Three Pieces Of Career Advice For Future CSR Professionals

Many young professionals have come to me for career advice on how to become a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professional. It is a tall order, given how much variation there is in the definition of the term itself (see our CSR blog for more on this). At one end of the spectrum, CSR is defined as donations to non-profits. At the other end of the spectrum are those who define CSR as the company’s commitment to make business decisions driven by the decision’s impact on communities and the environment.   Most companies' CSR strategies are somewhere in between these two extremes.

If you are interested in a career in CSR, I would strongly recommend that you take the following steps to refine your definition of CSR and find a company that might be a good fit for you to design and implement strong career planning strategies to reach your goals:

  • Read our CSR blog – It is filled with amazing stories and resources, ranging from best practices through case studies such as Campbell Soup to limitations in CSR reports. Our CSR blog will also provides reports and stories on companies to avoid, such as those who are portraying their products as Energy Star when they really should not. The more you can know about how CSR reports are built and what CSR strategies resonate with you, the best you can articulate what type(s) of companies are a good fit for your goals.
  • Build your toolkit and network of contacts – By learning more about sustainability strategies through CERES or through B-Corps, you can tremendously increase your ability to design and implement triple bottom line projects that will help you get recognized as CSR talent within your organization. Best practices can also be found through our justmeans featured companies, our justmeans group on CSR reporting, as well as on the Net Impact website, under the Impact At Work section. Through these readings, you can also identify new networking contacts that you can rely on for information, advice, and support.
  • Read books on strategic CSR - I highly recommend ‘Just Good Business’ by Kellie McElhaney, as well as ‘The Responsibility Revolution’ by Jeffrey Hollender. Both books provide valuable tips and case studies that can help you align strategic CSR with the products and services provided by your employer.

By staying informed through these resources, you can accelerate your learning, refine your approach in future projects, and get recognized faster as CSR talent within the organization. See my previous post on tips to add a triple bottom line to your current projects.

As always, my goal is simple: Help you amplify your impact and accelerate your learning as you build your career as a socio-eco innovator who does Business - Better. I look forward to receiving your career planning questions and to addressing them in future posts!

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