5 Things To Consider When Pursuing A Career In The Third Sector By Michelle Vickers

We spend so much of our lives at work, so doing a job where you can use your time to make a real difference is something that the CEO of the Head and Neck Cancer Foundation, Michelle Vickers finds extremely fulfilling and has learnt a lot of valuable information along the way. Here are 5 incredibly important things to consider when pursuing a career in the third sector.


Applying for a role within a charity is unlike any other sector. First of all, you need to consider what you have to offer that suits the charity’s needs. You have to be specific and customise your application to each role. Make it evident that you are flexible and willing to take on other tasks if required. Also, be sure to look for how a candidate might add value to the team so give examples.


It is important to accept that getting your dream job in the third sector will not be as easy as you think. It is an extremely competitive industry. What will set you aside, however, is the ability to persevere and learn from every interview. A top interview tip is, to be open. Talk honestly about your previous experience which might be comparable to what the organisation is looking for. Passion, perseverance and a can-do attitude go a long way, especially in smaller charities where the budgets are tight. You will be expected to muck in and help in a variety of tasks. 


It is often easy to get caught up pursuing your dream career in the charity sector but you need to stop and think about whether the organisation is the right one for you. Lots of people say they want to work for a charity but wanting is not enough. You must have a cause that means something to you. I cannot emphasise this enough – do your research. This will enable you to love the work you do and to reach your full potential. 


Volunteering is a great way to gain insight into a charity and is urged that anyone who is considering pursuing it as a career to volunteer in the first instance. Giving your time will expose you to new experiences that you otherwise might not have. It will also demonstrate your loyalty and enthusiasm for charity work, which is invaluable. Most prefer to employ someone who has hands-on experience rather than theoretical knowledge. Volunteering is not always what people might think – there are a plethora of roles out there. Many organisations are looking for people with specific skills such as IT, event planning, fundraising and marketing. 


You need to consider if you are a solution lead person. You need to be able to pivot. The third sector is not an easy industry to work in. Funding streams can dry up and making change happen can be an uphill battle. You must be able to deliver results and believe in the mission, even when times are tough. “Be confident, be fearless and never undersell yourself.”

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