Tagged with:

Thinking outside the box, how to navigate to a career of impact

Craig Zelizer

August 11, 2017

Seeking to move to the social change & social impact space? Join in the discussion and share your questions, resources and wisdom in the Social Change Career Helping Line

See an overview of some of the key lessons from this week's discussions.

Dear Colleagues

It has been a little over a week since we launched our Social Change Career Helping Line, the world's first crowd & expert sourced (free) space for careers in change. It has been a wonderful period with people joining, posting, sharing questions, offering support and wisdom.  We strongly encourage you to consider joining the helpline and to share the resource with others (and explore the many career resources on PCDN).

We will be posting periodic blogs on PCDN summarizing key discussions from the HelpLine as well as the expert answers provided each month from our Career Advisory Board.


This week there have been many questions about people who are seeking to transition into a position in the social sector. These have included questions from people working as lawyers, as administrative professionals in international organizations, and others working in the private sector. There is no one simple recipe for how to transition to a career more focused on social impact. However here is a list of some key recommendations from one response I wrote (there are many other suggestions/answers in the HelpLine)

For anyone seeking to transition from one sector to more social sector this is a critical challenge.

My main suggestions are as follows:

1) Make sure to explore what you're seeking from a transition (work that you feel good about, social impact, work/life balance/, international experience, etc.)

2) Work on developing a coherent narrative about the change that connects your professional, academic and other experiences

3) If time permits  might consider doing some volunteer work to supplement your skills (serve on a board, do a short-term technical consultancy or similar activities)

4) Look into professional paid fellowship or opportunities between professional and volunteer experience such as UN Volunteers Atlas Corps ProInspire Acumen,Venture for America

5) Look at relevant organizations in your field where you might be able to get paid to do the work you know and advance your skills more in the social impact space. For example places like the American Bar Association rule of law Initiative, The Acumen Fund


6) Consider more professional training or programs (but always consider if it will provide the right skills, is worth the cost, etc.). There are programs like The Amani Institute and also a great one is the Rotary International Rotary Peace Centers programs (in particular for professionals their 2.5 month fully funded program in Thailand is amazing. In full transparency Rotary and Amani are both advertising clients of PCDN and I am involved with both programs). There are many other opportunities like this that are worth exploring.

7) Start exploring opportunities by attending events, joining networks, etc. A few of my favorite Opportunity Collaboration Net Impact Alliance for Peacebuilding.

8) Join relevant LinkedIn groups to see what others are discussing in your area of interest and to make contacts.


I can write much more. There is no necessarily easy and direct path and it can be bumpy, challenging, frustrating and exhilarating at the same time. Look forward to seeing what others contribute.

Our Blog
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram