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Series – How do you launch your career in the aid and development sector? (Part 1)

It’s the catch-22 that all young job seekers need to overcome – how can I gain experience if I have no or little experience? Unfortunately, you will also need to overcome this obstacle if you wish to work in the aid and development sector: competition is high, drive and passion are palpable among candidates, and opportunities may sometimes be scarce.

Despite the challenge, when there is a will, there’s a way... One way is to define the right strategy that will help you get your dream job. Whether you are interested in serving the United Nations, supporting a non-governmental organization, or working at the domestic level in the international cooperation sector, here are four steps you can follow (starting today!) that will boost your chances to break into a career in the aid and development sector.

In Part 1 of this Series, we will show you why, and how your passion should be the foundation of your strategy by following two concrete steps you can start applying today:

 

1. Show that you are passionate

 

While this might seem obvious, this aspect is often overlooked by job seekers like you who have no or little experience. Your ability to demonstrate your genuine interest in the aid and development sector – especially for junior positions – can really make a difference between being called for an interview or receiving a regret letter. Here are few ways to show your passion:

  • Go to conferences and attend webinars with a view to engaging and networking with as many actors of this field as possible
  • Join student associations or groups that support international cooperation projects; and why not going a step further by founding your own association or group!
  • Take every opportunity that comes your way to show that you are passionate about breaking into a career in this sector to every person that you meet – your professors, recruiters at career fairs, etc.
 

2. Make your passion the foundation of your professional (digital) brand

 

You have to take advantage of the power of the internet and social media to stress your motivation to support aid and development projects. To build an online professional brand that will help you improve your search, you can start following these tips:

  • Publish your thesis and dissertations online whenever possible
  • Be very active on social media by sharing useful contents and engaging on various topics that are of interest to your sector
  • Create your own blog and write about subjects directly related to the aid and development sector. This blog can also be a very effective marketing tool if you add a short biography, your CV, or simply a link to your LinkedIn profile for example.