Five top tips for launching your career in the charity sector
By UCL Careers, on 6 February 2018
Anjali Dwesar manages Charity Apprentice – an online course run by international development charity Child.org. Charity Apprentice is a free 10-month course that anyone can do in their spare time to gain the skills needed for a career in the charity sector. A combination of online learning and real-life challenges, the course has been designed by charity professionals and covers topics ranging from effective advocacy to social enterprise to fundraising strategy to sustainable development.
Anjali is here to give you her five top tips for launching your career in the charity sector.
- It’s all about the skills and experience
The charity sector is extremely competitive, and landing a job in the sector isn’t based on good intentions unfortunately. In order to stand out amongst the other candidates, it’s really important to build up your skills and experience during your time at university and beyond. You need to demonstrate to employers that you’re qualified for the role and that you’re going to make a success of it. Of course, you must demonstrate passion for the cause of the charity – but ultimately, it’s your skills and experience that will get you the job.
- Find out what you’re good at
The sector is hugely diverse, and there are such a wide variety of jobs available. Saying that you want to work for a charity is not enough – you need to think carefully about your skill-set and what you can bring to the sector. It’s not just campaigners, fundraisers or volunteer managers that the sector needs – there are jobs in designing, coding, project management, and many more. Explore the team page of charity websites and look at the kinds of jobs available – you might surprise yourself!
- Be impact-driven
I’ve met some of the most passionate and inspiring people in the charity sector. Yes, it is a lovely place to work but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! If you’re working in the sector, your job is to make the world a better place and that’s hard work. You need to demonstrate in your applications that you’re driven by the question: how can I make the most impact in my job?
- It’s not what you know…
Don’t rely on the big charity recruitment websites – smaller charities might not have the budget to post their opportunities on there. Make sure you’re using lots of different tools to find out about job vacancies, both online and offline. Use LinkedIn, Twitter (#charityjobs), Facebook groups, attend charity networking groups, events etc.
- Don’t give up!
You might not get your dream job straight away, but all experience you gain will be valuable. Say yes to opportunities and work hard – you will get there!
To find out more about Charity Apprentice, visit charityapprentice.org.