4 Key Factors to Build Your Career with Purpose

This is a sponsored organizational post on PCDN

No matter whether you already work in social change or are seeking to transition from your corporate career or just graduated, ready to start working – here are 4 factors I have seen play a crucial role in the careers of our Social Innovation Management Fellows at Amani Institute in the last five years.

1. Community matters

It’s not just access to the right networks that is important, but the quality of it. This is where community comes in – while a network can provide you with the right contacts, it’s people who you know and trust who will be able to recommend you, set up a meeting and most importantly, troubleshoot issues as you are navigating your work. They say that we are heavily influenced by the people we spend most time with – make sure it’s people who uplift you, hold you accountable to your highest potential and care as much about the world as you do.

2. Attitude before skills

They say we get hired for hard skills and get fired for a lack of soft skills. While it is still important to build professional expertise beyond content knowledge it is a set of soft-skills that we can call ‘attitude’ that will make or break your career – do you usually operate with a fixed or a growth mindset? How do you handle failure? Can you ask for help? Do you know what your strengths and values are and can you stand up for them? Do you complain or take ownership? Do people like working with you? Your ability to be a team player, take ownership and show leadership is key – and it is something you can practice and learn.

3. Alignment builds purpose

What is surprising to people from the corporate world who desperately want to do ‘something with more meaning’, is that many professionals who already work with social impact feel unfulfilled and misaligned. Why is that? Understanding what really matters to you and why you want to do work that has positive impact on the world is crucial in navigating your journey – sometimes it’s that your workplace doesn’t have a culture rooted in the values that matter most to you or even go against them, sometimes it’s that the type of work is misaligned with your strengths or the topic you work with is not close enough to the kind of change you really want to see in the world. Once you understand your ‘True North’ better, it is easier to make decisions that will allow you to build a career with true purpose.

4. Perspective matters

Diverse networks are a key element for finding better solutions – or a meaningful job – as a changemaker – both in terms of ideas as well as resources. Most of our challenges cross borders and boundaries – experiencing different perspectives by working in a different country or training with people from very diverse backgrounds can help you gain much needed perspective and give you an edge professionally.

As Amani Institute’s Global Community Director I feel very honored to work with incredible people all over the world dedicated to creating positive change. From our alumni to the incredible leaders and experts who teach at Amani to our employer partners – if you are curious how to become part of this community of changemakers I’m more than happy to connect with you.

Curious to learn more?

Amani Institute’s award-winning 9-month Post-Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Management is designed for a global audience to learn from hubs for social innovation such as Bengaluru, India or Sao Paulo, Brazil. These cities, and the countries they are in, represent the frontier of social change.

While social innovation has become a buzzword in recent years, this program helps you develop the expertise, experience, insights and global network needed to put it into practice. Amani Alumni are working in social enterprises, big NGOs, the public sector, in their own community organizations, or in the private sector.

“Being a Social Innovation Management Fellow gave me the vision and courage to ask for more than my Job Description – it provided me with the tools to be an intrapreneur.” – Aditi Agrawal, India, Australia Partnership Manager, the JUMP! Foundation

Click here to learn more about the programor contact me directly at [email protected]


Craig Zelizer

Craig Zelizer

Dr. Craig Zelizer is the Founder of PCDN.global, which connects a global community of changemakers to the tools, community and opportunities to build careers of impact and scale change. He has strong experience in the development sector, academia and social entrepreneurship. From 2005 to 2016 he served as a professor in the Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University (where he still teaches). He has led trainings, workshops and consultancies in over 20 countries organizations including with USIP, USAID, CRS, Rotary International and others. Craig is a recognized leader in the social sector field. He has received several awards including George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s alumni of the year award and an alumni career achievement award from Central European University. Dr. Zelizer spent two years in Hungary as Fulbright Scholar and was a Boren Fellow in Bosnia. He has published widely on peacebuilding, entrepreneurship, and innovation in higher education.
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