If anything became clear at Devex’s 6th Annual International Development Career Forum in Washington, D.C., it’s that while the landscape of international development careers continues to shift, recruiters are sure of what they’re looking for: well-rounded, adaptable talent.
Industry trends like the growing influence of private sector partners, a heavier focus on local solutions and constant pressure to innovate and show results may not be news to seasoned development professionals. But the talk of the forum was that senior-level professionals and expert consultants are now often expected to wear more hats than they may have before.
“If you’re an economic growth person or a health person or a biodiversity person, think about advancing or highlighting skills in your resume if you have been involved in training,” said Paula Feeney, director of marketing for Cardno Emerging Markets, during the forum’s opening plenary.
The trend for aid groups to hire staff in the countries where they operate — instead of flying in expats — has added another level of complexity to an already challenging industry to break into. But it might also present new opportunity for experienced development professionals — especially consultants – who are interested to use their technical skills to build capacity, a notion we picked up as well at Devex’s inaugural International Development Partnerships Forum & Career Fair in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2013.