How to transition from international development to the private sector?
May 17, 2013 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Are there companies, online resources, or in-person services that can help me figure out how to enter into the private sector after years of being in international development?

For the past six years, I have been engaged in international development to varying degrees. I am currently a full-time Programme Officer for a project at the UN. After June, I will need to transition to another job if I want to stay in my current location (NYC). I know exactly what I want to do in international development (ICT4D), but if my leads don't pan out, I'm entertaining the thought of entering into the private sector; the problem is that I don't know what to search for title-wise or responsibility-wise. I've got a strong practical skill set, including writing, editing, qualitative research, web design, basic statistical methods, and professional proficiency in French. I have worked in a number of subjects within international development, including disaster risk management, public health, inclusive technology and education.

In the interest of keeping this vague, are there services, companies, or websites that might be able to steer me in the right direction to figure out how to transition into the private sector, supposing I have no other requirements besides wanting to be based in New York? Equally, are there recommendations on companies (consulting, banking, etc.) that are known to be friendly in granting informational interviews? I know from past experience that the career services of my alma maters (undergrad and grad) don't staff people that could give me any practical advice. I plan on reaching out to friends who are currently employed in the private sector in NYC to see if they can set me up to talk with someone. Any other direction beyond that would be welcome!
posted by msk1985 to Work & Money (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by BenPens at 8:09 AM on May 17, 2013

Here's an idea for you: search LinkedIn with certain keywords (such as United Nations) and see if you can find information about where people are working now who used to work for the UN and other international development organizations. That will give you some ideas about the names and types of companies they now work for, and you might even be able to network with them.

Speaking of networking, wouldn't your own colleagues and ex-colleagues at the UN and other international development agencies who have made such transitions, or know people who have made such transitions, be the best source of information on the topic? Or is it currently not possible for you to mention to anyone that you may be leaving?
posted by Dansaman at 8:29 AM on May 17, 2013

Response by poster: No, I am openly searching, but the problem is a lot (if not most) people at the UN don't make these career moves! Out of all my current colleagues in our New York office, less than 10 percent have had any significant professional experience outside our agency of the UN, let alone in the private sector. My skill set and knowledge base are much more applicable cross-sector than most UN people I know.
posted by msk1985 at 8:17 PM on May 17, 2013

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