How to find your ideal charity digital role
Whether you are looking for your first digital role in the charity sector, or a new career challenge for 2019, we list some of the best online and offline routes to finding the best charity digital jobs.
Whether you’re looking for your first charity digital job or are planning a move or return to the sector after a stint away, it can be hard to know where to start looking for your next charity sector digital role.
There are over 160,000 charities in the UK and digital or tech now encompasses a vast range of job roles within them, from marketing and communications to online editing and development, data and infrastructure management and IT project management.
This doesn’t even begin to touch on the thousands of roles that may not be strictly ‘digital’ roles but that savvy charity recruiters know require a high degree of core digital skills and experience.
So how do you separate the golden opportunities from the dross, and identify and grab the attention of the charity sector employers that are really going to invest in your digital skills? We’ve listed some of the best online and offline routes to finding charity digital jobs.
Charity Digital Jobs
General jobs platforms or even charity jobs platforms are great if you have the time and patience to search them. But it’s like casting a very wide net – you will have to trawl through many non-relevant postings to find the good ones.
An Indeed.com search for ‘charity IT’ jobs returns 2,142 results in London alone, a huge number of them irrelevant. If you’re trying to streamline your job search, be aware that more focused job sites with your specific industry and job type in mind may be your best bet.
Charity Digital Jobs is a new platform by Charity Digital and charity recruitment specialists Prospectus that is continually updated with hand-picked charity sector digital roles, or roles with an emphasis on digital skills, by charities who are serious about developing digital talent. Because it’s one of the few that only covers this specific niche it allows you to be more targeted in your search.
They say that career progression is all about who you know, and LinkedIn can be a great way of building connections. Did you know there are more than 30,000 UK charity jobs listed on LinkedIn?
In March last year LinkedIn introduced ‘Ask for a Referral’– a tool through which users can ask their connections to nominate them for a specific job role, with suggestions on how to craft your message and put your best foot forward.
As well as setting up job alerts, it’s worth spending some time expanding your LinkedIn network because you never know who might be a potential employer, and even if you don’t find a job directly through the platform you will have learnt a lot about the industry in which you want to work and build a clearer picture of who’s who.
Stay active, follow organisations you like and join charity-related groups. Research people in particular job roles by using advanced search, check out their networks and look at previous organisations they’ve worked for and the ‘people also viewed’ section for potential connections.
Other platforms such as Twitter may not be an obvious choice for your job search but following charities and recruitment agencies can help you stay tuned in to the sector as a whole.
Meetup.com is a great free site and accompanying app for finding local events for almost any interest you could think of. Popular groups for meetups in the charity tech community include the Tech for Good and NetSquared groups, which have thousands of members and events UK – search for their latest meetups in your area.
More formal conferences and events are also a great opportunity to make new connections, such as Charity Digital’s first Charity Tech Conference happening in London next month.
There is a lot of learning packed into the day for the relatively low ticket price, with informative talks and workshops from speakers including the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre), Facebook and some big name charities. But as a job seeker the real value will be the chance to network with delegates, speakers and exhibitors from across the charity digital community.
Attending conferences and events may not bag you a job on the spot but they can be a great way of becoming known to the right people, finding out who would be good to know and making as lasting impression.
If you have business cards, take them. Practice how you will introduce yourself in one sentence, and research some of the exhibitors and speakers you’d like to try and speak with beforehand. This article from The Muse offers some more tips on getting the most out of a conference.
A word on internships and graduate schemes – for graduates or career-changers, these are becoming an increasingly common option in many industries and can be a good route into the charity sector for digital talent.
Many of the larger charities now offer structured internship programmes including Macmillan, The Children’s Society, Great Ormand Street Hospital and Cancer Research UK (CRUK).
In March last year, CRUK was the first to announce it is abolishing unpaid internship schemes, levelling the playing field for people from all economic backgrounds to kick-start their careers in the charity. Keep your eye out- it’s likely that many of the larger charities will begin to follow suit in the next few years.
CRUK’s paid summer internship scheme lasts for twelve weeks and includes roles within departments including technology and communications. Interns are paid the National Living Wage plus a London living allowance for those living in London. Competition is hot for limited number of places.
Organisations such as Charity Works also offer paid internship programmes working in a large number of national charities and non-profit organisations.