Career Exploration and Development

Careers with Social Impact

Oberlin students with an interest in working for the public good and social justice may pursue careers in the nonprofit and public sectors as a way to work on issues of interest.

Several Oberlin students stand at a table filled with boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are also piled on the floor behind the table. Individuals with shopping carts are lined up in front of the tables.
Members of the Oberlin Bike Co-op and the Resource Conservation Team helped organize and distribute food during Oberlin Community Service’s fall food distribution.
Photo credit: Bryan Rubin '18

Employment within nonprofit organizations and the public sector draw on a wide range of skill sets, so students of all majors and disciplines can go on to work as professionals in fields like environmental sustainability, social services, public humanities, and philanthropy.  

Possible Paths

Students with a liberal arts education are well-situated to respond to a range of pressing issue areas, including:

  • Civil liberties and rights
  • Cultural preservation
  • Food systems and food justice
  • Gender equity
  • Homelessness and housing rights
  • Immigrant and refugee rights
  • LGBT rights
  • Mental health care
  • Poverty
  • Racial justice
  • Sustainability and environmental protection

Internships will offer experience in fields such as:

  • Community and global development
  • Conservation
  • Education access
  • Political campaigns
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Fundraising/organizational advancement
  • International service
  • Outreach and communications
  • Public history
  • STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) youth programs

The following resources were compiled by Foundation List and provide a variety of job search databases related to non-profit and public sector careers.

  • Foundation List – A job board specifically designed for listing opportunities within the nonprofit employment sector! Its mission is to connect foundations, organizations, associations, and educational institutions to passionate mission-minded job seekers.
  • Nonprofit Career Network – Created to fill the needs of the nonprofit sector.
  • Idealist – Idealist is all about connecting idealists – people who want to do good – with opportunities for action and collaboration.
  • The Chronicle of Philanthropy - An independent news organization that has been serving leaders, fundraisers, grantmakers, and others involved in the philanthropic enterprise for more than 25 years.
  • Nonprofit Jobs – Connected to, offers a listing of national openings in the nonprofit sector.
  • Green Dream Jobs – A world where human activities live in harmony with the earth’s carrying capacity.
  • Work For Good – Work for Good’s mission is to help purpose-driven organizations and talented professionals connect, so together you can do the best work possible.
  • – An online gathering place where not-for-profit employers and management personnel can meet one another.
  • – Job site for social work, counseling, psychology, mental health, case management, EAP, volunteer management, substance abuse treatment, domestic violence, community development, youth development, child welfare, developmental disabilities and all other areas of social services.
  • Social Work Career Center – Career website where social workers can search national job listings and find professional development and career resources that span across the duration of a social worker’s professional career. 
  • Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) - Non-profit organization devoted to connecting professionals with careers at higher education and affiliated employers that have a shared mission to promote equity and inclusion, support dual-career couples and create a future shaped by diversity of thought and perspectives.
  • Devex – A social enterprise, they connect and inform 700,000+ global development professionals through news, business intelligence, and funding & career opportunities.
  • Council on Foundations – A nonprofit membership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations, with a mission is to promote responsible and effective philanthropy.
  • Philanthropy News Digest Job Board - Philanthropy News Digest (PND) gathers philanthropy-related articles from various media outlets nationwide, and PND hosts a nonprofit job board on their website. 

Additional Job Boards

  • Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) - Activates emerging leaders by connecting them with resources, people, and ideas.
  • Service Year - Service Year Alliance is an organization relentlessly pursuing a bold vision - making a year of paid, full-time service - a service year - a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.
  • Foundation Center - The leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed.
  • The Bridgespan Group - Nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven organizations and philanthropists. 
  • National Council of Nonprofits - Trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. 
  • The NonProfit Times - The leading publication for nonprofit management. 
  • - Free online training in nonprofit topics

Connect with alumni through Wisr, Oberlin's student-alumni networking platform. Join the Career Community for Nonprofit and the Public Sector to engage with members from all over the world in various business-related fields.

Careers with Social Impact Jobs & Internships

Below is a sampling of jobs and internships currently posted for Obies. Log in to Handshake to explore all of the available opportunities.