Monday, April 21, 2008

For Job Seekers

International Development Job Search Engines

Connections are extremely important when it comes to finding the job you're looking for. Big cities like Washington, Geneva, New York, Rome, Brussels and other capital of the international development arena are filled with venues for networking. Ranging from parties at bars and restaurants to more formal meetings and workshops, these are good opportunities to meet that person, who knows somebody whose sister is looking for someone like you. Don't believe me? check this out:

Organizations use the following recruitment channels:
  • Word of mouth (99%)
  • Current employee referrals (93%)
  • Local newspapers (80%)
  • Postings on others’ websites (73%)
  • Recruitment from recent interns (67%)
  • Postings on organization’s own website (64%)
(Data from the Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Listening Project [Workforce Recruitment and Retention Soundings, 2007])

So your first step should be to find out what's out there. Join academic and professional associations (see if Society for International Development has a chapter in your city, join AIARD), interest groups (meetup), subscribe to listserv and calendars so you know what's going on in your city. Remember that most organizations are constantly opening their doors to the public with different types of events; fund raising, presentations, open houses, etc. While you start to attend networking events, workshops and other type of presentations, keep these tips in mind:

1) be sincere about your interest.

2) look neat. first impression is very important. Check out this article by the Economist.

3) have business cards, you don't want to be looking for a pen and a piece of paper in the middle of an engaging conversation. vistaprint will send you cards for free, you can choose from their several templates and just pay for shipping (about $7). After two week you'll get a box with 250 cards.

4) do you homework. read not only about the topic to be discussed but also about the speakers.

5) participate. i know public speaking can be a pain, but the Q&A session could be that great opportunity to meet people by putting on the table well-thought questions or comments. Also, seat at front.

6) follow up with emails. If you meet someone that told you about his research on family planning in Mali and you come across an article on the subject, send it to himright away, i'm sure it would be greatly appreciated, even if he already knows about it.

7) organize your contacts and remember how you meet them. For instance, you may write on their business card "World Bank presentation 03/21/07, interested in micro credit in Brazil". Also, file the documents along with your notes in a way that can be easily retrievable.
what else......
ah, for the business card, go to staples and buy a plastic card holder, this is a cheap way to organized your contacts on a binder. Again, keep it organized e.g. school, NGOs, government etc, whatever works for you, keeping in mind that two years for now you may need that contact and you better know where to find him and how you met him/her.

8) Also, take advantage of technology. Use your email account to organize your contacts, create a linkedIn account, use facebook, maybe a friend of you has a good friend at the place where you want to work. Create a blog with my link on it :)

Then What?
So you made a contact at organization you want to work for. You may choose to go the traditional way and apply to that full time position they have listed on their website. You may also consider other ways to get involve with the organization in you quest for getting that full time position you want. A good way to do this is by volunteering, interning, engaging in board service, asking for an informational interview or consulting for them. Consider this:
  • 50% of organizations recruit interns to fill openings
  • 40% of nonprofits use consultants to find candidates to fill positions
  • 33% of organizations recruit volunteers to fill openings
So you met Dr. Patterson at a presentation on rural infrastructure in Bangladesh. You do some small talk, get his card. Then you learn about his work, his papers and more important his current research or projects. After this, you send him an email saying how you found one of his papers very interesting and relevant to the work you're doing. You ask him a couple questions. After that maybe you can ask him for a cup of coffee. (then you propose). Then you may want to express your interest in helping him with whatever he is doing....anyway, you get the picture.

Again, it is very important you are completely sincere about your interest in the subject. You don't want to fake it to then dealing with awkward position i'm sure will occur if your intentions are not legitimate.

Know Yourself
A way to understand better your ideal job.
1. An issue (and/or value): a matter of public or personal concern
  • Which issue areas am I interested in, passionate about, or concerned with?
  • How can these issue areas be broken down?
2. An organization: a structure through which people work to conduct business
  • Which organizations am I particularly drawn to?
  • What is it about these organizations that speaks to me?
  • What other organizations exist that share these qualities?
3. A role: a function or part performed
  • Do I have a role in mind that I’d like to take on?
  • What are some roles within organizations that work on issues I care about?
4. A system: interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole
  • Do I want the scope of my work to be local, national, international?
  • Do I want to be in an established organization or a start-up? One that hasinfluence in the field or an organization that is just beginning its work? One that is well-funded and established or one that is grassroots and on the fringe?
  • What approaches to doing this work interest me: direct service, advocacy, philanthropy, capacity building, policy, research/analysis, etc.
(created by David Schachter, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service)

Here is another exercise to understand better the type of work you want to do:

Career Tracks exercise:
  • Download, photocopy, or cut out/copy & paste at least 50 job postings that appeal to you because:
    • You are drawn to the specific organization
    • You are drawn to the particular position or role
  • Once you’ve collected at least 50 postings:
    • Look for patterns or common themes
    • Create at least 1 (no more than 5) potential career tracks for yourself
  • Assess your end goals (ideal positions, career paths, etc.)
    • Take stock of your qualifications
    • Create a plan to your build your skills and experiences accordingly
(Career Tracks exercise created by David Schachter, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service)

Long list of direct links to Jobs of NGOs, Consultancy Firm, Multilateral Organizations, Development Bank and Government Agencies. Instead of applying directly, try to find way to make contact with the organization first!!

International Development


Match Box said...

Greetings from India!
Well done. I appreciate your effort to put the relevant information at one place. The guidance to seek job is excellent. I would like to get connected with you through Linked In.

Aslam said...

You have great knowledge about hiring in the world i don't know these factors before.


Plastic business cards