Forging a career in the third sector can be extremely rewarding, but it’s often a difficult sector to break into as competition for jobs can be fierce. Whether you’re a recent graduate or you’re thinking of switching to a new sector, we’ve put together some advice to help you land your dream third sector job.
Do your research
Before you start applying for jobs, it’s a good idea to do some research into what job opportunities are out there. Decide on what type of organisation you’d like to work for –it could be a small charity, large NGO or a local authority for example. Then, figure out what type of role you’re interested in. Would you like a fundraising, campaigning or marketing job? What are your strongest skills and how can you apply these to the third sector?
Volunteering is key
Do not underestimate the power of volunteering when it comes to landing a charity job – having a decent track record of volunteering is essential for getting your first job in the third sector. Volunteering provides you with invaluable industry experience and shows potential employers that you’re an active member of the community, and that you’re willing to sacrifice your own time to help others. If there’s a particular cause you’re committed to, such as animal welfare, find some animal welfare charities and ask if you can volunteer for them or shadow an employee for a few weeks. This will allow you to gain a unique insight into this sector and do some networking while you’re at it.
Create a charity-focused CV
Your CV is usually the first impression a recruiter or hiring manager will have of you, so it’s important to get it right. Ensure that you have a well-crafted, industry focused CV. If you’re struggling with putting your CV together, read our blog on How to Write a CV That Will Get You a Job Interview. On top of all of the usual aspects of having a great CV, a third sector CV should include a detailed volunteer experience section.
Likewise, it’s important to make sure your cover letter Is succinct, well-written and industry focused. Focus on outlining your career to date and explain why you’re right for the role. Show that you’re committed and passionate about your cause by explaining how your skills and experience would benefit your chosen employer and their cause.
Clean up your social media
It’s safe to say that the majority of hiring managers and recruiters will look you up online after receiving your CV. To ensure that your social media presence is in line with the impression you want to create, search yourself in incognito mode and see what comes up. Following this, you can either tidy up your accounts or restrict public access to your profiles.
Make sure your LinkedIn account is up to date and doesn’t conflict with any information on your CV. Following this, you should connect with people in your chosen sector and use LinkedIn to stay up to date with current charity campaigns and initiatives to improve your industry knowledge.
Don't beat yourself up if you don't land your dream third sector job immediately. Assess your skills and experience and consider applying for other third sector roles (outside of your chosen job or department), this will allow you to get your foot in the door and work your way up to your chosen job. Plus, multi-skilled candidates are highly sought after in the third sector, as they are dynamic and can adapt to working in a variety of roles within their organisation. Show that you’re passionate to hiring managers by having a provable interest and understanding of your chosen cause by volunteering and being able to share current knowledge of the real issues faced by the charity sector. This just might be the difference between you getting a charity job over another applicant.
Are you still searching for your next role? Let us lend you a hand. You can browse all of our latest vacancies using the handy button below!