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Career Profile | Independent Sexual Violence Advocate

7 February 2019

A former UCL student reflects on how her role as a sabbatical officer for Students’ Union UCL led her to work in the charity sector.

Annie Tidbury was Women’s office for Students’ Union UCL, an experience she describes as “transformative”. Each Spring UCL students elect seven full-time, paid sabbatical officers. Four of the seven act as charity trustees and all gain a great wealth of experience working for a registered charity. The deadline for this year’s nominations is 22nd February at noon. Interested? Find out more on their website and think about nominating yourself or a fellow student!

Annie, what is your current role?

For the past year I’ve been working as an Independent Sexual Violence Advocate – that means that I support and advocate for survivors of sexual violence who are going through the criminal justice system.

What made you decide this was for you?

My time as Women’s Officer is what made me want to work in the women’s movement. Back in 2014, I organised some training for myself and others at the Students’ Union and that training was delivered by the rape crisis centre I currently work for. It was honestly something as small as this that introduced me to the job that I do today.

What experiences helped you along the way?

Being Women’s Officer was really transformative for me and it is undoubtedly the main reason I was accepted onto a charity sector grad scheme after leaving UCL. Let’s be honest; there aren’t very many graduate jobs where you go straight in at the top of an organisation and get to make really big decisions about how it runs. As Women’s Officer I had the time, platform and resources to run university-wide campaigns, change policies and procedures, advocate to management and create the kind of spaces that I wanted to see within the union. All of those things were important in and of themselves, and they also gave me knowledge and skills that have been invaluable ever since; in my role as a project manager at a small charity, as head of membership and communications at a slightly larger learning disability organisation, and now in my role at a rape crisis centre.

I feel that it’s important to say that whilst being a sabbatical officer will almost definitely be useful for whatever you want to do next, your future career should absolutely not be the only reason you stand for election. If you don’t particularly care about the Students’ Union, or the position you’re running for, then you will most likely have a frustrating year and do a bad job. Trust me, it’s happened. But if you do care and if you think that students having collective power is important, then do it and you will reap the rewards throughout your sabbatical year and beyond.

This article was written as part of Charities and NGOs Themed Week.

Find out more about upcoming Themed Weeks on our website! 

Networking with Organisations and Professionals

Weronika ZBenning29 January 2016

ALMOSTThe UCL Careers Charities & NGO’s themed week is approaching and we have a host of charities and non-for-profit organisations taking over the UCL Careers library on Thursday, 4th February to answer all of your questions at our networking event. Networking can be an incredibly powerful tool in your job search so it’s important that you do it right. Below are some useful tips to consider before attending the event.

 

  1. Do your research.

There will be a full list of all the organisations that will be attending the Charities & NGO’s Networking Event on the events page of the UCL Careers website, so make sure you do your research about the organisations that are attending. Find out who they are, what they do, any of their recent projects, etc. Not only will this help you build the basis of your conversation, you can impress them with your knowledge of their organisation, and remember: first impressions count.

  1. Have a goal/purpose

It’s always a good idea to set some goals before the event to help you stay focused. Think about what you want to find out at the event and the reason you want to attend e.g. finding out more about a particular role, advice on getting into a particular sector. When doing so make sure this information isn’t available on their website, meaning you will come away with some really valuable information!

  1. Prepare some questions

The key to be being interesting is to be interested. So ensure that you prepare some good questions ahead of the event. This way you can structure your conversation giving it purpose and flow and avoiding any awkward silences. In the charity and non-for-profit sector your passion is incredibly important so may sure you ask some thoughtful questions that reflect your interest. The networking event will be a rare opportunity to ask questions that you normally wouldn’t get the opportunity to ask so preparation is key.

  1. Don’t ask for a job!

Networking is about gathering information – not asking for jobs. This is a classic mistake which people tend to make and does not go down well with employers. Instead you should use this opportunity to discuss ideas and present your skills as people are much more likely to respond to your enthusiasm and understanding. Talk to the professionals about how to find vacancies and how to keep updated with their recruitment opportunities. This may help you to discover unadvertised vacancies as well as getting some tips along the way whilst maintaining professionalism.

The UCL Careers Charities & NGO Networking event will take place from 5.30 – 7.00pm on Thursday 4th February. For details of how to sign up please visit the following link: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/getinto/charitiesandngos

 

Charities and NGOs Week is around the corner: 1st-4th February 2016

Weronika ZBenning26 January 2016

Though important, there is so much more to working in the charities and NGOs sector than shaking a tin, volunteering or delivering aid to those in need on the frontline.  Many charities and NGOs are run as professional businesses that carry out functions such as research and lobbying, as well as raising and redistributing funds.  In the pursuit of addressing human or environmental needs, the sector can be intensely competitive in terms of attracting media attention, funding and other resources.  Most non-profit organisations rely on paid staff as well as volunteers and the sector attracts intelligent people with a passion for their work.

UCL Careers Charities & NGOs Week aims to dispel some of the myths that surround working within this sector.  Through a series of four events, the themed week will provide students with an opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the the diverse range of roles available to them, from campaigning and policy work to international development and disaster relief.  The interactive session on how to prepare persuasive applications will help students to demonstrate their motivation and enthusiasm and ultimately increase their chances of job success.  The final event in the series will provide an excellent opportunity to network, be inspired and pick up some top tips from the experts, who are currently working in the sector.

For further details about UCL Careers Charities & NGOs Week including how to book:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/events/getinto/charitiesandngos

How to secure a job in a Small/Medium Sized Enterprise : Case Studies

ManpreetDhesi28 March 2014

Want to get a job in a SME but have no idea where to start? We collected a few different case studies of how students at UCL have got into SMEs.

Case study 1

Aim: Secure Job in the Charity Sector

Starting point: Experience in management and IT and also an MA in Human Rights at UCL

Method used to secure a job in an SME:

  • Studied the sector in detail – further knowledge was acquired
  • Maximised personal networking and contacts
  • Gained further knowledge, contacts were used to facilitate informative industry interviews
  • Focused job search further by understanding the sector
  • Applied to positions that needs core strengths in order to get an interview
  • Structured the applications on what the employer wants and highlighting strengths
  • Applied to jobs

Result: Succeeded in securing a job in the charity sector

 

Case study 2

Aim: Secure Electrical and Electronic related job

Starting Point: MSc in Electrical and Electronics Engineering in the UK and previous work in home country

Method used to secure a job in an SME:

  • Identified problems with previous application by getting advice from career consultants
  • Focused job search for vacancies that were in-line with my strengths i.e. languages and understanding home country culture
  • Sent speculative applications to employers that would be interested in my strengths
  • Applied to short term and long term internships
  • Spent additional time on understanding the job description and person specifications in order to apply to  the right jobs
  • Kept on applying

Result: Secured an internship with a company that is expanding in my home country and the potential of a job in the future

 

Case Study 3

Aim: Secure job in security, policy in Think tanks, NGOs or government body

Starting point: MA in Politics, Security and Integration

Method used to secure a job in an SME:

  • Dedicated additional effort as was required by the industry and the employers observation and research showed that low number of  advertised jobs were available
  • Researched related websites to get the news about the industry and find out the names of relevant employers
  • Strengthened personal support network to keep up job hunting momentum – long process
  • Cancelled plans to travel and focused on job hunt – times management
  • Managed time to ensure priorities
  • Attended job fairs organised by the career service to expand possibilities
  • Made new contacts and strengthened existing contacts
  • Applied for internships and jobs related to my strength and skills

Result: Found an internship in-line with my strength first and carried on applying then found exactly the right job overseas

 

Case Study 4

Aim: Graduate job in computer software

Starting Point: MEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Method used to secure a job in an SME:

  • Went  to  a few niche job fairs for entrepreneurial companies that required specialist skills and expertise
  • Made new contacts by networking, LinkedIn
  • Discussed options with careers consultants
  • Applied to relevant internships and jobs constantly

Result: Secured a job with an application developer

For further help with getting work with an SME, pop in to see us at UCL Careers or sign up to UCL Talent Bank.

Write an amazing CV for the Charity/NGO sector

ManpreetDhesi3 March 2014

This post originally appeared on the Develop your Career blog

So you’ve decided to apply for that position at a Charity/NGO, but you’re stuck, blankly staring at your CV, not knowing how to best get across your experience or even if it will make the cut. You’ve got this nagging stat in the back of your head, that on average less than 10% of CVs make it through the first stage of the recruitment process.

Here are some quick tips on writing a CV for the Charity/NGO sector that can help give you a fighting start:

  • Make sure it’s no longer than 2-sides and know that the first half of your CV is key – it is what the recruiter will look at first and if they aren’t intrigued to read further, they won’t! Note: Some employers such as the UN might take a longer CV, so check and do your research before hand especially on the position you are applying for.
  • Read the person specification and tailor your CV against the competencies they are looking for. Most recruiters score CVs against a criterion and if you haven’t clearly labelled or demonstrated those competencies, your application won’t go any further. For example, if you are applying for a researcher role, make sure your research section has enough of the core competencies matched so you are ticking all their initial boxes.
  • A recruiter only spends on average 7 – 30 seconds looking at each application initially. Make sure you have a powerful punch at first glance. Get some friends to review or even get your application checked by your careers service.
  • When you are explaining why you want to work for them, ensure it is tailored appropriately and highlight what you can offer them. No one wants to read: “I want to work for Save the Children because I can’t wait to touch all children!”
  • Make sure it is a consistent format and if possible send it across in a PDF format – it doesn’t lose its formatting.
  • Get someone to triple check for spelling and grammar mistakes!
  • Demonstrating evidence is easier than you think. Core Humanitarian competencies are often:
  1. Understanding humanitarian contexts and applying humanitarian principles
  2. Achieving Results
  3. Managing yourself in a pressured and changing environment
  4. Developing and maintaining collaborative relationships
  5. Operating safely and securely at all times
  6. Demonstrating leadership

Once you’ve broken these down, finding examples are easier than you think.

Realised you haven’t got one of these competencies?  Build them up by:

  1. Volunteering whilst at university
  2. Internships during the summer breaks
  3. Reading
  4. E-learning
  5. Networking/attending free talks at ODI
  6. Training
  7. Transferring your skills from any sector
  8. Waitressing – pressure
  9. Childcare – operating safely
  10. Enhancing your knowledge of cultures – you can do all of this without even leaving the country!

Once you’re confident that you can nail your CV, come in and get it checked by an applications advisor who can give you more specific tips against the person specification and job description.

Good luck!

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