Advice on International Development Jobs

Since many of you are looking to work in international development, here’s a few tips on how best to land opportunities in that section of the international relations field:

  • Don’t always start at the headquarters level; consider starting in the field where you get better exposure to the issues, close contact with the mission, and a more satisfying experience.
  • Learn skills such as project management, grant writing, budgeting, intercultural skills, supervisory skills, communications.
  • Be tenacious; keep applying for positions.  There is lots of turnover in this field and positions are bound to open up;
  • Consider relocating to the field and then look for job.  The hiring costs are decreased to recruit those who are local and it is easier to make connections once you are there;
  • To get into a large organization you will need to spend a lot of time 1) researching the organization; 2) identifying offices that relate to your experience and interests; 3) read reports that the office produces to become familiar with their work and challenges; 4) identify people within the office whom you can contact via email/phone; 5) set up a lunch meeting to meet them face-to-face; 5) hope that you are lucky and someone will be able to identify how your skills can meet the needs of their office;
  • Work on your language proficiency; French and Portuguese are highly desired in development field in Africa.