Interested in NGO Work? How to Get Your Foot in the Door

Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) or charities do great work for a variety of different sectors. You can want to work for the environment, for children, and so on. NGOs are often able to take a different approach than government sectors, which allow them to take on unique, important roles within their communities.

While there are many charities, big and small, the best ones to work for are the large organizations that can adequately compensate their workers. You may be working for an NGO or charity, but you also deserve to support yourself.

This makes the top job options very competitive. It even makes smaller opportunities competitive, as professionals use these smaller charities to get their foot in the door of the sector.

If you are interested in working for a big NGO, and don’t know how to get your foot in the door, use this guide to get started:

Get the Qualifications That You Need

While you don’t need formal qualifications, they can help you do the work that you are most passionate about. While the rest of the tips in this guide can help you get a job, getting the job of your dreams will boil down to your qualifications, which start with your education.

Just because your bachelor’s degree didn’t prepare you for the career path that you now have your heart set on, does not mean it is worthless. Similarly, it doesn’t mean that your education is over. There are many degrees that allow you to apply even without a direct bachelor’s degree. For example, you can earn a top online Masters in Education UK degree with an English BA, or a History BA, or any number of tangentially related degrees. This way you can build on what you have, and still specialize with a master’s degree.

Though you can of course take time off from your existing career, if you are serious about working for a top NGO then you will want to stick with online degrees. Online degrees make it easier to juggle your other commitments, so you can easily follow the rest of the tips in this guide to help you get your start with a top NGO.

Volunteer to Get Started

A great way to show that you are passionate about the field you want to work in is to volunteer. Chances are you will even be able to volunteer for the NGO you eventually want to work for. There are so many reasons to do this, but the primary reason is to grow your network. Volunteer, show your interest in the field, and let them know of your goals. You will be able to get recommendations from those that work for the NGO and can even be notified if there is a role opening up in what you want to do, so that you can apply.

Attend Events, Workshops, and Conferences

There will be a variety of events, workshops, and even conferences that will help you expand your understanding. Many of these may even be advertised or hosted by your university itself. It’s a great idea to get involved in as many as you can, both for your education and also for your network. You never know when an opportunity will come your way, and there are many different ways to help and better the world. Don’t stick all your eggs in one NGO’s basket. Expand, network, and keep your options open. You’ll be surprised at where life can take you when you are open to the possibilities.

Take Advantage of Your Careers Services

If you are going down the education track, then you should have a careers service available to you. Use it. Have them help you polish your CV or resume, have them help you with your interview skills. You can even ask both your careers service and your faculty if they know of any opportunities or mentors that can help you. Your institution isn’t just there for your education, they are there for your career. Use them and find that your university itself is a great resource to help you get your foot in the door of a new career path.

Grow a Following and Become a Thought Leader

Something else that you can do that will help you with getting your foot in the door is to become a thought leader, or influencer. If you become an advocate for education, and grow a following online, then you are a brand that NGOs will be thrilled to work with, because you are more than just your skills, you are also a mouthpiece and potential platform (one that has marketing, content creation, and social media experience, on top of your formal qualifications).

Remember to Use All of Your Strengths and Qualifications

There is only one of you. Having a slightly different background can actually make you the more appealing candidate when it comes to getting a top job. Say you are a marketer, for example. Going in with a marketing background and a new MA in Education can give you a unique perspective that helps your NGO get more backing and more support from the public and private sectors.

Always use the full list of your own qualifications, because it actually makes you a unique candidate. All you need is to be able to explain how your unique background can be a benefit to your next employer. Find ways that your skills can be invaluable to your new employer, and round that out by showcasing your academic qualifications.

Humanities is often not seen as useful as STEM field education, but this can be furthest from the truth. Humanities degrees, by default, teach you many transferable skills that make it easy to work in a variety of settings. You simply need to boil down the skills you have and have learned, both in your education and in the workplace, and explain how those skills will work in your new career.