Breaking into International Development
By Chloe J Ackroyd, on 14 February 2018
What do you imagine when you think of working in International Development? Maybe you envisage working on the ground in a remote, developing part of the world to address issues such as poverty, disease and education. This image of front line work provides the visible and public face of International Development but have you considered the wide range of roles and functions required to support the successful execution of projects on the ground? These support roles may be less visible but could provide a good foothold into International Development. For example, policy, advocacy/outreach, human resources, finance, IT.
If you’re considering a career in this rewarding sector you will probably want to start preparing yourself sooner rather than later as International Development is a competitive field to break into.
Here are a few tips to help you with this.
- Have a clear idea about the kind of development work you want to do. This is likely to involve investigating the different roles within International Development and considering which of these roles might be a good fit for your academic background, experience, skills and career interests.
- Think about specialist or technical skills/qualifications/experience that might be required and consider how you might acquire these.
- Gain experience and build networks/contacts through volunteering activities, involvement in fundraising or campaigning activities, blogging etc…
- Commitment to/experience of International Development is essential and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to secure a graduate position without having relevant experience (voluntary or paid) on your cv.
- Consider gaining relevant/transferrable experience and qualifications outside the International Development sector. It’s not unusual for professionals to transition from the commercial sector into international development a few years into their career.
To find out more about careers in International Development, including opportunities to meet employers and alumni working in this sector, please visit: