Stop and ask yourself Why? It takes more than passion and wanting to make a different to truly make a difference. The sector needs creativity, innovation and a bucking; it needs those who are not satisfied with the status quo and just continuing how things are currently done. Are you that person? Name: Brendan Rigby Current Position: Managing Director Nationality: Australian Organisation: WhyDev Qualifications…
My suggestion to young graduates looking for jobs in development is to ensure you are able to demonstrate some critical skills such as flexibility, adaptability to ever-changing and complex environments, as well as research and communications experience in multicultural settings.
A lot of organisations that take international volunteers are problematic as development actors… It’s critical to do your due diligence when choosing an organisation, and try to assess whether they’re doing effective work in the community.
There is a pervasive myth that it is foreigners like myself who are creating change in poor countries. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth… Studying development and working in Cambodia has taught me that my role is to support those people making the change, like my Cambodian colleagues.
Melanie Oliver, Regional Justice Process Assistant, Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons
The best advice I was given when looking to get into human rights was to volunteer as soon as possible in something that interests you. The skills you learn will be transferable to human rights or development.
Being in the places where the roles are available will ensure that you will meet the right people whilst staying informed about the sector. Securing employment or an internship is much more effective when your CV is handed directly to someone or placed directly onto a director’s desk instead of arriving to a full email inbox.
Adrian Enright, Global Coordinator (Climate Change Adaptation & Climate Smart Agriculture Program), SNV – Netherlands Development Organisation
In four years of working in development, I have not applied for a single position. I have always been approached by people working in the area who have then offered me positions which have then led to others. Investing in some ‘field time’ or volunteer work early on in your career path can be an excellent way to build these networks.
For people who aren’t studying and are maybe looking for a career change, don’t be afraid to take a demotion in order to enter a development role. Your previous experience will most likely allow you to progress quickly, even if you think you may be overqualified for the position.
The more I work towards attaining experience in the development sector, the more important my contacts and networks have become to me. I would say that networks are important, but demonstrating that you merit those contacts is also important.