In my last blog, I wrote about suggestions and resources for breaking into International Development. I write about this topic because, in my daily mails, I often get emails from professionals, and students, asking how to break in or make the transition into the International Development sector. As a follow-up to my last blog article, here are 10 suggestions for finding International Development jobs or internships:
1) Develop a Great Resume - Make sure you have a strong, clear and compelling resume and cover letter. See the “How to build a good International Resume” which was featured in my previous blogs, to learn what is critical information needed by hiring agents in the development sector. Length of the CV does not matter as much as clearly showing international experience including volunteer projects.
2) Read Key Resources – FPA, DEVEX and the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, Skills, and others offers offer guide to careers in the field based on interviews with over 60 organizations and practitioners. The Aines International website, www.internationalink.net, has a resource section and a Blog offering advice to Development sector job hunters.
3) Subscribe to Key Web and Job Lists - There are countless numbers of websites that provide resources on jobs and internships in the field. You should get on all or some of these sites as you will get daily or weekly updates of opportunities around the world. Also check out Websites of international NGOs that have wide projects abroad and look at their international job openings.
4) Use your contacts/networks - One of the key strategies for finding a job/internship is to consult your personal and professional networks. Let your professors, colleagues and friends know that you're seeking an opportunity and perhaps they will have suggestions/contacts. University career centers and alumni can also be terrific resources.
5) Join New Networks - Joining a professional network or association in International Development and also in your field of expertise can also be a useful way to make contacts and learn about opportunities.
6) Find and Contact Organizations Directly - Often you can find great organizations and opportunities through your own research and identify/create your own opportunities. You can find also find opportunities listed directly on an organization's website. It is possible to contact organizations (particularly smaller ones) to let them know you're interested in their work and have skills (be specific) that you believe might be of assistance.
8) Explore Negotiating about Opportunities - While many volunteer/work/internships are unpaid and an organization may not have sufficient funds, you may want to think about negotiating about the terms of potential internships. For example some organizations might be able to provide housing, while other organizations might provide training opportunities, or perhaps allow you to explore publication opportunities.
9) Consider Fundraising to Support Your Opportunity and international activity- Some Organization may have funding opportunities to support summer internships/field work. Perhaps you can consult your relatives and ask for small contributions to cover your basic expenses or find other creative ways to fund your experience.
These suggestions may not be the big one magic tip that will give you a guaranteed way to find your dream international job right away. However, doing some or all of these in a systematic approach will bring you closer to your goal while you are going about your current work, studies or life, without exhausting your resources.