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.

Jobs talk

Jobs talk: Emory Law School – Working in Public International Law & Development

Earlier this week, I gave a jobs talk at a small panel at Emory University’s Law School, on behalf of their International Law Society.

It was a great opportunity to think through how a law background is most useful for the international development sector.

The panel was organized around a set of questions to dig deep into what it’s like working at the United Nations, in an NGO, and in global development.

Here’s what I said framed around the key questions.