graduate hat throwIn this post, Deap uses her own personal journey as a job seeker and recent graduate with an MSc in International Business and Corporate Social Responsibility to answer some of the questions recent graduates in CSR may have about how to transition from the academic world to the working world. She gives advice on practical steps students and recent graduates can take to increase the chances of finding employment and embarking on a career in CSR.

by Deap Khambay, MSc International Business and Corporate Social Responsibility. Deap is a CSR consultant and freelance writer. Her posts have appeared on CSRjobs where she is a guest author. Connect with Deap on Linkedin.

Do graduates who are interested in a career within Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) know where to start when it comes to being successfully employed?

Since completing my MSc in international Business and Corporate Social Responsibility I have been on a challenging journey of seeking employment. My first port of call was making an appointment with the careers advisor at university. I have to say I did not find it helpful at all, if anything it had got me more confused when I left than when I walked in! I found myself educating them on what CSR is and where it can fit in the employable world to the best of my understanding.

I turned to the power of social media to find out more answers to my questions. The three most effective sites I found were facebook, linkedin and twitter. I found myself tapping into global expertise.
Linkedin is a tool to increase your network, I found it extremely powerful, with hundreds of CSR groups you are free to join any of them giving you the space to express your opinion on topical subjects in relevant areas, share ideas and collaborate. I see it as my space of learning, reading blogs, academic articles and views shared from different perspectives. The members of these groups come from all different backgrounds such as graduates like myself to CEO’s, directors and experts in the CSR field of big multinational companies. With this valuable space I put the question out there ‘How do I get employed?’

This is what I received back:
1. Know which out of the following areas are you passionate about

a. Large corporation who has already implemented a CSR function that looks at all four areas of CSR economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic.
b. An organisation where the prime output is focused on the environment which mainly sits in manufacturing.
c. Consultancy companies through CSR projects with client organisations help them become ‘properly/effectively’ socially responsible. Where the definition of ‘effective’ can vary by consultancy firm

2. It is recommended that internships/voluntary work can increase your skill set in a working environment. It is important to get work experience as close to the area of interest as possible, people have suggested that it is easier to get your foot through the door via a non-profit organisation (this can lead you down a humanitarian route).

3. If you have not graduated yet someone did suggest engaging leaders of some organisations who have done a lot of work within CSR and your university to arrange a talk to provide advice, direction and what is available. If I thought of this before I graduated I would have definitely tried to create this.

4. Also I have found there there are a lot of active conferences within CSR that is a great way to build on knowledge and network with professionals already employed in the field. From personal experience I have found these to be very expensive, so to get around this I volunteered. I attended, gained valuable knowledge and met people who work with in Ftse100 companies.

I am still searching for that all important job but believe my journey so far has been so valuable for what I need in the future and if I had been given the following direction before I graduated I know I would be employed by now. So for whoever is searching to follow their passion I wish you all the luck in the world.

For more advice on how to land that CSR job and begin a career in Corporate Social Responsibility see our related post: “How to Have a Successful Sustainability or CSR Career – Free 80 Page Guide“.

This post originally appeared at: CSRjobs

© 2011, Deap Khambay. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Deap Khambay (1 Articles)

Deap Khambay, MSc International Business and Corporate Social Responsibility. Deap is a CSR consultant and freelance writer. Her posts have appeared on CSRjobs where she is a guest author. Connect with Deap on Linkedin.