|Sources of vacancies|
There are approximately 150,000 charities in the UK employing over half a million people. Areas of work within charities are diverse and include finance, marketing, human rights, fundraising, medicine, engineering, management and administration. The largest charities have specialist and specific job functions similar to commercial and public sector organisations.
AGCAS - the professional body for higher education careers advisory services ,has produced an Industry Insight for Charity and Development Work which provides an overview of what it is like to work in this area
More indepth overviews of careers in this sector can be found on:
|International aid/development worker|
Work experience is crucial if you want to demonstrate you are a good work prospect to potential employers. Competition will be fierce for jobs in the better-known charities so make sure that your CV is focused to the voluntary sector. Employers in this area will expect applicants to have knowledge of, and have demonstrated a commitment to, the charity / voluntary sector. This is usually through unpaid volunteering either part or full-time. This may be a hands-on role with the client group e.g. befriending, it could be fundraising activities or a more administrative role e.g. answering telephone enquiries or producing a website. This will help you develop the necessary skills as well as gaining an insight into how a charity operates. Some charities do feel it should be made clear that volunteering does not necessarily lead to a job in the organisation.
Through meeting people in the charity sector you can get valuable tips and make contacts for future networking. Networking and obtaining voluntary work are important. Your chances of obtaining a paid position are greatly increased if you can demonstrate that you have relevant experience and a genuine interest and a desire to support charities. If you do not have sufficient experience in the career area you wish to pursue, you could consider relevant voluntary work or employment in a related field to build up the background you will need. If you are interested in working for a particular charity, contact them directly. Some of the larger charities have internship programmes available so it is worth checking. For example, take a look at Cancer Research, the British Red Cross, Oxfam, Amnesty International and Barnardo's (do be aware that these are most likely to be unpaid internships) or the paid graduate internship through Charity Works
Try to gain as much experience as possible in the area of work you are interested in for example volunteering at youth and community centres or fundraising for a university club or society. Look at the schemes available through Durham University's Student Community Action.
For making speculative applications you may find it useful to make use of the Charities Digest and the Voluntary Agencies Directory (available within the Information Room). Through these you can find contact details for charities of interest to you.
There are a number of useful websites for finding vacancies within the charity sector. These include the following -
|Third Sector Jobs||
|Working for a Charity||
|Jobs in Charities||
|Durham University Careers Service online vacancies||
Acknowledgement of human rights around the world has led to an increase in the number of organisations working within this area and in the range of job roles available, including:-
- Those requiring a professional qualification and work experience in areas such as: legal; medical; teaching; education; community and social work; journalism; public relations; marketing; advertising; logistics; I.T; engineer; finance; researcher.
- Those requiring relevant skills and/or work experience in areas such as: community organiser; administrative; information specialist.
- 'Advice Officers' who may or may not require professional qualifications depending on their role, but which require work experience. Some gain knowledge of relevant legislation etc through in-house training and working as a volunteer.
Sources of vacancies for human rights work
A selection of websites you could take a look at to look for vacancies in this career area:
|United Nation Commission for Human Rights||
For further information on a career in human rights, take a look at the document below:
- Howtogetajobinhumanrights.pdf (last modified: 17 September 2010)
Charities Direct has an extensive directory of over 10,000 charities where it is possible to search for the top 500 charities according to income, expenditure and funds.
Charities are also classified into different sections according to how they spend their funds. The different areas include:
- business and professional, e.g. Royal Pharmaceutical Society
- civil rights, citizenship and law and order e.g. Citizens Advice
- conservation and protection, e.g. Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds (RSPB)
- culture sport and recreation, e.g. Arts Council
- education, training and research, e.g. Gatsby Charitable Foundation
- health and medical, e.g. Mencap
- housing and community affairs, e.g. Shelter
- international activities, e.g. Disasters Emergency Committee
- philanthropic intermediation, e.g. Comic Relief
- religion, e.g. Salvation Army
|The Charity Commission||
The Charity Commission is the independent regulator for charitable activity.
On the website you will find a useful register of charities, which contains information about every registered charity in England and Wales. You might find this useful if you are looking for a charity to approach for work experience or volunteering.
If you are preparing for an interview, you may also find the latest news section useful to help to keep you up to date with developments in the sector.
|National Council for Voluntary Organisations||
NCVO is a lobbying organisation and represents the views of its members and the wider voluntary sector to the government, the European Union and other bodies. They research and analyse the voluntary sector.
On their website take a look at - the news section, groups and networks, discussions (to learn more about key topics) and the events that you could attend.
The sector has the greatest proportion of employees with degrees and postgraduate qualifications however it is not always necessary to complete a postgraduate qualification to work in the charity/ voluntary sector.
Experience and skills are often valued over formal qualifications but requirements vary so always research well before making decisions about postgraduate study. A postgraduate qualification, especially one containing a work experience element; with links to employers or with modules and a project directly related to the area of work you wish to progress into, may help if you have been unable to obtain any prior experiences.
The career possibilities within charities are vast varying from clinical psychologist to civil engineer so there are huge variations in qualification requirements. For some career areas, such as scientific or qualitative/quantitative research, a postgraduate qualification is the norm.
If you are interested in a business role such as Public Relations, Finance or Marketing then a relevant postgraduate qualification and/or experience in the public or private sector could make securing a position in the charity sector easier.
Another option is to undertake a part-time professional qualification whilst working in the charity sector to help you advance in your career. For example administrators and managers may undertake an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) with a charity sector focus.
Before undertaking a postgraduate course it is worth meeting with a Careers Adviser and discussing if this is necessary or advantageous for your specific career aim within the charity sector.