Guide to international careers in conflict resolution and development
Finding the right job in conflict resolution, international development and related fields requires a combination of the right experience and training, an understanding of the field, developing strong connections and a bit of serendipity. In addition to academic and/or professional training, it is essential to have an understanding of how conflict resolution works in practice. Many people working in conflict related jobs, will not find employment with "conflict resolution organizations" but with organizations in others sectors (international development, education, environment, business) working on conflict related jobs. Thus it is also important in the job search to broaden your scope to include international development organizations, government and intergovernmental institutions, for-profit and business institutions, educational institutions, and more.
Here are some career development suggestions:
1) Develop a Strong Resume - Make sure you have a strong, clear and compelling resume and cover letter. See TipsforWritingEffectiveResumes.pdf . Many university career centers also offer guidance on resumes.
2) Conduct Informational Interviews - Most people are more than happy to talk about their job and conducting informational interviews can be an excellent way to learn more about an organization and what a career is like in a particular area. Informational interviews are a chance for you to ask general questions of someone already in the field. However, it is very important in informational interviews not to ask for a job or put pressure on the person you're speaking with to help you find a job.
3) Subscribe to Key Web and Job Lists - There are countless numbers of websites that provide resources on jobs and internships in the field (and in related fields). You should get on all or some of these sites as you will get daily or weekly updates of opportunities around the world (note some charge a fee, whiles others are free or provide partial postings for free).
Some of the best sites for jobs directly in conflict resolution, development, social entrepreneurship, etc. include (some of these sites have been suggested by the Skoll Foundation's www.socialedge.org site on social entrepreneurship which is a wonderful resource):
- ALLIANCE FOR PEACEBUILDING MEMBER FORUMS - Jobs and Fellowships in Peacebuilding, Conflict Resolution, Development, Social Entrepreneurship and Related Fields
- UNJOBLIST- A very useful site with jobs at UN agencies and other Intergovernmental Organizations.
- IDEALIST - Primarily Jobs in International and Domestic Non-profits. Covers many sectoral areas, health, development, etc.
- INDEED- A Very useful site that searches across many job sites around the world. Searching by conflict and development keywords is best way to use the service.
- RELIEFWEB - Primarily jobs in International Non-profits and UN.
- DEVELOPMENT EX - Covers jobs in International Development and Consulting around the world.
- SOCIAL EDGE - Job and Fellowship postings related to social entreprenuership.
- BUSINESS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - Jobs in Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entreprenuership.
- Zebra Jobs - A leading online portal for jobs in Africa, many focused on development related issues.
- JOBS FOR CHANGE - Useful resources and guides to careers in social change.
- BRITISH OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT NETWORK - Listing of Jobs at Key UK Based International Development Organizations.
- ALERTNET - Jobs in International Development and Humanitarian Relief.
- EUROPEAN PEACE BUILDING LIAISON OFFICE -Jobs at European Based Organizations.
- FOREIGN POLICY ASSOCIATION - Listing of Jobs at Key US nonprofits involved in international affairs.
- JUSTMEANS - Jobs in Social Change and Environment.
- FOREIGN AFFAIRS - Listing of jobs in International Affairs.
- DEVNETJOBS - Listing of Many Positions in International Development and related fields.
- JOBS4DEVELOPMENT -List of many jobs worldwide in International Development and Related Fields
- MandE News Job Forum - List of jobs/consultancies related to monitoring and evaluation in international development.
- EUROBRUSSELS - EU Related Jobs.
- Democracy Digest Jobs - List of jobs related to political and democratic develpoment.
- Society for International Development Job List - Posting of SID/DC Member Jobs.
- Sportanddev.org - Positions related to sports and development.
- Next Billion Career Center - Learn about job opportunities in the development through enterprise space.
- Social Venture Network - Jobs in social entrepreneurship and related fields.
- Omidyar Network -Jobs in social entrepreneurship.
- Jobs for Change - Wonderful resources on nonprofit jobs.
- Inside NGO Jobs - Jobs in international development
- OneWorld Jobs - brings the latest jobs and volunteer positions from organisations working to create a better world.
- BCorps Jobs - lists opportunities in companies that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
3) Use your contacts/networks - One of the key strategies for finding a job/internship is to consult your personal and professional networks. Let your professors, colleagues and friends know that you're seeking an opportunity and perhaps they will have suggestions/contacts. University career centers and alumni can also be terrific resources.
4) Join New Networks- Joining a professional network in the field can also be a useful way to make contacts and learn about opportunities. Some relevant networks include:
Society for International Development or Society for International Development DC Chapter
Association for Conflict Resolution
Women in International Security
Peace and Justice Studies Association
5) Examine Ethical Practice - When you are researching an organization it is important to make sure that the organization's ethics and practice fit with your values. If you're offered a job (hopefully before this happens) learn about what the organization does, how do they treat their staff, how do they work in they field and with partners, etc.
6) Considering Taking a Job to Get Experience - Although many people would like to obtain their ideal job right away, sometimes it may be worth considering taking a job that will help you develop the necessary skills, contacts and experience that in the future can help lead to more of an ideal job.
7) Explore Fellowship Opportunities - There are many excellent fellowships/scholarships that do provide funding for independent research/volunteer work/study. Thus, fellowships can be an excellent way to get experience in the field. You can find many fellowships/scholarships on this site by searching by various keywords.
8) Explore Organizations that Have Developed Mentoring Programs for New Employees - A number of organizations have developed special entry level positions in which new employees receive extra mentoring. Look for organizations that have Junior Program Officer Positions (some in the UN), Entry Level Fellowships (Catholic Relief Services in the US) and others.
9) Develop an Expertise in a Needed Area - There are number of current areas in which the field is in need of developing further expertise. Developing your skills in this area can make you more attractive to potential employers. Some areas include: Program Evaluation and Monitoring, Conflict Mainstreaming and Conflict Sensitivity (Integrating Conflict Across Sectors), Organizational Conflict Management. Talk with your colleagues and other professionals in the field to see what might be potential growth areas.