Panelists at the recent “How I got my first job in International Development” career panel gave some great suggestions on how to get your International Development career kick started. For those of you who couldn’t make it, don’t worry we’ve picked out the five of the best ones for you here…
Use a bunch of different job search strategies
Some of the panel got their jobs from applying to advertised jobs, some got them almost “accidentally” just be talking to people at events. Don’t be afraid to approach people directly through sites such as Linked-In. The more strategies you use, the greater your chances of success.
Make your dissertation work for you
If part of your dissertation research involves meetings or telephone calls to employers you are already making a network of contacts you can approach when you start to look for a job.
Don’t overlook non-academic skills
Several of the panelists emphasised how useful it was to have project management skills – especially in development consultancy. Project management doesn’t have to be a formal course – it could be as simple as being very competent with Excel.
Know where your passions lie
Think about the kind of work you’re interested in. There’s a huge range of possibilities in International Development ranging from Research to Advocacy to Fundraising. Matching your interests and strengths to the type of job you’re applying for will give you a clear sense of direction and enable you to target your energies effectively.
Be persistent and don’t despair
One of the panelists started as an intern, which turned into a temporary contract which turned into a permanent contract. Another had a period of doing casual, non-international development work before he landed a job as a university researcher. The message is that although it can be a bit bumpy along the way there’s every chance of success if you hang in there and stay determined.
Finally, remember that LSE Careers is here to assist you in your journey. You can come and see us about any aspect of your career whilst you are here and also up to two years after graduation.