How to get a job in the 3rd sector

Volunteering is key to breaking into the third sector

Handily for those who’ve already signed up to volunteer, organising and taking part in voluntary events is essential for getting your first charity job. “You need to stand out from the crowd. This means finding time to volunteer with a charity or community-based organisation,” says Ola Fajobi, global head of human resources at Christian Aid.

Likewise, Henrietta Blyth, people director for Tearfund, says volunteering can even outweigh postgraduate qualifications. “Having relevant experience and skills is more valuable than lots of qualifications. Pick a few charities you fancy working for and write to the relevant member of staff to ask them if you can shadow them for a few days. If they say yes, you have an ideal way of building relationships in the sector.”

You don’t need to be in London to work for a charity

While it can sometimes seem like all charity jobs in the UK are based in London, there are plenty of opportunities to be found in the rest of the country. “Although there are less charities outside of London, there are also less candidates, so don’t see this as too much of a barrier,” says Joe Marsh, fundraising consultant for Prospectus.

Though, due to vast size of London, and its direct flight links abroad where charities may have field programmes, there are undoubtedly more opportunities in the capital. “You have to ask yourself whether you would be prepared to move to give yourself more options,” adds Marsh.

When looking for charity jobs, be adaptable

It’s important to be flexible when looking for your first job. You’re unlikely to land your perfect role immediately, and demonstrating flexible skills will help you stand out from the crowd. “There is a lot to be said for candidates who are multi-skilled or have a number of specialities. You can sell yourself as dynamic, adaptable and an asset to any number of departments,” says Glen Manners, charity business manager for TPP recruitment.

Persevere to get your first charity role

The voluntary sector is competitive so part of breaking into an organisation is simply to keep going, says Andrew Hyland, recruitment manager for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Part of what makes candidates successful is showing your passion to recruiters. “The key is to flesh out why you want to work for a charity with examples of why you share an affinity with them. Quote an article, statistic or something from their website – anything to show that you’ve gone above and beyond can help you stand out,” says Manners.

Create your own third-sector job

To land your first charity job or get promoted, one option is to create your own role, says Carla Miller, managing director of Charity People. Look at the gaps that exist within your charity, which are relevant to your skills and offer to fill them. “I have created my own new job that way at a few different charities,” adds Miller. And if you’re looking for promotion, “sit down with your manager and discuss how you need to develop in order to operate at a higher level – then work towards that”.

Make your job applications clear, tailored and concise

How you write your cover letter can make all the difference when applying for jobs in the third sector. “You need to make sure you absolutely address in your letter the main areas that a charity is looking for, and that you do so in a succinct and well-written way,” says Pasca Lane, head of public relations at Scope.

Hyland agrees: “When you apply, ensure your cover letter includes all the skills and personal abilities highlighted in the job description.”

Likewise, it’s important to make sure your CV is concise so it’s easy for recruiters to see your skills. “CVs should be laid out clearly with skills and achievements at the beginning of the document,” says Sandra Smith, senior consultant at Charisma Charity Recruitment. “Voluntary work is important and should be included on CVs as another skillset. This will help prove you have passion and an interest in the charity’s work.”

*this article was published in the Guardian

How to make the most of your summer!

With exams over and essay deadlines in the past, I’m sure you are all entering holiday mode, with beach days, BBQ’s and festivals occupying your time. Along with a much needed rest, the summer is also a great opportunity to take up an internship or volunteer with a charity. Although it may not seem as tempting as lazing on a beach, developing your work experience greatly improves your job prospects. By completing an internship or voluntary work, it will enable you to test out different industries and consider the type of career you would like to pursue after graduation.

If you have an idea about the type of field you would like to work in (i.e. NGO’s, charities , journalism) research organisations both locally and nationally, use business social media sites such as LinkedIn to connect with companies and approach them to see if they are offering any summer internships.

Finding an internship may feel quite daunting, and you may be left wondering where to start. Some useful websites that advertise internships include:

http://www.ratemyplacement.co.uk/search?duration=1&show=jobs (internships offered in various sectors, including governmental and third sector)

http://www.w4mpjobs.org/ (an excellent site for vacancies and internship opportunities in Parliament, Policy / Research, Lobbying, PR and NGOs)

http://ec.europa.eu/stages/index_en.htm (the official website for EU Commission internships)

http://www.goabroad.com/intern-abroad (links to internship and placement opportunities outside of the UK)

Be flexible about the type of work experience you will undertake. You may be determined to pursue a career working in Parliament, but consider undertaking work experience with a local political party. This will give you a great insight into working for an MP, and the nature of work involved. Try researching parties in your area and contacting them directly.

Volunteering is another great way to gain experience over the summer and it is always a valuable addition to a CV. If you would like to work in journalism or the media try contacting your local radio, news or TV station to see if they can offer you some voluntary work. Similarly, if you are interested in working for a charity you will most likely have to devote some of your time to volunteering with a particular organisation first. If you are staying in Kent this summer, visit http://www.charitychoice.co.uk/charities/south-east, an online directory which includes charitable organisations from all across the South East.

You can also use Kent Union’s Toolkit to find opportunities in Canterbury and Medway. If you have are considering or you have taken up voluntary work remember to log your hours using the Toolkit. By logging your hours you could receive a bronze, silver or gold Kent Student Certificate in Volunteering award! And don’t forget if you have secured some unpaid work experience in the UK, you could be entitled to up to £100 from the Careers and Employability Service to help with expenses with the BKEW: University of Kent Work Experience Bursary Scheme. For further information and eligibility visit www.kent.ac.uk/kew

Why volunteer?

As a current student or a recent graduate, I’m sure you have heard all too many times the key to getting a graduate job is ‘experience, experience, experience’. But with the pressures and demands of life, balancing a part time job, exam preparation, essay deadlines and of course a social life, it may seem as though you have no time to fit this in. However, if you can find the time, even if it were just a couple of hours a week, it would help to raise your graduate profile and develop your transferable skills. One way to do this is through volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and skills, helping you to stand out to recruiters in a competitive job market.

So, why volunteer?

1) You can fit volunteering around your schedule, committing to just a few hours out of your day. This is your time you are investing in volunteering, so make sure it not only works for them but for you too.

2) There are many opportunities out there, all you have to do is look! If there is a specific career path you are interested in taking, volunteering is a perfect way to test it out. For example, if you would like to work as a journalist try contacting your local news offices for work experience. You can also browse voluntary vacancies through Kent Union and the Careers Vacancy Database .

You can also volunteer through a society, opportunities include first aid, homeless outreach, fundraising and volunteering with children.

3) It’s a great way to network and gain valuable contacts.

4) It will enhance your CV, contributing to your personal development, whilst giving you the chance to do something you care about.

5) You can get involved in the local community, supporting projects which benefit individuals, the community and environment.

6) You can explore different career paths and work with people from different backgrounds.

Remember …

Check if the opportunity covers out-of-pocket expenses, it shouldn’t cost you to volunteer.

If you have undertaken an unpaid work placement, you may be eligible for a B:KEW bursary.

If you do take on voluntary work, log your hours on the Kent Union’s Toolkit and you may achieve an award through the Kent Student Certificate in Volunteering.

What to do with my degree in Politics and IR?

If you are undecided about where you would like your degree to take you, it may be worth spending some time to really explore your career options. As a non-vocational course, a degree in Politics and International Relations provides a broad range of careers you could go into. This varies from teaching, Public Affairs and Lobbying, Journalism, social and political researcher to working with a non-governmental organisation and many more!

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

A degree in Politics and IR gives you many useful transferable skills including:

  • the ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly;
  • the capacity to critically analyse evidence and construct coherent arguments;
  • excellent written and oratory skills;
  • intellectual independence and autonomy;
  • team working skills;
  • a flexible and open-minded approach to work.

Useful links
To find out more about the different careers your degree could take you into, try the following sites:

If you are unsure about your career path, or you would like advice, the Careers and Employability Service offer careers guidance interviews. Full details or to book an appointment.

Investment Banking – 1st Years Diversity Internship

High Yield is a training programme, sponsored by Deutsche Bank and run by Rare, for brilliant students who are interested in financial services. The programme is open to students from any discipline, who are in their first year (or second year on a four year course) at any university. It is aimed at students who are in receipt of means-tested grants and bursaries, or those who experience other forms of social disadvantage.

Competition for summer internship places is fiercer than ever. The application and interview process is rigorous. Deutsche Bank uses a range of assessments including ability tests, and one-on-one competency based and commercial awareness interviews to help them decide who to hire. These assessments measure ability but inevitably having confidence and social capital gives students an advantage. The programme aims to enable High Yield students to develop their enormous potential.

Participants will attend a series of group sessions and one-to-one sessions which will introduce them to the skills and knowledge required, not just for the application process itself, but also for a successful career in financial services.

Deutsche Bank’s in-house sessions will involve a wide range of Deutsche Bank employees from a variety of divisions, providing students with exceptional networking and learning opportunities. The group sessions will include case study exercises, in-depth business area overviews, interactive learning activities and sessions on application and interview skills. The one-to-one sessions will create a tailored plan for each student and will include discussions about current financial news.

This programme will run for two consecutive days in June in Deutsche Bank’s London offices, as well as two consecutive days in September. Please note that all travel expenses will be paid.

ELIGIBILITY:

In order to be eligible for the High Yield programme, you must be:

  • A first year (or second year on a four year course) undergraduate student, of any subject discipline
  • From a lower socioeconomic group – this might include eligibility for free school meals, means-tested grants and bursaries, or the experience of other forms of social disadvantage.

Politics, Art and Resistance – New Free MOOC Module

POLIR academics offer free online module with platform Future Learn

Dr Iain MacKenzie and Dr Stephan Rossbach from the School of Politics and International Relations are offering a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) on Politics, Art and Resistance via the Future Learn platform.

The four week course starts on April 16, and is FREE. You can register for the course here
The course is open to everyone with an interest in politics, art or resistance. As part of the course, participants will be invited to submit an image of ‘what resistance means to them’, and the images will be collected in order to create a photo mosaic, which will be on display at TATE Modern as part of a TATE Exchange workshop later in the year. The course offers the chance to explore how art movements have inspired political activism by introducing ideas and practices of resistance, and the relationship between art and politics.

You’ll explore:

  • the socially engaged practices of artists, and how art movements have inspired ordinary people
  • art manifestos, and how to develop your own manifesto
  • how creative practices connect with social and political issues

and the topics

  • What is ‘resistance’?
  • The relationship between art and politics
  • Writing to resist: The art of the manifesto
  • Life as a work of art
  • Styles of resistance
  • Resistance and Utopia
This is a new form of online teaching, funded by the University, which allows the School of Politics and International Relations to bring our teaching to a large online audience. Sign up or recommend to a friend!

Find out more about Future Learn here
Join the conversation: use the hashtag #FLresistance to discus the course on social media