If you’re looking to gain experience
Recruitment is highly competitive at all levels, with permanent staff often drawn from member countries, frequently with quotas applied for nationals of each member state. Openings are listed on organisation’s own websites so it’s important to check in regularly and read all the information provided as processes are very structured and specific.
Internship opportunities are often available, both through structured programmes and on a more ad hoc basis. These provide good opportunities to gain insight into the sector, build experience, develop skills, and make the professional connections that are critical. They are often unpaid and are not necessarily a route to permanent employment.
The schemes run by the World Bank and the OECD are fairly representative – run twice a year, there are two applications cycles open to graduates enrolled on relevant Master’s programmes. Some schemes, e.g. NATO, are open to students who have not yet completed their undergraduate studies.
Many EU institutions offer internship opportunities for new graduates. Unlike their permanent positions, these are often open to students of all nationalities. The largest number is recruited through the EPSO-run Blue Book Traineeship scheme (also called stages). As with other formal schemes, this is highly competitive, there are strict language requirements and nationality quotas do apply, but a lot of support is offered to LSE applicants, particularly through the Brussels-based LSE alumni community.
If you’re early on in your career
Entry level positions for new graduates are relatively rare and requirements are high, often with minimum expectations of a master’s degree, two years’ relevant professional experience and specific language skills. While some EU opportunities are open to candidates with a bachelor’s degree, the competitive nature of the process means that successful candidates often have considerably more than the minimum requirements.
The OECD’s two-year Young Associate Programme targets recent graduates who do not hold a master’s degree and wish to gain experience in the world of multilateral policymaking, research and analysis before going on to complete a postgraduate degree in a top university.
If you have more experience
Many organisations recruit early career professionals through young professional programmes (YPP’s), typically open to master’s graduates, aged between 27 and 32, with relevant work experience. There are some exceptions, for example the IMF programme targets PhD Economists, but also offers graduates with a bachelor’s degree an opportunity to spend two years as a research assistant before pursuing a career elsewhere.
Annual recruitment to YPP’s is highly structured and demanding. Specific profiles sought can vary each year. Visit the following websites to access details of timings, eligibility, profiles sought and recruitment processes, as well as information on the kind of work, training and development opportunities and answers to FAQ’s. The World Bank, The World Bank Young Analyst Program, The Asia Development Bank, The IMF, UNESCO, WTO, UNICEF New and Emerging Talent Initiative, IMF Research Assistant Program, and OECD.
Recruitment into the European Union institutions is managed by the EU Selection Office (EPSO) who organise annual open competitions for permanent staff, including administrators, linguists and interpreters.
Several institutions also offer Junior Professional Officer or Associate programmes, typically one to three-year non-renewable contracts, not designed as entry points for career in the organisations but offering exposure to their work. Applicants are generally sponsored by donor countries and recruitment is often managed individually by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of each country. For more information visit UNDP, OECD Young Associates, Other UN JPO Programmes, and European External Action Service.
If you’re changing career
Professionals will often join following a ‘first’ career elsewhere, eg, as a civil servant in national government, within the NGO sector, or in academia. There is also an increasing interest in those who bring professional experience and specific skills from the private sector. Critical to success is understanding the relevant skills that you can bring to a new organisation and clearly articulating this through the recruitment process.