Last week in a monthly “Ask Devex” webinar session with our career account members, I received several questions from mid-career professionals looking to change careers but not sure where to start. Here’s what I advised:
Q: “Having completed my master’s in development management from a university in the U.K. and coming — for family reasons — from mid-level generalist program management experience in governance and civil society in Ethiopia, I’m struggling to get a job in my dream sector, which is livelihoods or environment management at international development agencies based in the U.S.
As the gap in my formal employment is now getting larger, what is the best advice for me to land my dream job? Would you suggest applying for entry level positions in the sector I am looking for?”
A: First of all, stop looking for your dream job. You acknowledge your employment gap is getting bigger, and the bigger it gets, the harder your job search will be. So don’t let “perfect” get in the way of “pretty good.” Rather than waiting for your dream job, which may never come, you could be gaining additional skills and experience in a not-as-good-but-OK job that will actually get you closer to that dream.