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International Development: Jobs and Experience

a guide to careers in international development, human rights and international organisations

International Development

Jobs and Experience

How to get helpful work experience and get started


  • Experience is as important as qualifications
  • A Master's may be useful to progress your career later
  • Volunteer and make contacts
  • Research NGOs and approach them directly
  • Look for internships, in the UK or overseas. The vast majority of these will be unpaid, which will be untenable for many
  • Get overseas experience. There are plenty of organisations to help with this, but costs will vary considerably
  • Do what you can. Even the most junior paid jobs often require 1-2 years' experience
  • How to get a job in development is a useful and practical guide from Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB
  • How to get a job in international development is another practical guide from Michelle Rebosio. Includes networking and CV/cover letter advice
  • Career Navigator from Devex is aimed at helping people achieve their development career goals. The New to This section is for people starting out, and has some useful advice on how to get started. There are also some resources to download for creating a development CV, global hiring trends in 2017 and choosing the right postgraduate course.

Researching NGOs

There are thousands of NGOs doing niche work that can offer invaluable work experience opportunities. Use these resources to research NGOs working in areas you are interested in (geographically or thematically):

United Nations

Many graduates aspire to work, or get internships, at the UN

There are limited paid opportunities and the processes will be highly selective

There are internships throughout the UN system, but they are unpaid and extremely competitive. International field (and related work) experience, plus language skills and a Master's degree are often required

Job Boards

Finding Internships

Use the sites above, such as ReliefWeb, Bond, CharityJOB, OneWorld, plus:


Search for overseas volunteering opportunities, but don't forget to think about useful opportunities in Brighton while you are here:


Specialist Opportunities

ReliefWeb: Internships


CEC Jobs Database - Development/Not-for-profit

Search for more jobs at (ITS login and password required)


Ethical Issues