How do I get a job in Corporate Responsibility?

It’s graduation time around the world and we often get questions from graduates on, “how do I get a job in the area of Corporate Responsibility?” It’s great to hear from these students because they have so much passion about the area of CSR—and they are not jaded like me.

:-)

I have the following “free” advice for these recent grads:

1) There are probably not a lot of jobs that you can jump right into out of college and do CSR work full-time. Don’t be discouraged…..It’s a journey right—not a destination.

2) If you cannot find your dream CSR job, take a job in your major (e.g., engineering, finance, communications, etc.) and look to apply your passion for CSR into your job. One of the biggest challenges of CSR is integrating it into all parts of the company. Just like quality isn’t something done by a few people in the quality department, CSR needs to be integrated to be truly successful.

3) If you are at a company that already has some CSR staff, try to meet the staff and learn more about where they need help or if there are ways you can be involved?

4) Volunteer opportunities either inside or outside the company are a great way to apply your CSR passion, build skills and establish networks.

5) Depending on your company, you could start a club or employee group that focuses on CSR.

6) Depending on your background, skills and training, you could try doing CSR as an independent contractor or consultant, but that is probably tough to pull off unless you have a lot of experience and a pretty good network.

If you do get that CSR job, some of the up sides about working in the area of CSR are that you get to work on interesting issues that are important to society and you get to work on a wide variety of issues. On the downside, not everyone may share your passion for CSR and in a for profit business, you probably have to spend a lot more time selling your cause than you thought, and you don’t always win, but that’s probably typical in any job. At least you can feel smug that you are usually fighting for the just cause. :-)

Good luck with the job searches and finding a position that matches your head with your heart.

2 Responses to How do I get a job in Corporate Responsibility?

  1. Lord Volton says:

    I had no idea such a job title existed within corporations. Hmm.
    It’s interesting since the fiduciary duty of the managers/executives of corporations are to the corporation itself. And that means by law they must bring to the corporation any opportunities that directly relate to the mission of the corporate entity.
    But what is the fiduciary responsibility of the corporation to its country, or perhaps to the world since companies today are multi-national?
    Obviously this is a course very few top executives took in college, mainly because it didn’t exist. We call it ethics or morals. But Enron, MCI, Adelphia, and others show us that a handful of companies *only* measure of success was the next quarters profit even if it meant cheating.
    In other words, nobody stopped to say, “Wait, it’s not just that we got the the top of the mountain, but also, how we got there.”
    The fact that its near impossible to communicate with boards of directors and top echelon staff compound their separation from the people.
    Yahoo is an excellent example.
    They entered the Chinese market and assisted the local authorities in locating a journalist who was then imprisoned for 10 years. And then Jerry Yang defended their actions.
    Doesn’t Yang and Yahoo owe some kind of duty to the society that created a ready platform for their success?
    A corporation that doesn’t consider the people will end up in a society where people are not considered. And technology in the hands of people who don’t care about humanity will lead to enslavement.
    The two cannot be separated.
    The ideals upon which this country was founded are probably a good place to start when it comes to corporate social responsibility. Is the corporation investing and behaving in a way that promotes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
    If it’s not, what measures can be taken to correct it?
    In the case of Yahoo its fairly simple, stop turning over the names of journalists who are fighting for freedom of speech. When those voices of freedom are silenced (with Yahoo’s help) it means the company itself is complicit in violating the very ideals upon which this country was founded.
    That is why I think Intel needs to very carefully examine its role in China. And the role that its technology plays in the Chinese economy.
    Hitler had plenty of technology. Technology in the hands of those countries that do not respect human rights will ultimately turn against those who promote liberty (i.e., the Nazi’s didn’t believe the Jews were human).
    So a CSR job may be the most important role in the company!

  2. Dharmic Duty says:

    That is my number one question: How do you make a corporation responsible? Right now, it seems impossible; they are for the most part greedy at all costs and can spend lots on PR. How do you let the public know what corporations are doing so they care, and can fight back with their pocketbook, i.e. not utilize their services? The creation of the corporation as it is currently constructed is a killer of a humane society and culture.