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3 obvious, yet often forgotten, tips for getting a social impact job

Finding the perfect social impact job takes hard work and persistence. Good career advice is sector, even company specific. Advice for getting a job at Google is very different than good advice for getting a job at TD or the United Way. But there’s some common tips that transcend all sectors and are critical to a successful job search. Finding a new job can take months and through this process we can forget the most helpful tips for getting a job.

We share 3 obvious – yet often forgotten – tips for getting a social impact job:

1. Don’t spend all your time perfecting your resumé and responding to job ads

A large number of jobs are filled through connections, without ever being advertised.

Jonathan Hera Jonathan Hera, Senior Portfolio Manager, Grand Challenges Canada

“Make sure you network. Making connections with people in the industry is key, as most teams are small and who gets the job is often based on who’s known in the space. Beyond having the hard and soft skills, teams are interested in personal fit, so having a warm lead is better than applying cold.”- 

2. Don’t be so self-centred.

Focus your application on what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.

Blair  Blair Smith, Marketing Manager, Evergreen Canada. 

It’s not about you, it’s about them. I see so many cover letters and resumes peppered with “I”, “I’, “I”. First, you need to showcase your understanding of the main job requirements and then explain how you can deliver against them. This is critical when you’re asked for a cover letter. And be yourself. People will be able to tell when you’re faking it.


Mike Bartlett Mike Bartlett. Senior Director, Corporate Responsibility, MLSE & Executive Director, MLSE Foundation

I see a lot resumes that focus on the individual and not the cause. My least favourite cover letter to read is the one that just tells me why the applicant wants the job more than anyone else. Instead, they should be looking at the organization and explaining how they can help. People in this sector need to present themselves in a way that honestly articulates what’s in it for the organization.

3. Make an effort to do informational interviews.

Talk to people who have the jobs you want or are working for companies you admire.

MK-blog Marijke Vandergrift. Associate, Sponsorship & Cause Marketing. SickKids Foundation

Don’t be scared to reach out to people doing what you would like to be doing. Offering to take someone out for a quick coffee or lunch can be the start of a professional relationship that could be valuable in the long run. All of us have been in the job seeker position at some point or another and usually will make time, even if it’s just for 20 min, to chat. Be prepared. Do your research before meeting them and prepare your top ten questions to ensure you make the most of your time together. Always send a follow up note to thank them for their time.

Fatima- Public Fatima Crerar, Social Impact Manager at ecobee 

Know what you want, and be hungry for it. You also have to be brave when going after non-traditional jobs. There wasn’t a standard interview or hiring process for my job. I took the time to meet and learn from people who were doing really cool work and the best thing that happened during those conversations was how generous people were with their time and how willing they were to connect you with other people.

Some advice I got early on that I found useful was to be really clear about what you are looking for. It is really hard for people to help you out if all you can tell them is you want something awesome. So whether it’s the type of work, the geography, the type of boss, the remuneration, be clear.

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