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How to get a Job with an International NGO

Getting a job with an international NGO is what many job applicants desire because it’s a high Pay job with  mouth-watering allowances. But how to go about getting the job possess great challenge to so many job seekers. Currently, there are approximately fifty thousand International Non-governmental organizations and millions of local non-governmental organizations worldwide, with India alone having over two million NGOs.  As a result, many of International Non-governmental organizations are looking for workers and employees to help them carryout their projects and interventions.

How to get a Job with an International NGO
Getting International NGO Jobs

But the key question remains, “how can one get a job with an international NGO?” as it is difficult and highly competitive to secure.

In this article, we’ve outlined steps on how to get a job with an International NGOs. But before the outline, we looked at what an NGO is and the different types of NGO as a guide in choosing the right international NGO for your career progression.

Read: Job Websites in Nigeria – Top 10

  What is an NGO

NGO is an acronym that is refers to as Non-governmental Organization. And it is defined by the United Nation’s Department of global communications “as a non-profit, voluntary citizen’s group that organized on a local, national or international level to address issues in support of the public good”. In other words, an NGO can be group as National NGO (local NGO) or international NGO.

An International NGO is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that operates on a global scale. It’s also known as the development sector or non-profit organization.

Two different types of non-government organization essentially exist according to World Bank. They are Operational NGO and Advocacy NGO. Operational non-government organization is a non-profit organization that specializes on development projects in a form of Intervention such as community development projects etc. while advocacy NGO is a non-profit organization that promote some specific issues such as encouragement of social responsibility, Human right, Girls child education, Gender equality  and so on.

Here are steps to get a job with an International NGO if you’re taking your career path in that line:

Steps to get a Job with an International NGO

Acquire Knowledge of NGO

If you want to get a job with an international NGO, the first step is to acquire relevant knowledge on International NGO.

When one of my family members told me about his new employment with a renowned International NGO earlier this year; I was curious to ask him, “How were you able to get a new International NGO?”  Because I knew he was already working with an International NGO. And I wondered how in a country where getting a job is a hot cake, he always get juicy International NGO jobs that even pays in US dollars.  His answer is, “Knowledge” (acquire it, go the extra mile to acquire the relevant knowledge needed to work with an International non-governmental organization; even if it means paying to learn, it worth it).

Several well-known academic institutions provide development courses, though the majority of them are only available at the master’s degree level, enroll in a relevant course and obtain the certificate. This is a non-negotiable step that will ensure your employment with an International NGOs because those with relevant specialties are always given priority. At least obtain a bachelor’s degree in areas such as Social sciences (e.g. International relations, economics, political science, etc.), Health (e.g. Nursing science, laboratory sciences etc.) and other science related courses such as agricultural sciences, computer science etc. In toto, the knowledge of civil society, international affairs, cultural understanding, and relevant certificate among others is perquisite and highly needed when seeking for a job with an international NGO.

Read Also: 10 most asked Job Interview Questions and Answers

Get relevant skills/Work Experiences

Getting a job with a local NGO may not require experience or special skill but as for getting a job with an International NGOs, acquiring relevant skill or work experience is an important step.  So before you apply for an international NGO job, make sure you’ve gotten the relevant skills or work experience. Some of specialized skills you may need to get a job with an international NGO include things like:

  • Monitoring And Evaluation skills
  • Digital Innovation
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Project Management
  • Project Design
  • Proposal Writing
  • Data Collection
  • Procurement
  • Cultural/Language Understanding
  • Grant management
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Graphic Design and many more.

Well, this should not call for panicking. You can actually get some of these skills by joining and learning free at the level of a local non-governmental organization. And when you’re accepted into a local NGO freely, just know that you’re just there as a volunteer and you are there purposely to get work experience. The truth is that most of these International NGO do not have time to train their new workers the basic industry knowledge, even though, they are always working on capacity building. As such, you need to go somewhere else to acquire the basic skill of working with international NGO. This will give you an edge over your competitors seeking for a job with an International NGO.

Display Acquired skill/work Experience in Resume

The next step is to display your acquired knowledge/experience through your effective resume construction. One thing is to acquire work experience; the other is to effectively display it on your resume.  A good written resume or CV always attract the attention of job employers, international NGO is no exception. It will speak about your personality and career achievements before the human resource person when you’re not present to defend yourself. So ensure you put up a good resume if you want to be called for an interview whenever you apply for any International NGO job.

Read: How to Prepare for a Job Interview in Nigeria – 6 steps Guide

Work as a Volunteer

Working as a Volunteer is the next step you can take to get a job with an international NGO. Hundreds of thousands of people, who work as permanent staffs in the development sector today start off as volunteers, interns or supporting staffs. Volunteering is, of course the most effective avenue to fill your curriculum vitae (CV) with the skills and talents that International NGOs seeks. Volunteering is free and you’ll gain a lot of skills and experiences, above all it will land into getting an International NGO job.

I’ll suggest you volunteer at a local NGO to gain the requisite knowledge you need in securing an International NGO job. Identify a local NGO that is in line with the field of your choice and apply for either voluntary or non-voluntary internship.

Voluntary internship through:

Cold visit

  • Email
  • Phone call
  • Social media handle

Physical visit

  • One on one visit to their location/office
  • Meet staffs behind closed doors to discuss your volunteering aim
  • Meet and establish professional relationships with the NGO

Non-voluntary internship through:

This is ONLY applicable when an internship or volunteer programs are advertise or posted by International NGO like Save the Children, UNESCO, Action Aid, WFP, Plan International, among other International NGOs.

Regularly visit NGOs/International NGO JOB platforms

Finally, to get a job with an international Ngo;  regularly visit international NGO job platforms for new job openings. There are hundreds of thousands of websites and platforms that advertise International NGO jobs opening, you can regularly visit them to apply for an international NGO job.

Some of the websites and platforms listed below are great places where International NGOs jobs are advertise:

  • Devex
  • My jobmag
  • Aid Workers
  • JobsinNGOs
  • United Nations Career
  • United Nations Talent Pool
  • Idealist
  • Relief Web

These websites/platforms are trust worthy, and you may use them to find your dream International NGO jobs, as well as a lot of other opportunities. Platforms like Devex, United Nations Volunteer, United Nations Career among other platforms do advertises direct United Nations job opening daily.

Things to Know Before Taking up a Volunteer Job in an NGO

Before seeking to work as a volunteer in any non-profit organization, some of the things you need to know include:

  • Your Passion or interest – which fields your passion fall into for example agriculture, health, and so on. In the long run, which International NGO do you want to work for and in what capacity? You must be clear to yourself. If your interest is in agriculture, for example, you should be expected to work towards NGOs that advocate for or intervene in agriculture related issues rather than Education, Science, or Justice, among other fields.


  • Networking Networking within the development sector appears to be the best of all tips for landing an International NGO job, more so than any other sector. When you’re recommended by people who work for an NGO, you have an advantage in getting a job in the organization because most International NGO job openings are disseminated among existing staffs for recommendations before being advertised to the public. If you network effectively, you will have a better chance of being recommended by your networks to work for their respective International NGO.


In conclusion, there are so many international NGOs seeking for innovative and idea driven individuals who can help carry out their course, projects and interventions.  If your passion or interest is to work with an international NGO, follow the steps above stringently you’ll definitely get a job with international NGO.

See the the Top Paying Government Jobs in Nigeria in case you want to get government jobs

All the best of luck!


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