third sector careers

June 17, 2016, by Mike Walker

Not for Profit: Eat, Sleep, Change World, Repeat [Part One]

By Mike Walker, student blogger

When you switch on the news, you can’t help but be bombarded with huge world issues: injustice, poverty, inequality and massive global phenomena. It can be hard ignore. Do you want to do something, anything, but don’t know where to start?

In this post, I’m going to share some of practical lessons I’ve learned from my experiences working with the Youth Advocacy Program at Open Doors.

Here are three things I’ve learned:

Any skill can be put to good use

Are you worried your degree or skill set won’t be relevant or applicable for work in the charity sector? The truth is, charities are so diverse and are made up of so many different components, it’d be hard to find somewhere you didn’t fit in.

For example, I love writing. In my time with Open Doors, I’ve been able to blog for them, meaning I can put a hobby to good use and add more experience to my CV. I’ve also been able to nurture my public speaking skills as they provided me with a mentor to develop my campaigning skills.

Do you do an engineering degree? Consider looking into international development, where you can put those skills toward designing or building in the third world. Are you a budding lawyer? Consider looking into legal aid for those suffering human rights abuses. Do you study accountancy? Well, every charity needs reliable accountants. Even if you’ve chosen a degree that doesn’t seem to lead to an “obvious” third sector job, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a massive difference with your skill set.

It can take you anywhere

In my time with the organisation, I’ve brewed coffees at festivals, I’ve been along to conferences, and I’ve run events for campaigns. Later this month, I’m off to South America for 11 days to work at a children’s centre. My time with the charity has taken me all over the country, and put me in contact with countless people passionate about making a change.

Many charities run programmes and internships designed to help you hone the skills that are necessary to work in the charity sector. During this process, you’ll gain insights into the inner working of charities, be on the frontline of their campaigning, nurture skills like public speaking and writing, and maybe have the opportunity to travel. Volunteering in the charity sector can truly take you anywhere – like me, you may even get to become a barista for a couple of days.

You can make a living

Charities are diverse organisations – particularly the larger ones. As such, they often recruit many of the same positions you will find in the private or public sectors. Whether you’ve got experience in media, accounting, humanities, science or engineering, there’ll be somewhere for you to fit in.

So when you’re watching those news stories and feel passionate about doing something, don’t be overwhelmed. There’s so much you can do with the unique skill set and personality you’ve been gifted with. Look out for internships, charity programmes, and volunteer opportunities for the causes you are passionate about – who knows where it will take you?

In my next blog post I will be talking to Mark, a friend employed by Open Doors, about how to get into and what it’s like to work in the charity sector. If you’d like me to put any questions to her, please comment below.

Are you interested in working for a charity? You can find out more information on our website. If you have a specific role in mind, book an appointment with one of team who can help you through the application process. 

Posted in Student BloggersVolunteeringWork experience