If you've been watching the news and are now starting to feel as if you want your time and work energy to be focused on a new and positive direction and are yearning for your daily life to contribute to making things better in the world, you're not alone. The events of this past year have had an unexpected impact on us, and it's that in the new year ahead, we are seeking meaningful work, that is aligned with our value system. Every time you feel like saying to co-workers, "We're not saving lives here!" when something goes awry, it may be a clue that it's time to find a more meaningful path. Start your search with tips from experts in the field.

Co-founders Bonnie Brown and Paul Turcotte who created Passion Placement to help people find jobs that they really care about have discovered that the pandemic has provided a springboard for many people to seek more meaningful work. It starts when they either find themselves unemployed or constantly thinking about what they really want to do, and they then begin their search for meaningful work. To address the growing demand for purpose-driven employment, Brown and Turcotte launched Passion Placement, a career matchmaking platform that specializes in placing mission-aligned hires into companies that make a difference for humans, the planet, and animals.

“Passion Placement grew out of my frustration as a financial professional looking to apply my career skills to helping animals and improving life on the planet, only to find myself jumping from one site to another, back and forth, thinking there has got to be a better way,” said Brown.

“I wanted to help mission-driven people use their skill set for companies making a positive impact. Through Covid and into the new year, we have been offering free coaching sessions to help people find their passion placement and joy in a purpose-driven job. We now also offer recruiting, job posting, and consulting for both companies and candidates so we can all use our talents together to create a better world.”

Gen Z Got The Memo

Even before the pandemic, mission-aligned employment was a growing trend with Millennials and Gen Z's looking to make a difference for their planet.  WeSpire noted in a recent study that Gen Z is the “first generation to prioritize purpose over money. Called the ‘Change Generation’ due to passion and desire to make a difference through work, [Gen Z] needs to see [a] connection between what they are doing and broader social impact. Empowering work culture is two-times more important than higher salary for retention.”

Now more experienced candidates are also looking to begin living a more meaningful life through their work, Brown finds, which is why she and Turcotte decided to connect candidates for all types of positions, from the intern to C-suite positions and from the volunteer to the board member, with organizations from all types of industries provided they concretely and authentically share the mission of positive and measurable change.

COVID Clarity: Do What Is Meaningful

The past year, of COVID-19, coupled with people’s desire to find purpose in 2021, has crystalized the new approach that they are calling: ‘New Year, New Career’ for many workers looking to pivot to a more meaningful direction for how they spend their nine-to-five.

“I'm looking to switch to a more mission-aligned job because our future depends on it. I want to do everything I can to make this world a safer, more equitable place, both in my personal life, as well as my professional life,” said MK (who chooses to be anonymous).

Curtis agrees. "We are living through a very chaotic time where I don’t feel in control of many things. Believing in the mission or purpose of a company makes me feel my job will be important and that I can make difference even on a small scale."

Employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from a mission-aligned hire. “At abillion app, we get really excited about folks that are mission-driven like us," explained the app's founder, Vikas Garg. "Having that passion is like rocket fuel. It means you get through problems faster, find solutions faster, love your team more and it’s easier to form a bond and trust between the individual and the company.”

Founder of dairy-free Revolution Gelato, Jared Olkin agrees. "Values alignment in the Revolution Gelato team and our partners is simply a must-have. I've found that when we work with people who really believe in what we are doing and why, it shows -- not only are they the most dedicated but also we can trust them implicitly to represent the brand."

If you are feeling a spark of hope and are thinking that 2021 is the year that you turn your employment around to work with companies that you know are making a difference, here are Brown’s top five tips to find your mission-aligned job,

Top Five Ways to Find Your Mission-Aligned Job

1. Look forward to your second most important day

Take time to define your passion and purpose. This may take longer than you want it to, and may not be resolved in an afternoon, but the time invested is time well spent and the key to finding the right direction. According to lore, Mark Twain said: "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." There is an entire website dedicated to the idea that he did not in fact pen or speak those words, called The Apocryphal Twain, which sleuths out misattributions, but the same site reports that it's been searched over 5 million times in a short period, so obviously the line resonates.

2. Make a List of companies that are aligned to your passions, not just appear to be

Start doing your homework. Once you know what industry or area you care about find out which companies share your mission by researching those around the themes that move you. Dive deep into learning about them (go on Glass Door for instance and read up on the corporate culture. There's nothing worse than a fitness company that never lets its employees workout, for instance), and you will have a list of mission-aligned companies that you admire. Connect with them through social media, particularly via Linkedin.

3. Figure out the narrative to your story, then tell it

Everyone needs to be able to tell the story of why they want to make this change. You're bringing your skill set to a new set of problems, so connect the dots for a future interviewer. This may start to feel a little bit like therapy at times, as you figure out the narrative, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself lying on the couch, staring at the ceiling. Get clear about your natural and experiential talents and what brings you joy. (And avoid ever saying: "I'm a people person." Instead, tell how you use your background or skills to accomplish a difficult task.) Then, write these down and define your ideal job or career path.  Be as tunnel-vision as possible here as you want to go for your dream job. You can always expand later to cast a wider net if need be.

4. Write a customized resume for each company or industry if you need to

Customize your resume to prioritize the areas that best suit your future job or employer, not your past. You want to address your perfect job specifically on each line, and be clear in your profile or summary section as to what your passion is and what you bring to the job that will be a benefit to them (you are there to solve their problems, remember). Expect to do several revisions until you think: If I were them, I would want me to join their team (not: I want to join their team). Be concise about what you bring to the situation. Then, head on over to Linkedin and tailor your profile there.

5. Start connecting to people over zoom "just because" and before you need them

There is so much truth in ‘It’s all about who you know.’ Oddly, COVID has, in many ways despite social distancing, made this easier.  Make a commitment to network with like-minded people and companies that share your passion.

What does this mean exactly?  Comment thoughtfully with ‘value-add’ on Linkedin when the companies or people you respect make a post. Share their posts with others on your page, with relevant hashtags, so you can engage and network on Linkedin and form a community.  Linkedin is your new home-away-from-home.

Hit up every Zoom meeting that you think is going to make you connections. Networking is the job before you get the job. Follow up with fellow participants or speakers from the Zoom meeting, webinar, speaker series, etc. because, as we know, ‘It’s all about who you know.’

The Big Bonus: You don’t have to go it alone

And if all of this has you in a career crisis, of course, just reach out to the experts like Bonnie or others to talk it all through and find some clarity and direction.  Looking for a job – like living through a pandemic – can be extremely stressful, and you don’t have to go it alone!

Elysabeth Alfano is a plant-based business consultant and helps people transition to a plant-based diet. Follow her @ElysabethAlfano on all platforms and at ElysabethAlfano.com.

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