“I've Got No Experience – Will Anybody Ever Give Me A Chance?”

All Diane wants to do is meaningful work: something that makes a difference. But no matter how passionate she is, or how many jobs she applies for, she can't seem to get past her lack of experience. What can she do?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm a data analyst for a blue-chip multinational.

I worked as an accountant for about eight years, and then moved to my current employer three years ago.

How do you feel about your work?

It's just mindless labour to me now.

Sure, it can be challenging and there are some elements that feel rewarding, but none of it really makes that much of a difference to the world.

I read an article a while ago about how modern industry is built up to be like a machine, and how we're just cogs in the system; that's exactly how I feel about my work. Like anyone could do it, and even if I didn't do it, nobody out in the wider world would care, or even know. None of it really matters.

And I don't want to wake up in 20 years' time and know that nothing I did mattered.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I want to work in the charity sector, and for some reason I've got my heart set on fundraising.

I'd love to work on the campaigns and raise awareness of the major issues of our time. That feels like something where I'd be able to go to sleep each night feeling like what I did that day was worthwhile. That feels like something I'd be proud to tell people I did for a job.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I have no experience at all in the industry I'm interested in.

I've never worked in marketing, let alone fundraising, and I've had very little contact with the charity sector.

And that shows on my CV. I must have applied for 20 jobs in the past couple of months, and none of them have even invited me to interview.

It feels like I've got no chance of getting a job in fundraising without standing on the streets with a bucket. And I know it sounds childish and impatient, but I don't want to start out shaking a bucket until I can work my way up. I'm smarter than that.

I know I could do a great job, if someone would just give me a chance. But why would they, when I'll always be the least-accomplished name on the list?

Can you help Diane?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • What could she do to get her foot in the door of the charity sector?
  • Do you know anyone she could talk to?

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