Guide to Careers in International Affairs (Including Review of Top Job Sites)

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.

One of the things that I encourage my students to consider is developing strong skills in conflict resolution processes and theory, but also develop an expertise in a another sector and/or regional area. For more information on careers in the field, see a report I co-authored, Skills, Networks and Knowledge: Careers in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. offers guide to careers in the field based on interviews with over 60 organizations and practitioners. The document also offers 10 pages of resources for finding jobs, internships, scholarships and more. You can download the report for Download Webreport.pdf or at the ACT website. Another great resource is a Career Guide from Sustainability on Corporate Social Responsibility. Idealist has also developed an excellent guide to Nonprofit Careers and a separate Careers Resources Section . Dr. John Paul Lederach and Kate Mansfield from the Kroc Institute have also developed a wonderful visual representation of possible careers in the field.

Here are some additional career development suggestions

1) Develop a Strong Resume - Make sure you have a strong, clear and compelling resume and cover letter. See the Download 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:

Other Job Sites/Resources that may have relevant jobs:

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.

Views: 217371

Tags: Careers, Job, Networking, Report, Strategies

Comment

You need to be a member of Peace and Collaborative Development Network to add comments!

Join Peace and Collaborative Development Network

Comment by Jane w Njuguna-Chungi on September 18, 2012 at 4:19am

Great information Craig.

Suggestions on what one may do meanwhile...before a job comes by?

Comment by Monanaka w. cleophas on September 17, 2012 at 4:09pm

Craig I cannot simply thank you enough! We are heavily indebted to you. Again, thank you so very much.

Comment by Kathy Pham on August 20, 2012 at 11:16pm

Thank you this post has been really informative! Humanities majors often find it hard to navigate the job market after college, but this article lists an abundance of resources. Once again, thanks!

Comment by Tewodros Negash on July 6, 2012 at 11:45am

Thank you for posting this wonderful information! You are really amazing!

Comment by ASM BELAL on June 22, 2012 at 11:51pm

Yes,very useful. Thanks for posting

Comment by Jay Daverth on June 20, 2012 at 10:53am

Wonderful post -- thanks so much for putting this resource together for us!

Comment by Emily Vigliar on June 20, 2012 at 10:38am

Very useful and comprehensive information!

And on the subject...

The Global Careers Fair are launching the first virtual careers fair for NGOs and the International Public Sector on 26 and 27 June 2012. Exhibitors include UNICEF, The World Bank, USAID, The Peace Corps...

This online event offers job seekers who are looking to start or build their career in the Public/NGO sector the opportunity to connect with HR teams from all over the World, get information about job vacancies, application procedures as well as the organisations itself.

Candidates can register for free at: globalcareersfair.com

Please help to spread the word!

Comment by Grace Munisi on February 19, 2012 at 3:14pm

This is real incredible useful material. thank you Graig,

 

Comment by Gail Ervin on February 18, 2012 at 12:37pm

Hi Craig,

This is a great resource, thanks, and reminds us just how much is being done in the world.  I'm still making the rounds to Rotary Clubs to talk about the Rotary Peace Fellowships, and most of these folks only get the bad news from the papers - do you know if anyone has actually attempted to identify how many people are working in peacebuilding around the work, and/or how many organizations are involved with peacebuilding? 

Comment by Sonja Wolf on February 11, 2012 at 11:00am

What is your advice, in a nutshell, for getting more practical experience? I have a PhD now, but it seems of little use in the job market. People with a PhD are also not accepted for internships, and for jobs -which is what I am interested in- employers tend to ask for years and years of relevant professional work experience. But you cannot get the experience without a job.

Sponsored Link

Please Pay What You Can to Support PCDN

Please consider Paying What You Can to help PCDN grow. We encourage you to consider any amount from $1 and up. Read the SUPPORT page prior to making a payment to see PCDN's impact and how your payment will help.

Sponsored Link

Translate This Page



PCDN NETWORK TWITTER FEED

PCDN Guidelines and Share Pages

By using this site you're agreeing to the terms of use as outlined in the community guidelines (in particular PCDN is an open network indexed by Google and users should review the privacy options). Please note individual requests for funding or jobs are NOT permitted on the network.

Click BELOW to share site resources Bookmark and Share
or Share on LINKEDIN


FOLLOW PCDN on TWITTER, FACEBOOK or GOOGLE+

Google+

 

© 2014   Created by Craig Zelizer.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service