Recommended readings and resources for the Young Professionals International Affairs Training Conference

In preparation for our Young Professionals International Affairs Training Conference, co-hosted with the Young Diplomats of Canada, we have collected several articles we hope will be useful for people interested in a career in the international affairs sector. The first article, “The Life of A Diplomat,” features an interview with Doug Holland, a Canadian Foreign Service Officer in Barbados. The interview, conducted by his daughter Eva Holland, provides a brief look into the life of a Canadian Foreign Service Officer. Mr. Holland discusses the difficulties of his position, such as moving countries every three years, social/cultural/physical isolation, and the extensive and competitive interview process. However, there are many perks to the job, like the salary, a life of travel, and trying to “make a difference in the world. The article also features links to several countries’ Foreign Affairs departments.

The second article, “UNjobfinder debunks 10 common myths about UN career,” was chosen to help those interested in working for a large IO, like the United Nations. Written by the people behind UNjobfinder, this article seeks to debunk commonly held myths about having (and getting) a career with the UN. Some of the myths debunked: donor countries are overrepresented among UN staff, the UN prefers hiring their own people, and that you have a job for life once you have a UN contract. The UNjobfinder site also offers career resources and job postings that could be useful for anyone interested in a career with a large IO.

For those interested in the INGO sector, we have two articles, The first one, written byNGO professional, Robin Toal, titled “NGO Careers: How to get a job in a NGO.” This article (and site) offers many insightful tips on how to break into this sector, inter alia, professional development advice, the importance of volunteering, and links to job boards. The final article we chose comes from Forbes and it offers up seven tips for international aid workers. It takes a certain kind of person to be successful in this field, and this article offers a quick overview of the essential skills and characteristics needed to succeed in this high-stress, high-risk environment.

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