At the recent Devex Career Fair in Nairobi, several recruiters and human resource leaders stressed the importance of soft skills in succeeding as a global development professional. While there are many soft skills that can be useful — and it often depends on the role — here are five universal soft skills every global development professional should strive to have along with how to communicate them to a prospective employer.
Aid work is anything but predictable: a natural disaster strikes, a political conflict breaks out, a donor shifts its funding priorities. A development worker needs to be prepared to change focus quickly and effectively. The ability to roll with the punches and correct course to align with shifting needs on the ground is a valuable trait in development employees.
How to get this across to an employer: Give an example in your cover letter that not only shows your technical expertise or managerial prowess but also demonstrates how you were able to quickly respond to changing needs or priorities. Also, recruiters take cues throughout the interview process. So try to be flexible about when and how you interview. If you appear too rigid, it will serve as a red flag to prospective employers.