How To Work at an NGO

NGOs focus on humanitarian and activist causes around the world.Most NGOs offer internship, part-time, and full time jobs, even though they are usually held up by donations and volunteers.If you want to make a living while improving the world, these positions are for you.Understanding where you want to work, what they’re looking for, and how to apply will increase your chances of landing a dream position.

Step 1: Do you want to do something?

Take some time to think about what you want out of your job.If you want to make a lot of money, NGOs may not be the best option.If you want to travel, provide aid to people, or work toward a specific moral goal, NGOs may be a perfect fit.

Step 2: Look for an organization that matches your goals.

You should look for an organization that is concerned with the same issues as you are.World Vision and CARE International are groups that can help you travel to foreign countries.If you want to work in a specific field, like education, sports, or animal care, look for an organization with jobs in that arena.If you want to apply for a job, try to find 4 or 5 large NGOs that you enjoy working for.The World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations offer full, searchable NGOs databases broken down into areas of interest.

Step 3: They have a mission statement and goals.

The specific aims of each group will vary wildly, though most NGOs are dedicated to some sort of activist or humanitarian goal.Look for a listed mission statement and point-by-point group goals on their website.Make sure you align your moral and ethical beliefs with any NGOs you are interested in.

Step 4: You can find out what they look for in job applicants.

Different NGOs have different needs.To meet and exceed their expectations, look closely at what your NGOs requires.This information can be found on the group’s website under a “Careers” or “Get Involved” section.Acumen looks for individuals with general degrees and work experience in similar positions.Doctors without Borders looks for trained, licensed professionals.

Step 5: Donate your time to local charities.

Charity work is important since NGOs focus on activism and aid.Take time to volunteer at your local food bank, homeless shelter, and similar organizations if you can.Those with significant volunteer experience will be hired by NGOs over those with little or none.Local charities and non-profit organizations can use VolunteerMatch to find volunteers.

Step 6: A second language can be learned.

Learning a second language is an asset for groups specializing in international travel and aid.You can get further with small languages isolated to specific areas of interest, such as Hindi, Bengali, or Marathi for India, though popular languages like Spanish, French, and Chinese are always good.For the Middle East, there are Persian, Farsi, Arabic, or Kurdish.There is a language for the Philippines.

Step 7: Local jobs and internships can give you real-world experience.

It is possible to get a local job or internship related to the organization you want to work for.If you want to work at an animal shelter, serve as a tutor, or go into animal rights, you can do this.Government boards and services can be used to find internship opportunities in smaller cities and towns.internship opportunities can be found in your degree program.

Step 8: You can get a college degree.

Most organizations give priority to those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, with some even requiring graduate-level studies.It is possible to get a degree in a field related to your organization, such as medicine or cultural studies, or something that can translate to many different NGOs.A bachelor’s degree is usually required for entry-level NGOs.A degree in education, public health, business management, or urban planning is required for upper-level and specialized NGOs.You can still apply if you don’t have a degree.If you have significant work or volunteer experience, some organizations will wave education requirements.

Step 9: There are job openings or internships.

As with all professions, NGOs have sporadic job openings, so keep an eye out for what they have listed and when more become available.If there aren’t any positions listed, contact the organization’s Public Relations team to see if you can leave your resume.In addition to the organization’s website, there are other places where you can find job openings for NGOs.

Step 10: Prepare your resume.

In that order, place emphasis on relevant work experience, prior volunteer work, and education in your resume.You should include a 2 to 3 sentence summary at the beginning of the document.Along with listing your general duties at each job and charity, include a brief statement about what you personally achieved, such as: Created and managed 3 fundraisers for the local crisis center.12 low-income families were helped to build houses.There were seminars on preventing child abuse.

Step 11: There is a cover letter.

Just like applying for regular jobs, you should send a cover letter with your resume.In addition to work experience and qualifications, include 2 to 3 sentences about what you can bring to the organization’s mission and why you care about this type of work.Small anecdotes are fine, but make sure the stories are short and relate to your qualifications and goals.I have always wanted to help people, and I believe now more than ever that this is the best way to do that.

Step 12: Apply.

You need to double check your resume, cover letter, and any additional texts.Send in your application after taking a deep breath.They may ask for an interview or skill test to see if you are right for the organization.It means your dream job is somewhere else, so keep applying.Major organizations get tons of applications every year, so a rejection is not a statement about your qualifications or character.

Step 13: Have a successful interview.

If you get called back for a job interview, make sure it goes well.Make sure you are clean and groomed, refresh yourself on the specifics of the job you applied for, and dress in business formal attire.Arrive early and bring a copy of your resume.Some of the questions that most interviewers will ask are: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” and “Why are you interested in this line of work?”

Step 14: Stay focused on the cause.

The initial spark of motivation may be dull when you do something for a long time.Take some time to remember why you took the job in the first place.Try to remember why this work means so much to you when you talk to your coworkers about how you are feeling.For short-term work, try to stay in touch with the people you helped via letters, e-mails, or phone calls.Take pictures throughout the process to see the impact you have had.

Step 15: You should be aware of world news.

Major events and political shifts can change the way activism and humanitarian work is done.Stay up to date with laws, polls, and movements related to your cause by reading from a variety of sources, especially those located in countries you work with.Many NGOs give their employees and volunteers a list of resources.

Step 16: It’s a good idea to be flexible with work.

Some NGOs act like 9 to 5 jobs where you clock in and clock out.Others will place demands on where you live and what you do.Try to live a lifestyle that can accommodate your employer’s expectations.If you travel a lot, try to keep your belongings small and portable.If you work odd hours, try to find long-distance friends that you can keep in touch with.

Step 17: You should plan a family with your job in mind.

Many NGOs working in third-world countries, war zones, and refugee camps have no work-life balance, a fact that can strain family relationships.Try to find someone who understands your job and how important it is to you.If you already have a spouse or children, make sure to spend as much time with them as you can and listen to any concerns they have about your job.