
Get to know the new person
It’s always tough being the new person at an organization, but the busy holiday season can make it even harder to connect with co-workers. If there’s a new colleague you haven’t had the chance to meet yet, consider asking them out for lunch or hopping on a virtual get-to-know-you meeting. They’ll appreciate the effort, and you may even make a new work friend.
To your online network
Recommend others on LinkedIn
LinkedIn can be a useful networking tool to help former or current colleagues show off their work experience. Taking the time to endorse someone’s skill or facilitate connections within your network is a great way to help others with their job search.
Offer to participate in an informational interview
If you’ve ever received a cold email from someone curious about your field or job title and didn’t have time to respond, now’s your chance to make up for it. Participating in an informational interview allows you to offer sector switchers or younger professionals a new or interesting perspective on their careers.
When cleaning out your various inboxes to prepare for the new year, keep an eye out for any connection requests you may have missed. You can also invite your network to reach out to you, or you may ask friends to share your email with anyone who may be curious about your career path.
Help someone with their job search
Has anyone in your network ever contacted you about their job search? Introducing someone to a hiring manager, organization, or recruiter can help them start their search on the right foot.
Even browsing Idealist with someone else in mind and sharing your results with others can help someone in their career. If you know someone who wants to work for a particular organization or has a certain job title in mind, set up an email alert so you can easily send new job listings their way.
To those just starting out in their career
Get coffee with the intern
If you’ve ever interned with an organization, you know how daunting it can be to strike up a conversation with a higher-up. Now that the tables have turned and you’re in a leadership position, make an extra effort to ensure interns feel comfortable and welcome. Take them out for coffee, ask about their career aspirations, or offer to look at their resume—they'll appreciate the advice and insight.
Share your experience with current students
If your job is related to something you studied in college or graduate school, consider talking about your career path with current students.
Get in touch with former professors and spend an afternoon talking to students about your job. To go the extra mile, offer them the opportunity to shadow you or others at your organization to get a better understanding of your day-to-day.
Offer to mentor someone
Sector-switchers, managers, and anyone else with insight and advice to share can make great mentors. If you’d like to become a mentor but don’t know how to find a mentee, here’s a great resource to get started.
There are, of course, a myriad of ways to pay it forward, so keep an eye out for opportunities to bring light to someone else’s day and their career. Keeping track of these good deeds not only allows you to witness their impact but can also help you build a growing network of supportive social-impact professionals.
If you’re in a leadership position at work, consider how your team can support one another. Maybe you can set a goal of facilitating five connections between your networks, or your organization can host a group of college students to shadow for a day.
Good deeds have a tendency to multiply, so don’t forget to encourage the people you connect with to help others, too.