I think it’s important to keep in mind field work is never as glamorous as it looks. I know I’m guilty of misleading people on my social media accounts too, but for every day I was off seeing elephants (a total of 3 days out of my year there), there are dozens of other days where I was simply hot and sweaty,…
I think networking is important, but more-so later in your career than at the beginning. At the end of the day, you need some experience and all the networking in the world is not going to get you a job if you have no experience. I think in your early career, mentoring is more important than networking. Name: Kiri Dicker…
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.
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.
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.
Pursue volunteering opportunities – they don’t always lead to paid work, but they’re still a great foot in the door and a way to build your resume while doing something meaningful in your community.
I believe that every skill acquired, no matter the job… is a valuable skill, because all of them will teach you a little more about yourself; about which are your strengths, which are your best qualities, and most importantly, which are your weak areas that need improvement and dedication.
It is important to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of this industry before committing to it and know at least where you stand on these issues. It is possible to have a career in this industry without living in war-zones, and if that’s what you want, then you need to know which path to take.