Information From Global Development Career Night

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On October 24th, the Career Center hosted a Global Development Career Night, where alumni and friends of the University participated in a panel discussion about how to break into the field. Here are the top 5 takeaways:

  1. Data, Data, Data: Amna Adrees, who has worked at both USAID and the United Nations Foundation, explained how a data visualization class that she took at UVA set her apart during interviews. The class gave her experience with HTML, Illustrator, and GIS. All interviewers she has met have asked her about it. She has seen a huge push for understanding data software programs, as people want policy making to be data driven.
  2. Overseas Experience: Chris Perine, an Environment Management Specialist at Chemonics International, discussed the value of familiarity with countries outside of the United States. Whether it is an internship, study abroad, or some time spent living internationally, he looks for students who already have some familiarity with other cultures and can adjust to new surroundings quickly.
  3. Learn to Write Concisely: Karen Juckett, a Development Officer at USAID, spoke about the importance of conveying only the essential information. When briefing a boss about a critical issue, she wants an employee to be able to be as concise and clear as possible. Learn to boil down the facts to around a page, and try to take classes that provide experience with memo writing or that focus on developing your writing skills.
  4. Use Devex: Devex is the job database for the global development community.  Students can create free accounts to see most job postings and media content. Katrina Boyd, the External Affairs Coordinator at HarvestPlus, highlighted the usefulness of the site during her job search. Students in an active full-time job search in their final year of school can request a full access account by emailing Dreama Johnson at dreama@virginia.edu.
  5. Make Connections: Amanda Ryan, a Senior Analyst at DAI, was able to connect to her current job because of a friend who was doing his capstone at her organization. She emphasized the importance of tapping into your networks, and looking for people you already know who might be able to help you get through the door. Be open to all of the people you meet!