Career Impact Exploration

There is no one-size-fits-all impact career. Impact can mean different things to different people depending on their personal mission and values. To identify your best fit within the impact sector, consider three aspects – the issues you feel obligated to impact, the types of organizations making impact, and the functional roles that align with your strengths and interests.

Impact Organizations

The Impact Sector is made up of a spectrum of government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and newer business models that consider social and/or environmental impact along with profitability. The impact of these organizations could be related to any issue area but the emphasis on stakeholders (i.e. people & environment) vs. shareholders (i.e. profits) vary across the spectrum depending on the primary purpose of the organization.

  • Government and public policy
  • Nonprofit
  • Social enterprise
  • Corporate impact/Corporate responsibility
  • Impact finance and investing & philanthropy

Impact Issues

Individual values and passions are important elements of impact career success.  Understanding the issues that motivate and inspire you to work for change can be an integral first step in your impact career development. Environmental and societal concerns are diverse, but most can be categorized under the following primary areas of impact:

Impact Roles

Any job can be an impact job! Depending on your values and interests and your educational training, skills and experiences, you may find your impact job anywhere along the following spectrum:

  • Impact job at a mission-driven organization – e.g. a grant writer for a nonprofit, an environmental educator at a national park, or an urban planner for a city.
  • Traditional job at a mission-driven organization – e.g. an accountant at a nonprofit, in human resources for a government agency, or a social media coordinator for a social enterprise.
  • Impact job at a profit-driven organization – e.g. a VP of sustainability or a community outreach director at a corporation.
GETTING STARTED: Where are you today? What do you know or have? What do you need to know or get?
  • What are my issues of interest (e.g. children and youth, hospital administration, housing, international development)?
  • What change do I want to make happen (e.g. improve access to health care, reduce juvenile delinquency)?
  • What kinds of organizations are doing that kind of work? Who could/should be doing more? Is there room to innovate or create something new?
  • Is geographic location important (e.g. OKC or Oklahoma specifically, urban vs. rural communities, Madagascar)?
  • What roles might I want to play in an organization (e.g. financial manager, policy analyst, urban planner, fundraiser, sustainability coordinator)? What are my skills, abilities, and experiences (e.g. writing, database management, social media campaigns, leadership)?
  • What do these employers look for when making hiring decisions? Do my skills match or do I need additional education, experience, contacts, etc.? When and how do they hire?  For instance, they could hire annually through campus recruiting or rolling hiring mostly through word-of-mouth.
  • What are my most immediate priorities (e.g. career ladder job, earned income, training, a personal value)?
  • What work values are important to me (e.g. professional development, creativity, independence, recognition, stability, organizational culture and values)?

University of Central Oklahoma, Experiential Learning
A Department of Student Affairs