Charityworks - guide for application (former grad & marker)

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ellie997
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Guide for the Charityworks graduate scheme

I have completed the scheme in the past, and also marked applications. I am not going to give any answer or share my application (don’t even ask). However I will give some collated feedback for applications. I wrote this as I was marking the applications, then edited it a bit before posting.

I could answer some questions about the scheme too, if anyone has them.

One thing I also want to add because it might be of interest is what happens after you have completed the placement - or: why should I bother with the scheme? The main thing is that you have now experience. This matters more for those that had no work experience, but it is still a relevant job in a relevant industry (hopefully to both), so it can only benefit you. My contract was extended after, and I would have gone eventually into a permanent position had I not decided to change job. I know several that also had their contract extended, but the majority did not. The main reason seems to be that the charities use the scheme to fill positions that are only entry level and do not have the funding to upgrade them to keep the employee, so they end up changing to a new graduate every year. That being said, if you end up placed with a large organization you like, you will be able to apply to internal vacancies. Don’t hope too much that it will be anything more than a 12 month placement, although you might get lucky.

I don’t know how the remote situation is managed as I was pre-covid.



Okay, here we go (no particular order).



Do NOT

-do not use "etc" in the middle of a sentence (or at all)

- make an infinite list of waffle with no substance. 150 words repeating in different ways that you care about helping people won’t impress anyone. DO: use examples, be specific.

- reference things without details (e.g "my university degree".. degree in what? "my year abroad...” doing what??). DO NOT assume someone has read your other answers. If the marking process is the same across the years, the markers WILL NOT read all of your answers, and will not read them in order. They will be just shown many answers to the same question, without knowing who it belongs to. So, DO: repeat yourself across answers, IF relevant.

- waste words clarifying that it is YOUR opinion. You are writing it, of course it is your opinion.

- waste your time. If you write two sentences, don’t even bother. You won’t pass. There are at least a few hundreds candidates that will write at least three (!!!) sentences.

- word vomit. Sometimes there is too much, too soon. Do not vomit every thought in the first 2 sentences. The first part should be packed with info, but please make it make sense. If you cannot, less is more. One less impressive example is better than a list of amazing achievements listed in a order that does not quite make sense.

- unless it's super relevant and a natural continuation - don't say you want to do another job as the one you are applying to. Do not say you want to definitely work for the public sector (you could say your interest lie in the third sector OR the public sector). Don’t say that you have no idea at all of what to do, so you are applying to every scheme you find (you can say you are unsure of exactly what you want to do, but want to stay within the sector; pretty much everyone is saying it). I should not have to spell it out for you: the program aims to create leaders in the sector. They don’t want someone who becomes a manager for an investment bank to boast about. I can promise you, the applications police won't arrest you if you lie a little bit about your hopes and dreams in a job application.

- START with "in short/brief/etc" - use these only at the end to summarize what you have said. Do NOT start with these, you are not writing a TLDR at beginning of your social media post.

- do not start with "and". It may be okay on twitter, it is not okay in an application. If a teacher normalized “and” at the beginning of a sentence, I’m sorry for your education. “And” can work sometimes, but as a rule of thumb, if you are using it in every answer, you have a problem.

- don't attribute sayings to yourself, it's cringy. try to not use sayings at all if you can avoid it, if you can’t, cite them correctly (I live by the idea that.. instead of "I always say…”)

- Not exactly a DO NOT, but - being grossly overqualified. I would try to explain you do understand you are overqualified and why the step down is okay for you (I mean, people who have 5+ years of experience, even in management roles, now wanting to work for £23k gross?). It seems like you have read "leadership" but missed all the bits about "kickstarting your career". Show you understand what you are applying for.



DO:

- Use paragraphs. It will help the person reading and it will also help you to structure your answer. Each answer has to have a clear “narrative” or structure. Follow the STAR model. In general it would be: VERY short intro, followed by some descriptive details, followed by your explanation/reasoning (biggest section), and at the end a one/two line conclusion.

- If they give a word count, use all of it! Try to use as much as you can at the very least. If you think you managed to address every point in 100 words when you had 250, think again.

- Each **sentence** should contain one point, two at most. Things in your head make sense, but they won't to others. If you cannot have someone read it, try to read it out loud and have a cooling period after you wrote everything and the time you edit (even a couple of hours is better than nothing).

- parrot things that are written in the FAQs or other information provided. Literally use the same words (ok, not every single word, change it a bit, but ONLY a bit). Make it clear you have read the info they give you, using the same language signals you have read it and paid attention (e.g. is they use "stakeholder", use the same word. If they same "customer", use that instead, etc..)

- "yes, and..." try to expand on the answer. Again, if the word count is 200, and you think you have managed to answer in 50, LOL. Try to guess what they want to know. They are VERY keen on values (every company in the sector is, fyi), so try to put them in and have those values to guide you when you write the answers. Knowing what skills, behaviours, values you have to show is helpful. Try to always bring it back to why you are the right person for the program and why you should be on the program

- have a balance between what YOU can gain from the program, and what THEY can get from you. They want to see your passion for charities and the program, but also want to know that you will offer something valuable to the program (it doesn’t need to be anything special. Commitment, a different point of view, dedication, etc.. just SPELL IT OUT like the person reviewing is a dumb child.)

- find what value the question is investigating, what section of the program is referencing. For an application based on questions, the Qs are there to guide you and shine a light on specific aspects of it. If a program emphasizes learning, and they ask you a question about learning.. uhmmm, maybe they want you to relate it to that aspect of the program. Connect questions to values to aspects of the program whenever possible.

- SKILLS OVER KNOWLEDGE. Theory is a side note, skills and abilities are what matters. You won't know how to do your job, but you have to be able to learn to do it.

PS!!!!!
sometimes there is indeed a wow factor, but it is not what you are marked on. There are people describing learning a language, knitting, a sport, and there are people other there saving the world. It is about how you present those experiences and how you address the question. Don't try to include your great year abroad saving babies in Sudan if you cannot coherently explain what you have learnt (maybe also because you were not actually doing a lot, and you are just embellishing how you paid an exorbitant amount of money to do something someone would have been paid for if you had not decided you JUST had to experience other exotic and magical cultures *yes, I don't like that type of volunteering, sue me). It's better to just describe how you learnt to do one pull up or knitted a scarf, if you can draw something useful from it.
Last edited by ellie997; 1 year ago
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ellie997
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Idk if this is allowed, I guess we will find out. I don't think I gave some details that anyone with some common sense could have put together.

One thing I must add: not everyone searches for guidance, most won't. If you are reading this preparing for the 2022 intake (provided we are not all dead for another virus mutation) - good job! I hope it is helpful. I am not sure if I will get notifications by email, I don't really check TSR often, or at all, but ask questions if you have any.
Last edited by ellie997; 1 year ago
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lozzbozz
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(Original post by ellie997)
Idk if this is allowed, I guess we will find out. I don't think I gave some details that anyone with some common sense could have put together.

One thing I must add: not everyone searches for guidance, most won't. If you are reading this preparing for the 2022 intake (provided we are not all dead for another virus mutation) - good job! I hope it is helpful. I am not sure if I will get notifications by email, I don't really check TSR often, or at all, but ask questions if you have any.
Hi, hopefully this reaches you. Having gotten through the first round of the 2022 process I was wondering how much to prepare for the next stages. We've been told of a written exercise and and group exercise as well as a video briefing about a week before them. Would doing some kind of preparation be beneficial here or will we have no idea until the video briefing? Any information you can give would be fantastic
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