DevelopmentAid runs a specialized department called the Career Center, providing expert advice on appropriate career, project, or CV format choice, in order to maximize the individual’s chances of succeeding in the international development sector. Advising experts implies supporting them in the choice of a membership suited to their professional needs, helping them tailor their CV or cover letters to suit a particular organization’s format, and upon request, broadcast their candidatures to potential employers in order to boost their recruitment chances. In a way, a Career Advisor helps their clients use DevelopmentAid’s tools to their full professional advantage.
To better understand what being a Career Advisor to international experts is like, we’ve quizzed our colleagues from the Career Center. Undeniably, their first-hand experience painted an accurate and interesting picture of the position in question 🙂
What do Career Advisors do?
Firstly, we were interested in what our colleagues thought about the essence of their work. Thus, Elena told us she believes it lies in showing experts what DevelopmentAid can offer them in terms of career tools. Similarly, Natalia believes that her job supports experts in finding their way on our platform and reach their goals, an opinion also shared by her colleague Eugenia.
Next up, we wanted to know what it’s like to interact with international experts on a daily basis. All of our interviewees noted that discussing with experts is a fulfilling task, as they are:
“Extremely knowledgeable people and they are interested in what we are explaining to them”, says Natalia.
Indeed, Nina also states that working with internationals is “not difficult and fun in some ways”. However, Elena also mentions that it comes with its difficulties, as all people are different and sometimes, complicated.
Perks of being a Career Advisor
Naturally, we were also interested to find out about our colleagues’ favourite part of being a Career Advisor. Elena notes that besides obvious perks such as a motivating salary, getting to talk to people from all over the world and establishing lasting professional connections makes it worth it. Nina told us that she enjoys “learning while working, whether it’s from my colleagues or the consultants themselves”.
In a similar vein, Natalia notes: “The liveliness of the job: you always have what to do and the results are very motivating.”
Nevertheless, our colleagues mentioned some challenges in working with internationals, such as the difficulty of reaching them and different accents or types of speech.
Nina mentioned that for her, it is all about: “Cultural differences. Some tend to seem very arrogant when telling us NO, some that aren’t interested just keep telling us yes, we follow up with them for years, they keep postponing their subscription, and you never know whether they are lying to you or not.”
Our colleagues also recalled times when they’ve impacted their clients’ careers, which is the essence of an advisor’s role. Thus, Natalia recalled when her clients got assignments in Bhutan and Sierra Leone, making her proud of the teamwork involved. Similarly, every encounter that ends up in membership and reached goal is memorable for all Career Advisors.
Lastly, we wanted to hear our colleagues’ advice on the secret to success in their trade. What are the most important traits for being a good Career Advisor? We were told these were:
“Patience, agreeableness, persistence, assertiveness. All are qualities that will guarantee successful communication with anyone regardless of colour and culture, not just with experts.”
What would our Career Advisors tell potential candidates looking to make a career in this area? Well, all of them said that just trying out your luck and applying is the best advice, but they’ve also told us a perfect candidate has to:
“Love what they do, because they do a great job!”