Find your purpose: 5 careers for community-minded people

For some people, work can be just a job they leave at the door at the end of the day.

But if you’re caring or community-minded, work can feel more like a calling. If you’re looking for more meaning in your career, or a sense of satisfaction that you made somebody’s life better each day, these types of careers could be for you.

And while there are some caring or community-focused careers that might easily come to mind, others may surprise you.

SEEK’s Resident Psychologist Sabina Read says it’s important to think outside the box. “It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that people who have natural strengths in caring for others should work in typical care-giving industries,” she says.

“While jobs such as teaching, nursing, psychology, sales, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, or aids and support workers require high levels of empathy, compassion and a desire to help others, these kinds of skills can be put to good use and valued in many careers, including in corporate settings too.”

Some careers that can be a natural fit for carers and the community-minded include:

1. Aged-care, health, and disability support

These careers require high levels of empathy, compassion, and a desire to help others. Daily tasks may include providing personal care, helping with mobility, administering medication, and ensuring people’s wellbeing – often when they need it most.

Roles to consider:

2. Education and training

If you have strong communication skills, patience, and adaptability, this could be for you. From planning engaging lessons to facilitating student growth, educators play a vital role in shaping the future.

Roles to consider:

  • Childcare Worker
  • Behaviour Support Practitioner
  • Special Educational Needs Teacher
  • Student Support Officer
  • Teacher's Aide

3. Retail and sales

Community-mindedness helps to create exceptional customer experiences, with strong interpersonal skills, empathy, and a genuine desire to help others at the core of what you’re doing. From assisting customers with their needs to building lasting relationships, you can make a positive impact every day while achieving sales targets and ensuring your customers are taken care of.

Roles to consider:

4. Customer service

Great customer service can be provided in almost any industry, but the recipe for success is the same: strong communication, problem-solving, and empathy are essential. From resolving inquiries to building meaningful connections, you can create positive interactions, ensure customers are satisfied, and contribute to a welcoming and supportive environment.

Roles to consider:

5. Hospitality and tourism

Help create unforgettable experiences, with your genuine passion for people, strong communication skills, and a warm and caring demeanour. From providing excellent customer service to organising memorable events, a career in hospitality and tourism gives you the chance to help guests feel valued and cherished every day.

Roles to consider:

How do you know if these types of careers could be for you? Read says these qualities were probably always in you.

“As a child, did you often think of others, play the caregiver in your family, want to help others, and feel in tune with the needs of others?” she asks.

“As an adult, do you fill up your cup knowing you've impacted another person more than when you receive extrinsic validation like praise or a pay rise? Then you may have the kinds of skills, strengths and qualities that will be valued and needed to help others in your job.”

These types of jobs can come at a cost, though, and Read says it’s important, if you are a carer, that you make sure you also care for yourself.

“Sometimes when we want to help and support others it can come at the expense of honouring our own wellbeing, so be clear about what you need to maintain: rest, self-time, and joy also matter,” she says. And if you’re ready to make the leap to a caring or community-minded career? Take the time to think about where it works best for you to share those gifts.

“Back yourself and tap into your natural strengths aligned with caring for others and wanting to make a difference,” suggests Read. “Don't limit yourself to the obvious caregiving sectors.

“Every industry and workplace setting requires people who want to help, support and impact others. Make sure you find ways to look after yourself and be careful not to attach all your worth to the outcome of others. Then take the leap. You'll likely help others, and in the process, feel good about the meaning derived from impacting others in both small and significant ways!”

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