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July 18, 2016

7 simple tips to move career into the charity sector

Moving into the charity sector can be difficult with no sector experience - but it is not impossible! We've crowd sourced some top tips to help you make that move.

For some people the move into the charity sector is a conscious choice determined by a moral imperative to want to be involved in something where the end goal is inherently for the "greater good". But whatever your motivation, moving from a role in a public or private organisation can be difficult as charities are notoriously hard to move into without a not for profit background - but it is by no means impossible.

So we have spoken to people across the spectrum from current charity CEOs (who were previously private sector employees) to our consultants and crowd sourced some key tips on how to make the switch.

  1. Volunteer - The sector is underpinned by volunteers of all types. Build a track record in the charity sector as a skilled volunteer or trustee. This will give recruiters confidence that you are committed to switching sector and have a first hand understanding of some of the differences between the private sector and the charity sector.

  2. Get to know the sector - do some research: If you have a particular cause you want to be involved in, it pays to do some research so you are able to articulate the issues facing that cause to hiring managers and recruiters.

  3. Find out what your transferable skills are - as we said above, research is important. But be sure to do wider research into the charity sector and how it works. There are lots of free events that can help you in this pursuit and it is a good idea to connect yourself with the conversations in the sector through social spaces, LinkedIn groups and Twitter for example.

  4. Identify third sector recruitment specialists - Make sure to develop relationships with them. Develop relationships with a few contacts if possible to help you cast your net that much wider.

    Make sure to use these contacts to get advice on how to restructure your CV so that the key elements that will attract hiring managers in the sector are highlighted.

  5. Meet with people from around the sector - who knows where this may lead. As in every industry meeting people is very important. Being able to meet people can help you articulate things in a way that an email conversation just can't.

  6. When applying: As well as demonstrating charity sector experience on your CV, it is a good idea to outline in your cover letter what connection you have had with the charity's area of focus (e.g. in my context, as a carer for a family member). Charities are looking for staff who have a genuine empathy with the people they serve and the challenges they face.

  7. Be persistent. You may get frustrated but unfortunately that's all part of the process especially when moving sector.
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