GUEST BLOG: The charity sector, a road to an interesting career

Guest blog written by CharityJob

What comes into you head when you think of charity work? Is it volunteer work? High street shops? Do you fear reduced career prospects and a low salary?

Well, it’s time to change your expectations because the charity & not-for-profit sector is a fantastically unique and diverse sector where many dedicated individuals have found long and fulfilling careers. Many jobs are paid and hardly any of them in are in high street charity shops, these are a minor element of a charity’s operation.

So, you’re not going to be wiling a way a quiet afternoon on your local high street (well, unless that’s what you really want!) a charity sector job could be your ticket to making a difference in the world, through a career you really love! The variety of work is wide-ranging and exciting, paid opportunities regularly open up in a number of areas, each of these can be a rewarding alternative to a corporate career.

You could end up working in education jobs, youth jobs, housing jobs, disability jobs, environment jobs, arts jobs and many other exciting areas. That said, volunteer work is available and can be extremely fulfilling, it can also be your way into the sector. However, you need to bear in mind that this is not always the case:  there are many paid career options in the charity sector, which could be your route into a job you truly love.

Charity jobs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, in other words there is no single example! So if you have some image of a “charity worker” you may want to get this out of your head! A charity sector job can be many things, we often find peoples’ conceptions a little dated.

There are an endless number of things you could end up doing, this could include fundraising, campaigning, marketing, advocacy, policy, governance, international development and volunteer management. Alternatively you could end up working in a more familiar career path but within the charity sector. There is significant demand for accountants for example, though admin, business development, finance, HR, IT, legal and management positions are all common career paths.

As the leading job board in the sector, we are acutely aware of the exciting range of opportunities which come to us on a daily basis. Check out a quick look and you will see we have 4000+ jobs a months in all possible jobs types within the charity sector, on the UK’s busiest site for charity, fundraising, NGO and not for profit jobs.

What is it you want to do? Much like any job search, this question should guide your approach.  But you should also consider the demand and types of jobs that are available, for instance there is great demand for fundraisers, but relatively few paid positions in international development.

The type of work available to you is fantastically varied and there is likely to be a job to reflect your nature or interests. The diversity of charity sector organisations may prove surprising, they can range from very specific local organisations to multinational development charities which you’ll recognise immediately. Employment in the sector can be found from local youth charities to medical research associations, these could be jobs with organisations you may not even think of as being charities, such as Teach First, Citizens Advice, St John’s ambulance: but really you could find yourself working anywhere from animal care to homelessness.

A job with one of the big charities could result in you having a very specific role: but if you find yourself working for a smaller charity you might find opportunities to take on more tasks and develop your career more quickly. In the charity sector you’ll come across many dedicated and interesting people who work in it, and will most likely want to find a way to keep in touch and network with sector specific individuals.

If this interests you then go ahead and check out CharityConnect, the professional network for the charity sector here charity professionals gather, as well as people looking to get into the sector and advice is freely exchanged in job-specific groups.

So get ready to drop your assumptions about working in the charity sector, head on over to CharityJob for amazing paid and volunteer positions, and sign up to CharityConnect to join the sector’s largest network.