Charity Jobs: Five Things to Consider Before Applying
1.Specific skills are not essential
Helen Giles: for entry level jobs you don’t need specific skills
Employers look for people with the right core competences – the right level of cognitive abilities, analytical and critical reasoning, personal organisation skills, self-directed learning and development and most importantly the ability to mange your emotions and positive relations with others.
Matthew Jackson: at senior level, cross-sector skills are the most valuable
Candidates must demonstrate an awareness of the issues facing charities, but also have the expertise to drive the organisation forward.
Rachel Whale: there are a handful of essential, key skills
I think there are some classic competencies all organisations would look for regardless of sector – team work, good communication, problem solving and self awareness.
Helen Giles: charities want you to demonstrate your skills – not your CV writing
Most charities will expect you to do more than submit a CV – you need to demonstrate either on an application form or in a structured covering letter how your previous experience and achievements match each of the criteria the job advert specifies.
2. Graduate schemes are a great introduction to the sector
Carla Miller: large charities often have graduate schemes
Graduate schemes can be a fantastic introduction to the sector. It is worth thinking about what charities you would like to work for and keeping an eye out on their jobs pages. You’ll be able to see what sort of roles are out there and what skills and experience are required.
Helen Giles: graduate schemes are a great starting point
Schemes like Charityworks are great if you can get a place – and many larger organisations including housing associations run graduate training programmes.
3. Small organisations vs. large organisations
Helen Giles: there are pros and cons for each
In a small charity employees tend to cover a multitude of different roles and tasks as there are no specialists. In larger charities there is far more segregation of roles so you would need to know which area you want to get into – for example, service delivery, fundraising, finance or development. If you know what area you want to go into – you will need to show this on your application and demonstrate your potential in this area.
Rachel Whale: think about transferable skills between the two
Working for a smaller charity provides you with the chance to develop a broader range of skills – my advice would be to think about your transferable skills and experience for a move into a larger organisation.
4. There are opportunities outside of the Big Smoke
Matthew Jackson: when it comes to the right candidate, location is irrelevant
All charities are aware of the importance of getting the right people on board and location will become less of an issue.
Alice Fuller: local charities have a lot to offer
Look for local charities or find a charity where you can work remotely – there are a few out there.
Matthew Jackson: micro-volunteering is an increasingly valuable asset
If remote working and micro-volunteering is going to be a way in which a candidate is looking to develop career links within the sector then I would strongly suggest targeting one organisation you would like to work with.
5. Immerse yourself in the charity sector
Alison Naftalin: contact charities directly
However, make sure you have done your research about the cause – we often get emails saying how much someone would like to work for us and I can see they’ve copied and pasted standard text or even mentioned campaigns that were not ours. Be specific and cater your applications to each organisation.