Guest blog from Natalie Hannan of The Wellcome Trust:

The charity and not-for-profit sector is very diverse and so it is very difficult to summarise in the same way you might summarise other sectors such as law, accounting or consulting.    The sector includes small community groups, housing associations, social enterprises, environmental groups, universities, colleges, schools, places of worship, trade unions, NGOs and sports clubs. Given the diversity of the industry, a range of roles are available and a great deal of job satisfaction is on offer.

It can be hard to work where to start when making an application so I thought it might be helpful to set out what I look for when reviewing applications.

1.Passion for our mission. All charities have a mission and it is important that candidates demonstrate a passion for and a commitment to contributing to this.

2. An understanding of what the scheme is offering. Schemes will differ – some will be fixed in one area of the organisation while others will be rotational and offer the chance to explore a range of careers.  Ours is the latter and we expect to see enthusiasm for this flexibility and variety demonstrated in the application form.

3. Evidence of the skills and values that are important to us. A wealth of information about the organisation’s values and the competencies that count for their graduate roles will be available on the website.  We have a section called ‘what we look for’ and we expect the skills listed to be the basis for the answers on the application form particularly when we ask about relevant skills, experience and interests.

4. Ideas and creativity. Many charities and not-for-profit organisations rely on graduates bringing a fresh perspective and to challenge the way things are done.  The final question on our application form invites candidates to talk about something they are passionate about and to make the connection to our work.  It is a real opportunity for candidates to show their individuality so we appreciate candidates who are bold and talk about something others won’t.


LSE Careers is running a breakfast networking event about careers in the charity and not-for-profit sector on 3rd November. You can book your place to attend on CareerHub.