This is just a demo map that you can delete right away, if you feel like it...
ub*scribe to Key Web and Job Lists - The*re are countless numbers of websites that provide resources on jobs and internships in the field. You should get on all or some of these sites as you will get daily or weekly updates of opportunities around the world. Some of the best sites include:
Allian_ce for Peacebuilding Member Forums
Busin_e_ss for Social Responsibility
http://www.charityjob.co.uk, chekced 22/09
http://www.proposalwriter.com/international.html, good for acted job perp
http://uk.oneworld.net/jobs, 11th checked
http://www.oxfordhr.co.uk/index.php?pg=40, excutive recrimtnent only
http://www.jobsincharities.co.uk/, checked 22/09
http://www.indevjobs.org/, none as of 11/10
www.reliefweb.int, I guess you know reliefweb and its weekly newsletter with job vacancies. It covers humanitarian, development and human rights work. As you seem pretty much open to work anywhere abroad, that could give you a good idea of open positions.
www.internationaljobs.org, checked 25/09
Uk Jobs, www.bond.org.uk
http://www.internationalservice.org.uk/work_with_us/, no vacnycys as of 21/09/2010
http://www.habitat.org/cd/hr/jobs.aspx?type=4, no vacanys as of 21/09/2010
http://hostedjobs.openhire.com/epostings/submit.cfm?fuseaction=app.allpositions&company_id=15631&version=1&tosearch=no&keywords=&startflag=0, no jobs as of 21/09/2010
http://www.aidsalliance.org/job.aspx?Id=311, checked as of 21/09
http://www.mdf.nl/page/MDF-GENERAL/Vacancies, none as of 21/09
http://www.oxfam.org.uk/get_involved/work_with_us/, none as of 21/09
www.care,org/careers, chekced as of 21/09
www.goal.ie, One of the only NGOs that takes people on overseas placements without a whole load of field experience in GOAL. Try www.goal.ie - they have an office in London that recruits people for overseas jobs., checked as of 21/09
DFID,, www.dfid.gov.uk, nope as of 25/09
the World Bank
http://www.aidsalliance.org/job.aspx?Id=311, checked 23/09
http://www.fpa.org/, checked 23/09 us focsued
https://jobs-msh.icims.com/jobs/intro, great link follow up
http://www.healthpovertyaction.org/AboutUs/Jobs/JobsOverseas, none as OF 23/09
http://www.childhope.org.uk/vacancies.asp, none as of 23/09
http://www.unops.org/english/Pages/default.aspx, nope way to high demands
http://www.populationconcern.org.uk/vacancies.asp, none as 0f 23/09
http://www.redr.org.uk/en/About_us/Jobs/current_staff_vacancies.cfm, none as of 23/09
mercy corps, https://hostedjobs.openhire.com/epostings/submit.cfm?version=2&company_id=15927, none as of 23/09
medicins sans frontier (they hire social scientist people to manage their projects), Federal structure apply to each country branch - french msf only hire french citizens
there are positions in national NGOs where they would welcome input from a qualified professional. Of course they pay for these is not much, but it is a start from which better things flow.
If you are interested in capacity building this organisation may interest you: ww.mdf.nl.com They do good practical courses on "train the trainer" and capacity building and I found their courses to be a good source for networking.
International Service ( http://www.internationalservice.org.uk/ ) is a UK-based NGO that is worth looking into. I worked with them in Burkina Faso and Mali for 2.5 years. They offer two year placements for particular jobs, building the capacity of local organisations in some way in Burkina Faso, Mali, Bolivia, Brazil and Palestine. It is an excellent way of getting paid work experience. It is also some of the most interesting work I have done because it is at a community level.
t UNICEF we hire interns all the time, from 3 - 6 month placements. All unpaid I'm afraid, but we do pay for your lunch and travel. Alternatively, after uni, you could register with some temp charity agencies, such as Harris Hill or Morgan Hunt. I got my first job in the sector via this route, and gained the experience I needed to move on. You could also send your CV to charities, and ask if you could come in for a few weeks work experience. If you know anyone who works in the sector at all, nag them first!
British Red Cross,
ou mentioned you worked as a teacher and I think you would really enjoy working with VSO. The only issue is the entry salary of course, because they pay you the local wages of the country you are working in.
As is the UN Volunteers programme ( http://www.unv.org/ ) UNV pays a basic wage.
unjobs.org also carries some good postings, not only UN.
Marketing Week and Retail Week (UK)
Guardian Weekly, .
Daniel Large (a teacher? at Soas and a friend) would be someone good to talk to regarding his connections with the Rift valley institue in Kenya particualrly for any development related expereience.
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Feel free to apply for more than one job with Oxfam. There will often be different recruiting managers short listing for different posts so they won't necessarily know, and in any case this would not be held against you. Should you be offered interviews for two posts, we would expect you to make both recruiting managers aware of the situation if they were not already. .
What is needed is a bit of chance (e.g. finding a position that fit with your profile) and being able to show a specific expertise. You need to take into account that if you get 5-10% answers to your applications is very good.
keep trying. It is not uncommon to try many times before being hired overseas by an NGO.
It is very difficult to get into paid roles in the NGO sector, especially in entry level positions. I heard we had more than 100 applicants for the last entry level position we advertised in our country. It makes it a lot easier if you are well connected. Learning languages opens up different countries. Speaking French would give you much more chance of getting roles in Africa and Spanish in South America. I came from a technical background which makes it simpler to get in, but if you went down that path then you'd almost certainly need to spend a few years working out of the sector to build your experience up. At the moment we have no entry level positions in country, but keep your eye out on the Merlin website. They are a decent organisation and I'd recommend them to you.
I know in some cases people are offered a post after serving some time as an intern (some UN agencies, I know), but in most cases, you just have to find the right post at the right timing. These posts spring up very sporadically, so it is very difficult to predict. I would also make use of your alumni network, especially if you have studied Development. Also try tapping into your former colleague's network -- they would know you and your expertise so that they may find better fit for you.
U_se* your contacts/networks - One* of the key strategies for finding a job/internship is to consult your personal and professional networks. Let your professors, colleagues and friends know that you're seeking an opportunity and perhaps they will have suggestions/contacts. University career centers and alumni can also be terrific resources.
oin* New Networks- Join*ing a professional network in the field can also be a useful way to make contacts and learn about opportunities. Some relevant networks include: Societ_y for International Development or So_ciety_ for International Development DC Ch_apter Associ_ation for Conflict Resolution Women_ _in International Security Peace_ _and Justice Studies Association
F_in*d and Contact Organizations Directly - Oft*en you can find great organizations and opportunities through your own research and identify/create your own opportunities. You can find also find opportunities listed directly on an organization's website. It is important to ensure that ensure that any organization you will work with is a legitimate organization (check with friends, see who funds them, visit their website, learn about their reputation). It is possible to contact organizations (particularly smaller ones) to let them know you're interested in their work and have skills (be specific) that you believe might be of assistance.
My suggestion would be to build up as much overseas experience as possible, especially if you are flexible and can go anywhere. Perhaps look at jobs in unpopular locations like Sudan or Afghanistan as they are less competitive.
hope this has been of some help. My advice would be to go abroad and try your luck once you are there - the worse that can happen is you have to go home again after a few months.
Networking is obviously very important. You need to find a break, a way in, and once you are in, build on your contacts. Volunteering and internships is obviously a great way to do this. Most of my friends who volunteered alongside the SOAS MSc went on to work for those same organsiations. Find an organisation you are interested in, turn up on their doorstep offering your support in a particular area that you know (from your prior research) that they need support in. Small charities are probably easier to get into in this way as there is less bureaucracy to overcome.
I do apologise about the delay. Regarding your request, can you tell me which field you like to work. I will advise that you choose the filed that you enjoy. You are in a pole position with regards to positiion in development based on your experience. you can apply to the various NGO's or enquire about their current projects. However you must bear in mind that the pay may not be aas great as for profit sectors but the fulfillment is tremendous. Above all you must be confident in your ability and be sure what you want. In addition you must persevere in your search.
n the UK there are a massive range of charities, and other than Public Affairs, the skills are similar accross the field. I was sure that I wanted to work in International Development, but started in an environmental charity, then onto a health one before coming to UNICEF, and would not have got me position were it not for the skills I learned at the other charities. I guess what I'm trying to say is even if your passionate about development, experience in any charity is valuble.
while many people are keen to get out to the places that they have been studying about and get stuck in, it is often better to start at the headquarters of an organisation and gain some understanding of how the structure works and how decisions and policy are made. I have spoken to and worked with many people who have become frustrated when working in the field with lack of efficiency and strategic planning, or of communication and prioritising, and those who have done desk/office based work in advance have really noticed the difference in how they approach their work later on. In terms of approaching organisations, I think that your experience will stand you in good stead, but don't be put off by what you might think of as the more 'minor' roles. You don't want to do a job that doesn't interest you, just to get a foot in the door, but entry-level jobs can be an excellent way to get a really good idea of what an organisation is about, and to make contacts, before making your next move. It doesn't always work that way, but I began working at KHRP as an administrator and I'm in no doubt that it gave me the insight i needed to do my current role. Employers often want to try before they buy, so if you can afford it, do an internship or placement and then make sure you stay in touch afterwards with that organisation and the people that you meet there. We are a small organisation, but 3 of our 11 staff were employed having done internships with us previously.
The other thing is not to expect a "graduate type" job immediately. I started off doing data entry at ChildLine (which, on paper, I was way over-qualified for), and moved on by taking what you might call a "project" approach to work -- looking for interesting projects that could add value to the role and the work of the department that I was in. One good thing about the third sector is that they're often quite flexible about what you do, and there can be plenty of movement within the organisation.
Forget about rosters, be careful about internships, unless there is very clear opportunities to advance into a proper position or at least build your management credentials, and at the end of the day, get out to the field... experience on the ground is absolutely essentially for being taken seriously in management.
. Three categories of graduates could find a job soon: (i) those who were able to go - and willing to go - in difficult contexts (Sudan, Afganistan) or generally "on field", (ii) those who had been able, during the year, to stay in touch with previous employers/organisations they had workd with (iii) those who applied during the year to government sponsored schemes (like UN fellowship/JPOs, OSCE internships....).
I think the best advice I can give you in terms of finding a paying entry-level development job abroad is to choose a country that you'd like to work in and live in for the next few years after your Masters and just move there. It means you have to front some money to pay for a place to live, etc but you should just go and try to network as much as possible, give your CV out to as many organizations in that city as possible and hope for the best. It may not always work out but I think moving to the city is really the only way you'll get your name out and will be much more likely to get a job there successfully. And definitely plan ahead too, if you know where you want to be, start sending your CV out to places in that city and start making yourself known - basically just advertise yourself to the extrem
- The development field is quite wide. There are many possibilities. Some are also in grey zones (such as between private sector and public sector or governemental/non governemental organisations). Hope you can find what you want exactly, but if you can't consider also these opportunities (as long as they are ethically feasible!!).
The best thing is the hidden job market. If you have any contacts in INGOs (people you've worked with / know ) - use them shamelessly. Send them your CV and a quick bio (as you did to me) asking to keep you in mind if anything suitable comes up. I know that this is how many in the UN field missions end up entering.
However, as I'm sure you know it is not easy to get that first properly paid job in the field, and hundreds of people tend to apply for mid level overseas positions. Expensive to cover expat costs and localization is the (appropriate) strategy for most agencies, so a huge demand/supply imbalance. That said, once you are in with an agency and have a foot on the ladder, they tend to ask you to keep coming back - so for example even when you can't get a break with a new organization, your previous NGO employer is happy to have you back as a 'known quantity' for other jobs later on.
So for landing that first serious professional job, you usually need either an extremely lucky break, or to have good contacts with someone in that agency (networking can be critical) or to have some way of making your CV stand out. You already seem to have some interesting overseas experience, but if you can give yourself a sectoral angle that shows your commitment and drive, this is what may give you the edge. For example, whatever you chose as your SOAS dissertation topic, chose something that you are extremely interested in, that you can get out to the field and do a bit of informal research on (if you can) and that you can become something of an expert on (at least superficially). I
he volunteer route you already know about - again, if you can relate it to your masters studies, so much the better. This may sound cynical, but the other thing is volunteering in the right place, including humanitarian disaster / reconstruction zones. If you are already in a tough location and working competently as a volunteer, and agencies are desperate to hire, then it is often just a question of time before you get offered a job. South Sudan? Haiti?
n terms of getting local work, local NGOs or think-tanks often need for well-educated native English speakers to write proposals for them, help organize research, network with international organizations and donors, set up M&E and reporting systems etc. But they are unlikely to advertise internationally - it is more opportunistic - you meet local civil society players, offer your services, get your foot on the ladder via a specific piece of work for some compensation and then hopefully get offered something longer term. I've seen this happen regularly in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and here in Kosovo, and in some ways this is the best way to make an authentic contribution according to direct local needs - rather than swanning in like most internationals who are often on rotation within an organization and know and care little for the places they are being sent to (though the pay cheque makes up for a lot).
But to do the kind of networking I mentioned above, it helps to have a starting point rather than just arriving cold in a place - that's why I was talking about the 'hooks' or entry points you might be able to secure via any MSc research you may be doing, or contacts in London with organizations / NGOs that work in places and on issues that are of interest to you. This is how I got a job with a peace/conflict resolution NGO lined up in Colombia before going out there - though I ended up not taking it when I got offered the APO break with DFID (not necessarily the right decision, you never know..)
Local/expat issue, that there is a preference for recruiting local staff rather than ex-pats in-country. However, I also know great ex-pat staff, so I'd approach things in the knowledge that it will always be a case of balance - knowing that of course it's desirable to have country/regional teams that are built in this way, but also that these teams can be enhanced through the added value of people with experience from other countries/sectors.
Exprince, Oxfam is a very experience orientated organisation - qualifications are important, but it's also important to demonstrate work that you have delivered for other organisations. You seem to be building this already, with UNICEF and in Ghana, so this is the right thing to d, We usually seek candidates with previous field experience because of our commitment to quality programmes and, pragmatically, because our jobs normally attract very many excellent candidates who do have such experience and it would make no sense not to give considerable weight to this. Although this is generally true, there are some exceptions, for example where staff move internally within Oxfam or where specific technical or high-level managerial skills are more important than field experience and other colleagues can provide this experience., It looks as if you have all the background experience to be able to get the job that you'd like to have: experience in the field and soon the theoretical knowledge., y work experience was the fundamental element that helped me in my career path, more than the Master Degree. Of course it gives weight to your application, and at the UN it has almost become a basic requirement... but for NGOs, my experience is that it is not the key point for offering a post., It seems to me that you have cruised quite successfully the seas of development., The international development industry normally requires at least 2 years experience within the field. Your internships and practical volunteer work is extremely advantageous when applying for jobs. The industry also looks favourably on higher education degrees. Both of which you are already doing., The easiest way I saw to "earn my stripes" was to get a job in the emergency field. This allowed me to excellerate through management positions and generally when people see you can handle the pressure of the emergency work they are more inclined to take you on for other jobs., A new start requires often that the candidate is willing to do some volunteer work or with little pay (local salary). I many countries quotas for INGO expats apply, i.e. Mozambique 8 % of the workforce, this is than a hurdle for INGO's and they will need to focus on the most important sector to get expats cover., From what you have said, it seems like you have the required experience to get a job in the development sector. The experience you have gained in the field will definitely place you above many candidates., You mention in your note that you'd be willing to work anywhere. You could work that to your advantage, which is to say, if you were willing to go to country X or Y you'll have a competitive advantage. Agencies want people with 5 years experience for project management posts that no one with 5 years experience would ever accept. Many agencies are still trying to recruit for positions in Haiti... then there's tchad, CAR, afghanistan, etc.
Remember: the key to any application is always to make sure your skills, competencies and experience match the requirements laid out in the Job Profile for the post
At the NGO level a good entry point is in responding to large emergencies either natural disasters or man made emergencies. You seem to have already got some experience at refugees camps. That might be a easier avenue for entry point positions. These are hardship job and susually folks with family have been reluctant to get position in places like Afghanistan or Iraq.
However, from my experience of sitting on many interview panels the most important thing is clearly laying out your experience so the panel can see how it applies to the necessary skills for the post by giving clear concrete examples.
Promote your skills It is common among international development professionals to have multiple resumes. Each version highlights and emphasizes a different core skill area to best position you for the wide range of positions available. As you seek to promote your skills, consider the many job opportunities available by carefully searching job listings on www.devex.com and other Web sites. Select only those positions for which you are truly qualified, and create multiple versions of your resume that directly address specific positions. A general resume is much less likely to be successful, particularly if you are seeking a position as technical expert. Our is a rapidly changing industry and there are new areas of prominence and focus each year. To be best positioned to promote your skills, it is critical that you remain aware of the latest sectors of prominence, funding trends, and activities of the world's leading NGOs and companies.
Wherever you live in the world, make an effort to get to know donor agency officials, academics as well as NGO and private sector representatives working in international development research. The personal connections you develop can be enormously helpful in navigating the complex and ever-changing and growing international development industry.
CV+COVERING Letters for development
a) the specific sort of role you see yourself playing in an organization and why,, If you can decide on an area of work within an international NGO that you would like to go into now, that will help: programme management, campaigning, accounting, etc. If you can get experience working in a particular area, even if nationally, then that will stand you in good stead to work in that area internationally. Fundraising is definitely the easiest area to get into since most posts are UK-based and there tends to be high staff turnover., hone down on what specifically you would like to work on. Would you want to work abroad, or in the UK? If in the UK, would it be Policy and Public Affairs, Communications, Fundraising, Communications etc..?, What sort of area of work are you interested in? Emergency reponse, policy, fundraising??? You may not know yet - but the course should be a good time to think through what sort of work interests you most at this stage., Once you've had a chance to think about this, let me know and we can talk some, http://www.linkedin.com/mbox?displayMBoxItem=&itemID=I403684397_3&trk=COMM_NI, Why do you want this job?". Making a list of the reasons you want to work in the sector would be a good approach (and could help you structure your CV), and could also help you distill the reasons into a couple of lines -- either as an answer to an interview question, or as a personal statement at the top of your CV., Perhaps the only thing I would suggest if for you to decide what sort of capacity you wish to build (health, food, economy, organisational development, conflict transformation, ..) and the target you wish to work for: children, women, community, but also which country and see if you have the language to be able actually to speak to the target. This may direct reduce the agencies you can work for and you can target them directly., is still early - I am too in this phase too - but try to find a niche, a field of expertise, you can become proficient in. Possibly, it is not what you are thinking about now, and it will change according to the job positions you will get, but try to create as long as possible a coherent path. So that you can be considered an expert (on a field, on a country, on a topic)., etworking, demonstrating passion for what you want to do (as specific as possible) and perseverance., Technical expert This is what many professionals think of when they envision an international development career. A technical expert is someone with a high level of expertise in a particular field such as infrastructure, irrigation, water and sanitation, public health, food distribution and assessment, judicial reform. These positions are generally attached to specific projects funded by governmental donor agencies including the World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.K.'s Department for International Development. These agencies normally have tight restrictions on the qualifications for technical experts. It is not uncommon for requirements to include many years of professional experience and an advanced degree, plus particular foreign language skills and substantial in-country experience. If this is the type of position you are seeking, it's important that you have sufficient technical expertise in a particular field or fields. If not, now is the time to build your qualifications toward positions of this kind. In addition, technical experts generally work in the country a project is based in. So, depending on your career level and the sector in which you work, be prepared for long-term assignments (1-3 years) in a particular country or region, and/or frequent short-term assignments to multiple locations. Such work often takes place in post-conflict regions or in areas without the comforts of cosmopolitan cities. Consider whether or not this is really what you want before investing your time and energy in this career path. The image of humanitarian relief workers doling out food and medicines in refugee camps is, in many ways, an incomplete picture. Many international relief agencies send abroad mostly technical experts with substantial field experience and specific skills. Less skilled work can often be better managed with local talent. Thus, even those with a strong interest in assisting humanitarian relief efforts around the world should consider the importance of bringing technical expertise to bear in a field where it is needed, such as health care, energy production, water and sanitation or logistics., Project manager If you want to work on international development projects but don't envision yourself spending so much time in the field or you do not qualify as a technical expert, consider a position in project management. These jobs typically are located either at field sites or local country offices of development consulting firms or non-governmental organizations. A project management position entails all aspects of coordinating development projects, including the managing a - national and expatriate - staff and the meeting project objectives. Administrative functions may involve basic duties (expense reports, invoicing, and paperwork of all kinds) and, depending on seniority level, it can include project direction, technical advice, coordination with donor agency and local government officials, and the publication of project reports. A project management position is often the first stop for young professionals interested in an international development career. With successful performance and the right projects portfolio, some short-term travel is often possible, and this can provide the experience needed, over time, for a position as a technical expert., Researcher If you are less interested in the operational activities of development projects, but rather in the underlying issues and policies that relate to global poverty, consider a position as researcher. These positions typically exist at think-tanks, nonprofit institutions (often those that are more engaged in advocacy than in implementing projects), and development agencies such as the Canadian International Development Agency or the Denmark's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As with other positions, there is a spectrum of opportunities, from research assistant positions for recent graduates to more senior positions that often require a post-doctorate or other graduate degree. These positions are often based in the capital cities of the world's richest countries, but many researchers engage in field research and thus make short-term visits to developing countries in the course of their research., Other positions These three broad categories, taken together, account for most entry-, mid-, and senior-level, if not executive-level positions. But there are some other types of positions worth noting. Firms and NGOs that receive funding from development agencies such as the Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank or Germany's Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit need to maintain close relationships with these agencies and produce proposals to receive funding. As a result, there are typically positions that entail proposal writing and business development at many development consulting firms and NGOs. In addition, the provision of technical experts for projects around the world is an enormous challenge - matching the right expert to the right project is no small task - and there are many positions available for international development recruiters. These positions often require knowledge of how specific development agencies work, as, for example, USAID and EuropeAid may have very different rules and regulations to comply with when it comes to recruiting technical experts. There are many positions that blend various aspects of these job types, but a clear understanding of each and how you can contribute to these types of positions will be enormously helpful as you position your career in international development.
hat sort of organization you'd like to work for -- NGO, multilateral, private foundation, UN, local govt, VSO, etc. They all have their place but can be worlds apart in how they operate and the sort of internal culture you'd be working in.
Choose a market Map it Find a loop, or a niche, that could be developed (e.g.:capacity building) Understand your comparative advantage. Tag yourself Dive
Dev*elop a Strong Resume - Mak*e sure you have a strong, clear and compelling resume and cover letter. See the Downlo_ad TipsforWritingEffectiveResumes.pdf . Man_y university career centers also offer guidance on resumes.
Rea*d Key Resources - The* ACT Report, Skills*, Networks and Knowledge: Careers in International Peace and Conflict Resolution offer*s guide to careers in the field based on interviews with over 60 organizations and practitioners. The document also offers 10 pages of resources for finding jobs, internships, scholarships and more. You can download the report for Downlo_ad Webreport.pdf or at_ the ACT we_bsite. Anot_her great resource is a Career_ Guide from _Sustai*nability on Corporate Social Responsibility. Idea*li*st has a*lso developed an excellent guide to Nonpro_fit Careers and a_ separate Career_s Resources Section . Als_o see the Idealist Guide _to International Volunteerism, and _the United Nations Volunt_eer Web.
start with the desired end results and work backwards from there, to how you're going to help achieve that outcome. In my experience, this is a problem that a lot of newly-qualified people have with application forms -- they fill in applications like they're writing an essay, with the "conclusion" (i.e. I fit the job spec) at the end.
I do understand how it might be difficult to try and move into the sector - our overseas volunteering opportunities are usually sourced from the local national population and most of our other international roles do require specialist skills and experience. I am sure you have been onto our website and all our vacancies are advertised there for both UK and expatriate roles including Head Office and internships. Do keep checking this regularly or you can set up a job alert for the areas you are most interested in. Helen Fawcett
Interning/volunteering also gives you insight into the rights and wrongs of an organization. Save the Children UK seems to have a need as does CARE Europe. Touch base with UNICEF UK again....keep volunteering a couple of days a week.
My experience overseas was partially thanks to luck and partially to stubbornness - I went out to Costa Rica as a volunteer and while I was there found work with other NGOs, and then with DevEx, which was all internet based research and allowed me to live overseas. In my experience many NGOs - international or local - will look to hire someone already in the country before advertising a position internationally. If you are keen to get overseas experience, beyond the usual international NGOs - Oxfam, Medicins sans frontier (they hire social scientist people to manage their projects), Save the Children, UNDP etc etc, there are positions in national NGOs where they would welcome input from a qualified professional. Of course they pay for these is not much, but it is a start from which better things flow.
t's possible to build an experiential CV, eventually getting your foot in the NGO door!!. It may involve you doing work experience, taking on an internship, or applying for a paid role that may not be what you envisage long-term, but that is a step on the ladder, making that all important break through into paid work in an NGO.
would also advise you to write directly to NGOs that you have an interest in working for. Introduce yourself, explain your strengths/interests, and see if they are interested in taking on an consultant/ (or if you have little to no experience, intern/volunteer). (I found out about the organization I am currently with while researching my MA dissertation. I wrote to them after moving to Thailand and began as a volunteer. Three years later I'm still here.) Also see what the Careers Centre has to say.
there's tremendous amount of 'chance' involved in this business. In part because its still 'emerging' as a business, and unfortunately the Human resource side of it isn't keeping pace with other elements of the humanitarian sector--technical specification, accountability, etc. For instance, though I've been in the business for 7 years, with great things on my CV, I still have difficulty getting a call back for an interview! fingers crossed that this has changed since my last job-hunt, but landing a great opportunity requires a bit more than a great CV and a strong application.
think you're best chance, especally given that you're new to the sector, is to engage with the networks you're involved in... who do you know at SOAS who know's of someone/organization that might need your skills? who do you know at unicef-UK or at save the children that you could speak with regarding their work or potential opportunities, even for an internship (which is an alternative way of getting into the field)... you found me via your online network. I think that the importance of networks in the this sector is reinforced by the obstacles HR departments present to recruiting... find someone who know's someone who works were you want to work, and build off their links... you may not have experience in the field, but your reputation in the academy may be enough to convince someone that you're trustworthy and worth the risk of deploying for a first assignment
Big INGOs nowadays tend to employ more and more local staff in countries and have less and less expatriates, if one excludes top management. This is particularly true for long term development project. Less so, for humanitarian response projects.