Categories
Impact paths Jobs talk

Anatomy of a perfect job application

In my first job in the UN system, the department I worked in underwent what they called a “functional review”.

The idea was that the “functions” of core positions needed to get reviewed and mapped against new ideas.

This many years later, I still don’t fully know what the catalyst for the functional review was. I think it had to do with bigger institutional changes and the interest senior managers may have had to get rid of old staff and bring in some new ones. (That didn’t really happen in the end, but at least one senior up got put out to pasture.)

Now, the functional review resulted in a months-long process: ToRs (terms of reference, or job descriptions) for all FTA (fixed-term appointment) contract holders had to be reviewed, updated, readvertised, interview shortlists created, interviews scheduled, and offers made.

What this meant in practice was everyone had to interview for their jobs again.

Just starting out in my career, I was appointed as the note taker and interview report writer for all 24 jobs. At first, I was disappointed as I wanted to focus technical work and analysis of development statistics. But this experience proved to be one of the most powerful I’ve had in my career.

Each role had a minimum of 3 people interviewed, which means over the course of a few weeks, I was a fly on the wall for well over 70 interviews.

Here’s what few with this experience ever share about applying to top global development jobs.

Categories
blog

Don’t know someone? That’s not why you were rejected.

There is a HUGE problem when it comes to development sector work nobody talks about.

It’s well-meaning.

It comes disguised as good intentions.

And the people involved are smart and experienced.

But this problem blocks entire careers from reaching their full potential.

So what is it?

Categories
blog

Where Do You Find International Development Jobs Anyway?

It seems like there are a gazillion websites, Facebook groups, or email lists offering you one thing:

Direct access to job listings.

With so much out there, where should you focus your attention?

Today, I use just a few websites depending on what I’m interested in—or where I want to work.

These are:

  • UNjobs.org
  • Devex.org
  • jobs.undp.org
  • inspira.un.org

In this video, I break down how each of these work—and how you can stop wasting time checking dozens of organization job portals everyday!

Follow us for new videos on our YouTube channel!

What are your go-to job and work opportunity websites?

Categories
impact trends

COVID-19 and international development jobs

My the world has changed since I last posted.

We’ve all learned the name of the novel coronavirus. We have been asked to follow new social distancing measures and travel restrictions for ourselves, our families and our communities. And those of us who can work from home are doing so, often for the first time, and many of us unable to, have lost their jobs.

Given all that is going on, how will COVID-19 change the international development sector?

It’s definitely too early to know all the implications.

But here is what we know a few weeks in.

Categories
Jobs data

I just reviewed 60 applications. Here’s what I learned.

At my birthday dinner last month with my family, I received a buzz on my phone.

This was rare for a Saturday evening, so I took a break from dinner to check my phone to see what it was.

Turns out…

I was offered a consultancy for a UN agency.

That was a nice way to cap off my birthday celebrations.

As part of my work for this new consultancy, I reviewed 60 applications received for 6-8 open opportunities last week.

Here’s what I learned.

Categories
Impact paths

How to “network” in global development

A student in my flagship program, Break Into Development, recently completed the full program.

In Break Into Development, I don’t talk about “networking”.

That’s always felt like a foreign concept to me.

I’m definitely among the introverts in the sector – and always found it hard to fulfill what everyone describes as “networking”: like there is a magic sequence of words that will land you a dream job in global development.

Now, knowing people is IMMENSELY useful in growing you global development impact career.

It can lead to opportunities, new insights, and fresh ideas.

But make no mistake, even if I have received a few assignments because I know people…

If I wasn’t the most qualified person applying – I would NOT get hired.

In fact, the times in my experience that I most relied on contacts for a job – I was out-competed by others. When I focused on “networking” too much, I missed something important about the job, the ToR, and in demonstrating to the hiring managers what I could bring to the work.

The true value of “networking” in global development becomes easier to see when you shift those terms and reframe your approach.

“Authentic relationship building”—that is key.