Working in PR has been really exciting–getting guest-listed for the best parties, working late and playing hard was the mantra. Knowing what was trending and being able to communicate with so many different people were skills I had cultivated. The problem is I didn’t seem to care whether my client’s brands sold or not. I started gazing out the window, taking too much time making coffees and day dreaming about doing a job that created value.
Friends told me to get a job in charity, but I felt under qualified and didn’t want to start again at 30. Charity for me had been a few monthly subscriptions and fundraising for friends’ marathons. After scouring the charity job ads, it turned out most of my skills were transferable. Who knew! I started to research the next steps to find a meaningful position. Here are a few helpful tips I learnt along the way that might help you make the transition into a career you love:
- Volunteer – gain experience and do some good in the process.
- Reconfigure your CV with relevant examples.
- Do your research – charities care about your passion for their cause, in some circumstances this can trump experience. The charity sector offers a myriad of choices and detecting the one that is best for you is key to your success.
- The importance of soft skills in the charity sector can’t be emphasised enough. Soft skills include: communication skills, your ability to work under pressure, leadership skills, time management – basically all of the attributes which help you navigate the world of work, and real life, well!
- Infuse your words with energy when writing applications.
- Think about whether you know anyone working in the charity sector, and network!
So now I’m a little older, freelancing in the charity sector, and loving the change. Doing something you’re passionate about will show in your commitment and passion for the work. Of course, working for a charity is not the only way to make a difference – there are many ways to help in society – but keep your options open and don’t get stuck in a job you hate. There are many pathways to a more meaningful life.