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.
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.