Sponsored by BCA:
Community service and business really can go together. In fact, that’s one of the things corporate social responsibility (CSR) is all about — ensuring a company’s impact on the people and world around it is positive. Community service is a natural part of the CSR movement, and for many business women and men, it can lead to a new career.
The interest in CSR comes from multiple sources. Companies, consumers, employees, job seekers, the media, and government entities are all looking for businesses that prioritize CSR in meaningful, impactful, and measurable ways. What most people don’t realize when they hear the term “CSR” is that it encompasses so much more than the environment and local volunteering.
For example, with more and more focus on work-life balance, CSR has taken on an internal importance in recent years. As a result, social responsibility is opening doors to new roles and opportunities in today’s businesses.
To truly excel in these roles, you need more than a business degree. You need education and experience in social and community services to truly thrive in a “social” business position.
Here are five key things you need to succeed in a CSR career:
The best CSR professional understands both the business side and the social/human side of a company and its stakeholders. If you started your career with your marketing, finance, human resources, or other business degree but never studied social services, then taking classes or obtaining a Diploma of Community Services is a logical first step to transitioning into this new career.
Get involved. Start volunteering. It really is as simple as that. You need to demonstrate to employers that you don’t just talk the talk. You actually walk the walk!
Do your communication skills need polishing? As a CSR professional, you will spend a lot of time talking to a lot of people. From trying to get buy-in from employees to speaking with customers, government officials, business leaders, and the media, you’ll need to effectively communicate your ideas and the ideals of the company on a daily basis.
Whether you’re starting in an entry-level position or a management position, you’ll need to be a leader. You’ll need to influence people to get things done and you’ll need to be able to guide people to make things happen. CSR teams are never large enough, so every team member needs to be ready to take the lead on a project and make it a success.
Do you have enough business knowledge to excel in the CSR field? You need to be a strategic thinker and understand how your decisions and actions affect the entire company as well as the community and a long list of stakeholders. Additionally, you need to understand research and analytics as well as public relations and marketing. A well-rounded business person with a community services education and experience is the ideal candidate.
Bottom-line, the CSR profession is growing rapidly, and you can make yourself an irresistible candidate for one of those jobs with some preparation. The more education and experience you can get, coupled with your demonstration of the necessary soft skills required for a CSR position, the better your chances of successfully merging community services and business for your dream career.