Responding to unusual interview questions, breaking into the UN, combating ageism: 11 Devex career tips from 2017

A social development adviser talks with women volunteer community organizers in Gorkha, Nepal. Photo by: Russell Watkins / DFID / CC BY

Whether you're looking to break into development for the first time, searching for your next position, or exploring new ways to grow professionally, Devex Career Account Members gain exclusive access to the latest hiring trends, career insights, tips from recruiters, and advice from development experts. Here is a round-up of some of the top career events, guides, and articles from 2017.

How to prepare for a competency-based interview

Competency-based questions are commonly used in both written assessments and job interviews to understand how a candidate would approach challenges on the job. Intimidating for many, they require specific preparation compared to a standard job interview. With hints and tips from HR experts, this article will help you understand how to prepare for and respond to competency-based questions.

Ageism in hiring: Is it real and how to overcome it

Senior development professional sometimes feel that once they reach their 50s and beyond, the opportunities dry up and they receive fewer callbacks for jobs. While some institutions have a mandatory retirement age, others may overlook older applicants because of the questions surrounding how much longer they will remain working. But most often, with age comes a wealth of experience, which is particularly sought after in the development world. Here are ways seasoned global development professionals can keep their careers roaring well beyond retirement age.

How volunteering can jumpstart your global development career

The global development sector is renowned for being hard to break into. Entry level jobs and internships are extremely competitive, even if unpaid. Gaining experience is absolutely necessary if you are to enter the development world, and one of the best ways to do that is through volunteering. It demonstrates your true passion and desire to work in the field and provides relevant and valuable skills that are transferable to global development jobs. This article discusses the benefits of volunteering in helping you realize where you fit into the development world, which volunteer opportunities are better than others, and what else to consider before volunteering.

From quirky to inappropriate: How to handle unusual questions in job interviews

Development professionals go to job interviews anticipating the usual questions: Can you tell me something about yourself? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years? But what if the interviewer asks: what flavor of ice cream are you and why? Devex polled staffers for the weirdest questions they've been asked. Here's what they said — and a Devex primer for how to handle curveballs.

Webinar: Becoming an international aid worker

International aid workers are vital members of the global development community. This exclusive webinar welcomes the authors of the book “Becoming an International Humanitarian Aid Worker” to discuss their years’ worth of research on how professionals can break into the sector and succeed. In the webinar, the authors cover preparing for challenges in the humanitarian aid sector, advice from aid workers about the realities of life in the field, and career tips to those looking to enter the field. From those just starting out and looking for their first job in humanitarian aid work, to experienced professionals looking to transition into the sector, there is valuable information for people of all levels surrounding the topic.

What's your greatest weakness? Here's how to respond

Interview questions addressing your greatest weakness or mistakes can be particularly daunting and difficult to answer and interviewers end up hearing a lot of “humble bragging” and disingenuous self-evaluations as a result. Devex spoke to global development recruiters to find out which type of questions they might ask in an interview, what they look for in answers, and what personal qualities they expect a candidate to demonstrate. Here are tips from global development recruiters on how you should talk about your greatest weakness in an interview.

Want to launch a career with the UN? Here are ways young professionals can break in

In addition to the well-known Junior Professional Officer program and Young Professionals Program, young professionals looking to launch a career with the United Nations now have many options. Here is an overview of the various programs available, the similarities and differences, and information how to apply.

How to market your global development skills to a Silicon Valley startup

Following the U.S. presidential election, Leila Makarechi started what she calls an exploration, rather than a search for a job, to better understand the role of the private sector in addressing societal divisions. She explains how she ended up working at Coursera, where she said she is able to leverage her nonprofit background in a new and different way to advance a mission she believes in.

Disability inclusion: How to overcome the barriers to a career in global development

Across all industries, people with disabilities can face physical and social barriers to employment. Despite being in the business of social inclusion, this can be particularly so in global development. Devex spoke to a number of development professionals to learn about their experience working with a disability and their advice for overcoming the common barriers to getting a job in the sector.

Transitioning to a global development job? Here's how to write your CV

A growing demand for tech, innovation, business skills, and expertise in development is creating job opportunities for transitioning professionals from a range of backgrounds. CV expectations, however, differ from other sectors. If you are trying to make a move, here are some tips for translating your experience in your CV.

Webinar: The secrets to having a stand-out CV

Kate Warren, senior director and editor at Devex, reveals the secrets to crafting a stand-out CV, in the first session of our three-part Job Search Bootcamp series, exclusive for Devex members with a Career Account. She explains the basics on everything from how to format your CV, to the right page length, to how to navigate common CV challenges such as gaps in your employment history. Watch the full webinar recording here and join us for another installment of Job Search Bootcamp, Cover Letters 101, on Jan. 18.

About the author

  • Lottie Watters

    Lottie Watters formerly covered career and hiring trends, tips, and insights. Lottie has a background in geography and journalism, taking a particular interest in grassroots international development projects. She has worked with organizations delivering clean water and sanitation projects globally.