International development jobs: interesting roles in a competitive sector
International development jobs are some of the most exciting jobs around, for good reason. They give you the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of those most in need. You also work with fascinating concepts and ideas: development organisations lead in areas like conflict resolution, sustainability and gender equality. Finally, international development jobs, by their nature, are international. You could live in a foreign country, or work with people from around the world.
There is a problem for anyone interested in international development jobs: these exciting roles attract strong candidates. This can make it hard for graduates to break into the sector, as recruiters opt for more experienced candidates. Speaking to The Guardian, Claire Schultz, Former HR manager for field staffing at Médecins Sans Frontières, said: “recruiters in the sector will be more interested in the practical experience you have gained after your degree, as opposed to the finer detail of what you studied.”
“recruiters in the sector will be more interested in the practical experience you have gained after your degree, as opposed to the finer detail of what you studied” – Claire Schultz, Former HR manager at Médecins Sans Frontières.
New entrants into the sector face a challenge. Recruiters are looking to hire experienced candidates, but new applicants can’t gain experience without having a job. How can anyone get past this?
Volunteering can help
Voluntary work is crucial to developing the skills required for international development jobs. Volunteering for Creating Better Futures would prepare you to work in the sector. Working with our team in Zimbabwe has great use for any future role in a cross-cultural context. You will also become familiar with important systems and frameworks. Our current volunteers have gained an understanding of UK DFID processes. Finally, volunteering for Creating Better Futures is proof of your passion for development work. Volunteering with us builds an understanding of Zimbabwe and the challenges faced there.
“Voluntary work is crucial to developing the skills for international development jobs… [it] also develops the the practical skills that all employers value.”
Volunteering also develops the practical skills that all employers value: communication, teamwork, time management, organisation and problem solving. These skills not only help you stand out during the application process, they also lay the foundations for a successful career.
Volunteering also builds a professional network. This creates relationships with people in the sector and can put you in the frame for any job openings. Max, our Marketing Officer, was previously a volunteer. He was an International Development masters graduate with no expereince in the sector. He showed such capability and dedication, that we encouraged him to apply for a full time position once it became available.
Volunteer for CBF: get practical career skills and make a difference in Zimbabwe
Creating Better Futures are always looking for dedicated volunteers to support our operation in the UK. We can provide volunteering roles in a range of areas, such as admin, events, fundraising, grants and marketing. Volunteering for Creating Better Futures can give you the skills to stand out when applying for international development jobs. We are a small charity, so by volunteering with us you will be undertaking meaningful work that makes a genuine difference to children’s lives in Zimbabwe.
Does this interest you? If so, head over to our volunteering page for more information on how to get involved. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have.