How Skills Gained at Uni Can Help You Land a Charity Job
There are over 168,000 registered charities and 180,000 charity employees in England and Wales. And that number is growing, with approximately 1,000 to 1,500 new charities popping up each year since 2009. With such a diverse range of causes and organisations to work for, it’s no wonder that so many people at all stages of their career are interested in becoming part of this growing sector.
Working in the Charity Sector is an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding career path for any graduate—you get to be part of a change that impacts society and the wider world around you. And university sets you on the right path to be the perfect charity candidate; you’re building all the necessary transferable skills that can easily be used for your new career.
We’ve put together five of the best skills developed at uni that you can use in the charity sector. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Communication Skills: Oral and Written
Like any job, working in the charity sector means you’ll need good communication skills. Whether you spend your day speaking with beneficiaries, running events or presenting to an audience, this is a key skill which you are bound to use daily. It is all about how you can spread and portray your charity’s mission.
So how do you develop this at university? Even in your first year when you met your classmates, you proved to yourself that you could introduce yourself to new people, a fundamental skill in any workplace. Networking is a great way to build your confidence and know-how. Completing presentations and writing essays during university also boosts these skills.
You can prove the quality of your communication skills during the initial application stage when you’re putting together your CV. Consider how you present yourself at the interview stage—would you hire yourself if you were in the recruiter’s shoes? Like any sector, the charity sector is an extremely competitive market. If you don’t pass the first steps, then charities will look for a better candidate.
Although being able to work independently is a great skill to have, the charity sector has a huge emphasis on working as a team. Charities will look for individuals who are willing to adapt to new situations and work with new people.
University is the perfect place to develop this skill. Sports teams, societies and university group work teach us all a lot about how to work together. These environments enable you to learn valuable skills about delegating tasks, brainstorming, thinking critically and adapting to accommodate different viewpoints.
Working in a team with people you don’t know is a great way to test your skills and proves that you will be able to do the same in a working environment.
Let’s be honest, university isn’t always the most motivating place, especially during exam season. You may find yourself googling ways to stay motivated when deadlines are quickly approaching. But if you got through university and gained that degree, then you must have the determination and self-motivation to accomplish what you set out to do.
Show this dedication and enthusiasm in the charity sector. You’ll need to demonstrate that you are passionate about the charity, this is a key attribute as all charities have a passion for what they are working towards. Whether this is through previous voluntary work or joining a society, a university is a great place to find what motivates you.
Have you set up a society or tried helping at one of the university open days? If so, then you are already on a good track. Some students at university have had no work experience, however, joining a society makes you far more employable. You can gain skills that employers love as it shows you have gone out of your way to participate in something that interests you. Many societies also give individuals huge responsibility such as Chairman or Treasurer, even a smaller role such as a social-sec is an achievement.
4. Organisation and time management
Organisation comes alongside self-motivation. If you’ve made it through university, then you have been juggling work, family, study and your social life for the past three years. This alone shows that you are a pro organiser.
When you start any full-time role, you’ll find yourself in time-pressured environments. You may have multiple deadlines at the same time, so you need to plan your time well, but also understand you need to be flexible if sudden projects need dealing with. Flexibility is also great as it will enable you to successfully move from working in an office with budgets to being hands-on at a charity event.
Whether it was working out how you are going to fit in laundry and a gym session after a long night of studying, or even just working with deadlines, you’re bound to have had many issues to resolve at university.
Problem-solving is another key skill to transfer from university, as employers often look for this area of expertise in job applications. It shows that you can take initiative as you think outside of the box to get the task done, even if there are many obstacles in your way. When working in the charity sector you may face many challenges such as budgeting, so being able to come up with new ideas is a great asset. Knowing when to ask for help is also a great skill to develop, there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’.
So why don’t you make use of the skills you’ve gained during your university years and make a difference by joining the charity sector now. Whether it is as a full-time graduate job or just volunteering when you can, your skills will still be put to good use.
Find out what graduate or entry-level positions are available in the charity sector today.