How to make your Devex profile count

Top recruiters are looking to Devex to fill positions in international development - so, fill out your Devex profile. Photo by: Devex

Devex works with hundreds of hiring organizations worldwide to help with their global development recruiting needs. In addition to posting jobs on the Devex jobs board, they also heavily rely on the Devex people database to find candidates for their home office, field, short-term or proposal positions. Some search for potential candidates even before posting a job.

Recently, we updated our People page making it even easier and faster for recruiters to find candidates for their positions. We thought this was a good opportunity to show you how recruiters search for candidates on our site to help you make the most out of your profile. Increase your chances of being found and contacted by following the tips below.

1. Focus on keywords

You’ve probably heard about how important keywords are when writing a resume or creating an online profile. And for good reason: Using the right keywords strategically is key to being found by recruiters and hiring managers. When a recruiter searches the Devex database, one of the first search criteria they use is required keywords. These may be position titles, areas of expertise, donors, countries of work experience or specific skills, software certifications. They are looking for these keyword matches in your profile and CV to indicate that you have the experience they seek. If your profile and CV are not rich with these keywords, then you are unlikely to show up in their search results.

To get an idea of what these key terms might be, take a look at the job postings and see what words they use to describe the expertise and qualifications needed. Do you see “capacity building,” “institutional strengthening” or “gender mainstreaming”? If you have that experience, be sure to use those exact terms. Wear the hat of a recruiter and think about what words you would use to find someone to fill that position.

Another tip: Focus on your Devex profile’s “About Me” section in particular as this is often the first section a recruiter sees and it is given more weight in our search technology.

2. Know the search filters

The Devex people database offers various filters for recruiters to refine their search results and find the people with the exact level of expertise they need. In optimizing your profile, it is important to know what these filters are and to make sure you have these fields filled out in your profile. If, for example, you have 10 years of experience and speak French, but do not fill out those sections in your profile, you will not show up in search results when recruiters use these filters.

The most important parts of your profile to pay attention to, based on search filters are:


Because of employment laws or donor requirements, sometimes recruiters need to search for candidates with a specific citizenship. Make sure you have this filled out, and truthfully. Sometimes candidates put in multiple citizenships, and in the case of dual citizens, that is perfectly acceptable. However, some candidates put in 5+ citizenships they do not really have thinking it will increase their odds of being selected. More than a couple of citizenships listed will likely raise red flags with a recruiter and will ultimately hurt you in the end when they find out the falsification. For most international positions, candidates can be hired from any country so you don’t need to worry about listing all of those countries you would be eligible to work in.


Particularly in the case of a disaster or sometimes because of time or budget constraints, recruiters need to identify people who are already on the ground, in-country and will search candidates based on location. Be sure to keep this updated and current so they match you with the right opportunities.


Recruiters can filter out candidates who do not have a CV uploaded. So in addition to having a well filled out profiles, be sure to upload your CV. Not only will this increase the chance of recruiters contacting you, but it will also help boost the number of keywords you have, likely resulting in a higher ranking in the search results.

Years of experience

This is one of the most important filters than candidates often overlook. Many international development positions require a specific number of years of minimum experience so refining candidates by minimum years of experience is one of the most popular search filters for recruiters. Make sure you complete this section when filling out your Devex profile.


Many international development positions also require specific education levels and degrees. Recruiters will search for candidates with, for example, a minimum of a masters level degree. So while your education might be listed in your resume, be sure to also include it in your profile.


Recruiters can search the database based in your current or previous job titles or employers. So having the employment section in your profile well filled-out will increase your chances of being found based on your past positions. Also, be sure to include the donor who funded any project you worked on, even if the employer was a consulting firm or NGO. Recruiters often use the donor name, such as DfID, as a keyword in searches.

Note: Keyword matches in job titles get a boost in our search results.


When language expertise is needed, recruiters will use this filter to find people who speak that language Again, this may be in your resume but if you do not answer it in your profile, you will not show up in the results even if you do speak that language.

Remember: Only include languages for which you are professionally proficient.


While not as important as the previous filters, sometimes recruiters will look at the objectives you have listed and may even filter for them. For example, if you are open to volunteer opportunities but didn’t put that down, you may miss out on being contacted for them.

Updated date

Recruiters do not want to waste their time contacting people who are not interested or available. So sometimes they filter by how recently you updated your profile. Even if they do not filter by this, our search will give you a boost if you have updated it recently and recruiters can see the date you last updated your profile, since it gives them an indication of how interested you are in opportunities. If they see it’s been two years since you updated your information, they may decide not to contact you thinking you will not be open to opportunities.

Profile preview

We have a feature for recruiters where they can get a quick “profile preview” of a candidate on the search results page. This allows them to see highlights from your profile to determine if they want to click through to view your entire profile. You should pay particular attention to these three sections when creating your Devex profile:

About me

This section gives you the opportunity to brand yourself and communicate your core value proposition. You can consider including your core areas of expertise, years of experience, countries or regions of experience and/or languages. You can also describe what kinds of opportunities, if any, you seek. This is the first part of your profile a recruiter sees- so make it count!


The employment history including job titles, employers, dates and descriptions are all visible here.


Your education including degree, university name and field of study are show.

3. Contact Information

Finally, be sure to keep your contact information updated. All of this work optimizing your profile is for naught if a recruiter cannot reach you. If you change emails, phone numbers or locations, be sure to update accordingly.

4. Photo

You may be shy about putting a photo on your profile, not wanting a potential employer to judge you based on your looks. However, recruiters are not interested in what you look like, as long as your photo is professional in nature. But they are much more likely to click on your profile if you have a photo. Why? Research has shown that people trust an online profile more if there is a photo attached; it makes them feel like there is a real person behind the information.

I understand that creating a profile can be a cumbersome task, but we have created tools to make it easy to connect the information you already have in your LinkedIn or Facebook profiles to Devex. Just click one of the icons on the homepage and follow the steps. You can then easily add, change or modify the information saving you a few extra steps.

Got a question about the Devex website or the benefits of signing up for a Devex career account? Email or tweet me at @DevexCareers — your question may just be the focus of an upcoming Career Matters blog post. You can also subscribe to my video blog on YouTube.

About the author

  • Kate Warren

    Kate Warren is Executive Vice President and resident talent and careers guru at Devex. With 15 years of global development recruitment experience advising international NGOs, consulting firms, and donor agencies, she has a finger on the pulse of hiring trends across the industry and insider knowledge on what it takes to break in.