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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

The chance to make a difference in the world. To have a job that is meaningful. These are often the main reasons behind why many of us want to go into the third sector. Yet as students it often seems like these honest attributes are not enough. The prospect of reaching our dream job within the charity sector is often dashed by a quick google search. Competition for labour is fierce, while 80% of charities within the UK are small organisations with an annual income of less than £100,000. This often leaves potential candidates pretty lost on how we can break into this small space. 

Finding the Right role for you

The nature of the third sector means that it is vast. Most importantly you need to find what you want to achieve within your role. Charities are similar to businesses. They need people with skills in fundraising, public relations, marketing, finance, and even legal roles. It is important to note though that smaller organisations will more than likely need individuals with multiple skills. This can offer a really varied role so if you are someone who likes a diverse workload these roles could be ideal for you. It is also important to find what causes are close to your heart. If you have passion in your work, you are more likely to succeed in interviews and within your work. 

What are employers looking for?

This is often the key question asked in career lectures, and the main search in google when students are looking for employment. Often the lists of transferrable skills on adverts seems quite opaque. Often leading us to be more lost than ever. Ola Fajobi global head of human resources at Christian Aid, stated that, “You need to stand out from the crowd. Finding time to volunteer with a charity or community-based organisation.” There are so many charities and social organisations to get involved in within Bristol. One only needs to look at the Bristol SU webpage, which has 65 opportunities to get involved in volunteering within Bristol. There are also many student led organisations such as the Julian Trust Nightshelter volunteering or Nightline confidential listening services. 

Within Bristol University there are also many fundraising projects to get involved with. The RAG Network helps raise tens of thousands each year for great causes. Why not become a rep, or even a committee member? Most societies within the university also have a fundraising officer which will give you invaluable experience, such as grant-writing and setting up fundraising projects. 

There are also lots of ways to get involved in external charities. The Young Trustee movement is aiming to aspire young trustees. With less than 3% of charity trustees under 30, many organisations are looking for young talent to sit on boards. Why not apply? This will certainly gain you great connections within the charity sector and give you invaluable experience. 

What employment is available?

Often you have tons of experience you have gained at University; you have worked hard on your course. However, only entry level jobs are available to apply for. Within times of Corona and reduced funding from the EU, it appears that there are fewer roles available than ever. However, there are some great opportunities available for graduates. 

Charityworks is the UK not for profit sector’s talent programme. They help recruit and develop leaders for social innovation programmes. This sees you placed within a charity to develop your skills. While you will also produce your own research, which will only allow you to learn more about the sector. 

There are also internships available to graduates. However, these often change year on year. CharityJob website is often the best website to look at to find entry level jobs and internships. 

What is most important when applying to the charity sector is not to give up too easily. After attending the Careers Service lecture on the sector what most struck me was that many of the panel certainly did not find their dream job straight away. It took them time to find their role often having to switch multiple times to find what suited them. However, it was the connections they made within the sector and the belief that you are helping to make a difference in the world that nonetheless has made it the most rewarding sector and work to be involved in. 

Studying history. Can normally be found rowing, reading or watching a good film.
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