Shifting Into the Charity Sector Without Experience

Shifting Into the Charity Sector Without Experience

Here are some ways that can you maximize what you have to land the job of your dreams. And even better, it doesn’t mean you need to start racing around trying to take every course in sight…

So, you need the experience to get the job. But you also need someone to offer you a job to get the experience.

This has been and still is, a huge issue for job seekers everywhere. How do you land a job without having the relevant experience? Especially in an area that’s as niche as the charity sector.

It’s clear that in this competitive job market, making a career shift can be challenging.

But, it’s still possible.

Here are some ways that can you maximize what you have to land the job of your dreams. And even better, it doesn’t mean you need to start racing around trying to take every course in sight, it just takes a change in perspective.

Lead With Your Story

When I’m faced with the task of updating my CV, a few things spring to mind:

  • Why is it so hard to explain what I do on paper?!
  • How much of this will they read?
  • Ah… that’s definitely more than two pages

It’s not the most thrilling experience, but that’s often because CVs tend to be considered as a long list of what you’ve done, where you’ve been and the impact that you have had at previous organisations. When you’re trying to shift into a brand new field without the relevant experience, starting the conversation with a typical CV is not the best way to go (after all, that just highlights what you’re missing).

It’s time to change the rules of this game.

So, start with the one thing that differentiates you from other candidates: your story. By giving recruiters an insight into who you are, they can assess whether you’d be a great fit for their organisation.

Storytelling is incredibly powerful and encourages people to connect with you. You’re passionate, enthusiastic and completely prepared to dedicate your time to the charity sector. The fact that this is new to you also shows that you’re not scared to go into unfamiliar territory. And all of these are desirable characteristics that recruiters appreciate.

Not sure where to start with your story? Take these questions into consideration:

  • What has driven you to pursue a new career?
  • What do you have to offer?
  • How has your experience prepared you for this change?

Give yourself the edge by doing what many candidates won’t do and stand out for all of the right reasons.

Think Like a Duck

“If it acts like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.”

Now, if you apply this to recruitment, then it simply means that employers trying to figure out whether you’re the one. They want to see whether you can keep your head well above water and keep up.

And this can definitely be used to your advantage. Being a duck means much more than just ticking off a list of relevant experience and job titles. They’re looking for someone that has transferable skills, who can take ownership of their work, lead and produce results. So, make the most of your past experience by emphasising major decisions you’ve made, projects you’ve lead and the results.

You can also gain a bit of additional experience in the meantime by volunteering for an organisation. This can also be a great chance to get your foot in the back door as it is possible for volunteering to turn into a full-time role.

Build a Network

Networking is one of the most powerful skills that you can pick up throughout your career. By connecting with other people in any given field, you can learn about ongoing trends, potential challenges and more importantly, steer away from making serious mistakes. This also gives you an opportunity to join serious discussions and speak to people who are more influential.

Besides all of the career advice that you can get from other people who are already in the charity sector, networking also opens up the door to future offers and collaborations. After all, you are planting the seed now, so that people think of you when there is an opportunity available.

So remember that career shifting is a challenge, not a road-block. Persistence and self-confidence go a very long way, especially when you’re breaking into the charity sector. So, when you put these tips to the test remember to believe in your ability and all that you have to offer.

If you would like help with your CV, or to see what it is saying about you, the CV Review offered by CV Knowhow is a great tool, follow this link to submit.

Marketing Manager at CharityJob. A true bookworm and social media geek, you’ll find me living in pockets of online communities.