262 - How to Find a Humanitarian Job
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How to Find a Humanitarian Job

Do you recognize the feeling? That nibbling need deep inside, a desire to make a difference, to have an impact on the life of a vulnerable person and the community as a whole? An excellent way to fulfill that need is to join the humanitarian community in the work that they do. But first, how do you find a humanitarian job?

Plenty of ways to look for a humanitarian job

There are plenty of sources to find a humanitarian job. In fact, at times it feels quite overwhelming to see all the choice on offer. Here are possible pathways to follow.

  • Look for specialized humanitarian online groups. There are a lot of platforms that specialize in humanitarian vacancies. ReliefWeb is one of those sites that is filled with humanitarian job openings. It’s also a great source to inform yourself on what is happening in the sector.
  • Go straight to the source and contact the agencies that regularly employ humanitarian workers, like Oxfam or Doctors Without Borders. Most large organizations have a section for jobs. If you don’t know where to start, there are plenty of directories of NGOs on the web.
  • And when you’ve found your favorite organizations online, make sure you follow them on social media. Subscribe to their newsletters, RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, and any other platform there is. Keep up with what NGOs and humanitarian agencies are doing.
  • Keeping up with the news and knowing what’s happening where could give you the edge. If an organization is named during an emergency, you’ll know they’re already working in the affected, or if not, that it will happen pretty soon. So get in touch with them and see if you can be of assistance to them. An excellent source of information about who’s working where is the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI).
  • These days it’s easy to get in direct contact with people on the ground. Read their blogs, contact them and ask questions. They might not be able to offer you a job themselves, but these compassionate workers will be the first to know if something is happening in their corner of the world.

Another consideration some aspirational humanitarians make is one of just showing up at the site of a disaster and apply right at the spot. Unfortunately, it’s far from certain you’ll get a positive response, the answers are quite mixed. Some agencies are delighted since it is hard to get qualified people for short-term jobs. Simply showing up will increase your chances of finding work.

But there are many NGOs who won’t welcome with open arms immediately. They prefer their standard procedures to be followed. People have launched successful humanitarian careers by just being there, but many others have tried and failed. If you do choose to try your luck, try to determine what shortages exist and bring supplies, but only what is really necessary.

Another consideration some aspirational humanitarians make is one of just showing up at the site of a disaster and apply right at the spot. Unfortunately, it’s far from certain you’ll get a positive response, the answers are quite mixed. Some agencies are delighted since it is hard to get qualified people for short-term jobs. Simply showing up will increase your chances of finding work.

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