How to transition from the private sector to international development

Bankers walking in front of the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo by: Elvert Barnes / CC BY

Although it can be difficult to break into the global development business, professionals with private sector work experience are increasingly sought-after by aid organizations eager to prove value for money.

People with backgrounds in finance or fundraising — anyone who can help aid organizations save, track or raise money — are particularly valuable. But many other skills and professional experiences can help you land your first job in humanitarian aid or global development. For instance, those with a background in law or human resources may find similar positions with an NGO or donor agency.

About the author

  • Ingrid Ahlgren

    Ingrid is a Devex correspondent based in New York City. She worked as a staff writer for from 2007 to 2009, helping to write guidebooks, including the "Vault Guide to the Top Government and Nonprofit Employers." Before moving to New York, she was a researcher for National Geographic Traveler magazine in Washington, D.C. Ingrid holds a master's in journalism from the University of Missouri. As the daughter of a U.S. diplomat, she grew up all over the world.