How to get your global development career off to a good start

United Nations volunteers and Haitian citizens unload food supplies delivered by a U.S. helicopter. Photo by: USAID / CC BY-SA

Landing a job in global development is tough, and the first few years of your career may also be very challenging as you learn what it means to work in this particular sector. Paths to a career in this competitive sector often involve balancing a weekend job with a full-time internship before spending months, or even years, overseas to gain the field experience that will allow you to specialize or move up the career ladder.

While this career can be quite demanding, it can also be very rewarding. We spoke with early career development professionals to hear their advice for others trying to get their development career off to a good start.

About the author

  • Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a Reporter at Devex. She covers all things related to careers and hiring in the global development community as well as mental health within the sector — from tips on supporting humanitarian staff to designing mental health programs for refugees. Emma has reported from key development hubs in Europe and co-produced Devex’s DevProWomen2030 podcast series. She holds a degree in journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University and a master's in media and international conflict. In addition to writing for regional news publications, she has worked with organizations focused on child and women’s rights.