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Considering the charity sector? The pros and cons

By UCL Careers, on 22 January 2015

Aaron Marchant from All About Group, gives us his take on the pros and cons of the Charity sector. Don’t forget to register for our Charities and NGOs week starting w/c 2nd Feb 2015!

When hunting for a career, many students don’t consider the charity and not-for-profit sector, choosing instead to focus on other career routes. Here are some pros and cons about working in the sector which might give you something new to think about.


Ok, so you probably won’t be earning huge amounts of money as soon as you graduate. Starting salaries tend to average between £20,000 and £25,000. These can rise over time to £40,000+ after five to ten years, with the potential to go even higher.

Working environment

Working in the not-for-profit and charity sector often results in an interesting and varied working day. If you choose to work in a support-based role, you’ll be moving between locations and coming into direct contact with clients. This type of work will be especially hands-on – you could be working on outdoor projects or helping vulnerable members of society. Alternatively, you might be based in an office, liaising with support workers and other industry professionals. This would involve the sorts of things you would expect from most office environment, such as more regular hours.

Something different

If you’re interested in making a real difference to society, or you want to work abroad, then charity work is something you should consider. For example, if you choose to work in International Aid & Development, there will be plenty of opportunities for travel. These might range from short trips to assess a situation to working abroad on long term projects. Closer to home, you’ll be able to make noticeable differences to the communities around you.

Open to everyone

Whether you’re doing a law degree, considering a job in the creative arts, or working on a new app, there is something for everyone in the not-for-profit sector. For example, if you’ve been considering graduate finance jobs, the charity sector needs financiers just as much as other companies do. You’ll be able to put your skills to good use whilst giving back to society. Similarly, a creative student might be interested in running community theatre or putting on art events. Whatever your background, there’s more opportunity in the sector than meets the eye.

The bare bones – pros and cons


  • Challenging
  • You can make a difference every day
  • Variety of working options
  • Opportunities for travel and working abroad


  • Can often be emotional
  • Relatively low potential earnings
  • Sometimes stressful

The not-for-profit and charity sector, therefore, has a lot to offer. Whether you’re someone who is passionate about helping others, want to use your knowledge in a social context, or just wants to try something different, it’s a career well worth considering.

Aaron Marchant works at www.allaboutcareers.com, a careers advice service for students and graduates

Register for the UCL Careers Charities and NGOs week here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/getinto


Opening Doors to a Rewarding Management Accounting Career

By UCL Careers, on 15 January 2015

Seb Atkinson of CGMA, which is part of CIMA writes about Management Accounting Careers…

Have you considered a career in management accounting? This exciting career path is the perfect opportunity for anyone with an interest in finance and business. It offers opportunities for travel, personal growth, and career progression.

If you’re studying for or have recently completed a degree in the business or finance field, then read on to discover more about what management accounting is, and how to open doors in this dynamic career path.

Tell Me More about Management Accounting

A role as a management accountant will see you making critical business decisions across the fields of finance, operations, strategy, and management. The two most prestigious accounting bodies, CIMA and AICPA, have worked together to establish the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation, which is a qualification that can be earned in this field.

This designation is globally recognised, offers a whole host of benefits – including an impressive salary range – and will develop the skills and knowledge gained from your degree. What’s more, it offers you the opportunity to earn whilst you study, and travel too.

As mentioned, this is the ideal progression from a business or finance based degree, however, those with a degree in other subjects may have transferrable skills and a foundation of knowledge that can lead them to success in this career path.

Alternative Entry

The Prospects website for graduate careers has information on an alternative route to train to become a Management Accountant, via the ACCA organisation. This option takes out the business management modules instead of audit and taxation options in the final part of their training.

What’s On Offer?

A fantastic benefit of management accountancy is the rapid career progression and salary rises which are above national averages – graduates can enjoy a great starting salary of £28,000 – above the average UK salary of £26,664 – while they study for their CGMA designation through the CIMA syllabus.

Salary levels for a qualified CGMA designation holder average at £66,000 per year, while one fifth go on to very senior roles commanding salaries of £100,000, £150,000 and even higher; a reflection of how in demand people with these skill sets are to drive long term success for businesses.

Working around the World

By becoming a CGMA designation holder you can take your expertise almost anywhere. Popular destinations include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States, where the skill set you will gain is on high demand.

As well as offering the opportunity to work almost anywhere in the world, this globally recognised qualification offers graduates the chance to travel – ideal for anyone who didn’t get the chance to take a gap year! By landing a position at a multi-national firm there will undoubtedly be the option to travel.

The Next Steps

Below is an outline of the route to becoming a CGMA designation holder, either through the CIMA or AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) –

routes in CGMA


As this shows, the route to becoming a CGMA involves both examinations and 3 years of practical, relevant experience. Your earning potential will increase throughout your journey and as your level of experience rises.

The framework you will follow for the qualification takes a full-time working, part-time studying student between three to five years to qualify.

You can get some great tips from people who’ve worked their way up to a career in management accounting on the CGMA website’s careers case studies.

To talk about possible career options, come in and speak to a Careers Consultant: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers

12 tips of Christmas

By UCL Careers, on 22 December 2014

Roxanne Chand from TARGETJobs gives us her top 12 tips to making the most of your time at Christmas: 

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It’s the time of year you spend with loved ones and eat far too much food. It is also the best time to start looking for a graduate scheme or internship.

Make the most of your leisure time by researching into the best ways to find that all important graduate job. Write the perfect CV and learn how to handle graduate recruiters professionally.

Here are our top 12 tips to help you…

  1. Many graduates choose to take a gap year. If you want to pay for your gap year travel by working while abroad there are plenty of opportunities available to you. Read ‘Gap year jobs to apply for before you travel’ for our top tips on when and where to apply.
  1. Are you juggling more than one job offer? It’s a nice problem to have, but how do you manage the situation? Have a read of our article ‘Juggling more than one job offer’ to find out how to make your decision and deal with graduate recruiters in a professional manner.
  2. Creating the perfect CV for your chosen career can be tricky. This is why we designed ‘The 6-step guide to perfecting your graduate CV’. A good CV is essential to get the graduate job you want, so check out our 6 steps to help your produce a well-crafted CV.
  3. Social networks are great tools for keeping in touch with your friends and family, but graduate recruiters can use them too. With this in mind, look at how you can maintain and manage your online reputation in our article ‘Social networking and graduate recruitment: manage your online reputation’.
  4. Dress for success at your graduate job interviews. This is crucial. You want graduate recruiters to remember you, not your clothes. Find out what to wear in our article to boost your confidence and create a lasting professional impression at your interview.
  5. Rejection is just a fact of life, but don’t let this hinder your chances of finding a graduate job. Read our article ‘Coping with rejection’ for our confidence boosting tips when it comes to interviews.
  6. Have a read of our quick tips to help you prepare for graduate applications, interviews and assessments. Use our article ‘Application planner: quick tips for graduate job-hunters’ as a handy check list to make sure you’re on the right track to get a graduate job.
  7. Diving straight into work with an employer suits some graduates, but for others it’s the last thing on their mind. Whether you want to be self-employed, take a break, travel or do further study, there is an alternative to getting a job. Read our article ‘After graduate: alternatives to getting a job’.
  8. Innovation, imagination and intuition… creativity takes all three. A successful graduate career involves making both big breakthroughs and inspired evolutions. Have a read of our article ‘Creativity: graduate recruiters like fresh thinking’.
  9. Working abroad can have a great impact on your graduate career. Offering not only work experience but in-depth knowledge of different cultures and work ethics. Take this opportunity to have a read of our ‘Working abroad’ to see if this is right for you.
  10. Interviews for graduate jobs come in a variety of formats: competence interviews, telephone interviews, panel interviews, technical interviews and now, strengths interviews. If you’re going face-to-face (or on the phone) with graduate recruiters then knowing what to expect and how to prepare will give you a head start and keep your interview nerves at bay. Find tips for dealing with tricky interview questions and techniques to help you come across with confidence.
  11. Almost every graduate job-hunter encounters a job application form at some point, particularly if they are applying for graduate schemes and programmes. Take a look at our step-by-step guide ‘The graduate’s guide to job application forms’.

For more advice on how to get a graduate job, internship or placement visit www.targetjobs.co.uk.

This post was written by TARGETJobs for the UCL Careers blog. For further information and to book in to speak to someone visit: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers