Not For Profit Careers: Aid Workers

Aid workers include practically every profession, but their career paths are quite different. Aid agencies, particularly the big agencies like Red Cross and Oxfam, have jobs in practically every possible professional field. A career with one of the world's relief organizations is like nothing else.

These are careers superimposed on careers. Whatever your profession, your career moves into a totally different mode with aid work. Basic qualifications are obtained normally, but in the aid work field, the entire career spectrum changes.

Aid work career environments

In aid work, the jobs and the work are adapted to the needs of the relief task environment. Therefore, the career path is altered, in some cases drastically. No two aid jobs are the same, and none of them are in the same models as their mainstream equivalents. Aid work can be tough, demanding, and grueling, but it can also produce dazzling opportunities and unique, astonishing careers.

Aid work creates career paths. For example, a job in a developing country setting up a power supply will create opportunities for related upscale work elsewhere. Experience and proven skills matter in the aid environment, and the next job could well be based on creating a power grid infrastructure in a disaster area. These jobs are particularly demanding, and as professional credentials, they're hard to beat. Some of the toughest jobs on Earth are done by aid agencies.

The aid agencies base their hiring on purely practical approaches, getting the right people for the jobs. They need the best people they can get. They also tend to attract highly dedicated people, so their standards are higher. Working for one of these agencies is a testimony to professional abilities. A good percentage of the top people in any profession are those either currently or previously directly involved in aid work or related work.

Starting a career in aid work

If you're a skilled person looking for a career like no other, the aid agencies are always recruiting. You'll need to check with the agencies directly. Their websites and HR people are good sources of current information, and your time definitely won't be wasted. Local recruitment offices for the big aid agencies are easy to find, and you can keep in contact for job opportunities.

If you're not yet qualified, and you're interested in aid work, it's a good idea to contact the agencies to get advice directly from them. First hand information is always valuable, and in this case it's vital. Some careers have special requirements. They need things like internationally accredited qualifications for medical practitioners, because you can't practice medicine in other countries without them. This is all information you need for your career, and it's free.

It's common to see top professionals moving out of the mainstream and into aid work. The big professional challenges are in the aid work area, and it's where their talents are most desperately needed. There's no such thing as a "reformed aid worker."