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Humanitarian Jobs Vault

Friday, Dec 08, 2017
by Cory Steinhauer


The definitive resource for your Humanitarian & Development job search. 

With humanitarian employment opportunities growing at 6% per year - it's a great time to explore your career pathways... but where do you start?

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The challenge for an aspiring humanitarian, indeed any aid professional, is to use the web efficiently to source work opportunities. You can waste countless hours searching through Google with any number of search terms to find the right jobs.

We’re here to give you a head start.

Our jobs vault provides the definitive list, and links, for sites to begin your career search. From the known, to the unknown, these starting points allow you to get a better grasp of the humanitarian job market - from trends to whole new areas of development expertise that you didn’t know existed.

But please, we implore you, don’t use a scattergun job search strategy. Be targeted, align with your values, and ensure the prospective role is going to maximise the knowledge and skills that you offer.

By being smart, strategic, and detail oriented in your search you are already ahead of 75% of other candidates. Yes it is competitive but most people don’t know how to sell themselves in their application… seriously, don’t you dare add ‘hobbies’ to your resume!

Each and every cover letter, resume and any other requirement, such as responses to selection criteria, must be developed specifically for that job. Don’t be the 99%… that is, lazy. Get detailed, get specific and ensure the hiring manager is crazy not to interview you.

Global sites

Reliefweb - One of the more popular sites. A good place to start to get a sense of overall demand and industry trends.

Devex - Again one of the large, well visited sites, however roles tend to be more specific with many private sector actors advertising here.

UN Jobs - Easy to use. Search by organisation, duty station or deadlines.

DevNetJobs - Another go-to site with heavy emphasis on NGO roles, but comprehensive nonetheless. Remember, link through to the advertising organisation’s website - there are always more roles there.

AlertNet (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Not a huge scope of roles, and the ones that are there tend to have a UK leaning.

Eldis - Been around a while (20 years). Reducing their jobs load at the moment… we are hoping because a site refresh is underway?!

LinkedIn - Love or loathe the social media behemoth, there is no doubt it is growing as a tool for humanitarian job seekers. How is your profile looking? Spend the time getting it schmick! A strong personal brand will allow you to link with leaders in the sector - only building upon your credibility and networks. Remember the old saying.. ‘it’s not what you know but…’

The Communication Initiative Network - Not too bad at all. Good listing of development and many humanitarian communication jobs.

Microfinance Gateway - Now we’re talking - let’s get more targeted! Not just micro-finance jobs mind you, but a definite angle towards finance based roles… both programmatic and operational.

Jobs4Development - Site itself is pretty limited, to the point you wonder if anyone is driving it anymore. Better bet is to follow their Facebook page (link on their site).

Idealist - Big, well maintained listing - dominant focus on US domestic market so make sure to use the filters to target your results.

Global Recruitment - Low number of opportunities targeting senior humanitarians. Not updated regularly though, so not a priority site.

Bond - UK domestic opportunities with occasional international jobs. Best to use as an environmental scan to get a sense of trends in the sector.

Aidboard - Still establishing themselves. Not loads of jobs at this time, but do keep a sneaky eye on them.

Aid Jobs - Super simple site to use… may feel slightly old school but does the job!

UN Job Finder - Another of the big boys. A mainstream site so application numbers can be high. We reiterate… be smart. Use this site as a guide, link through to the organisation’s site for even more roles - amazing how many people stop on these sites and don’t dig any further.

UN Careers - Similar postings to UN Jobs. A big, regular updater so use as your environmental scan, unless something amazing jumps out at you... then by all means apply!

Human Rights Careers - Sadly not a lot of roles - site has potential for specificity.

Twitter - Don’t tweet? You should, even if it's only to get access to more humanitarian job opportunities. Our favourites include:




Domestic (Australasian sites)

EthicalJobs - Regularly updated, well maintained site. Good place to start when exploring the domestic market, both the local community sector but also for humanitarian agency Head Office roles.

Do Good Jobs - Similar to Ethical Jobs but angling at the New Zealand market. Comprehensive listings on an easy to use platform.

Probono - A sneaky one many in the domestic job search competition forget to get onto… don’t be that person.

ACFID - Australian Council For International Development; the Australian peak body. Good starting point for sourcing domestic opportunities with international NGO’s. Not a user friendly site so be patient, it's worth it.

CID - Council For International Development. A bit of a pattern emerging here… this is the Kiwi version of ACFID.

LinkedIn - Seriously see above! Get in on it. Make your profile amazing (align it to your resume) and begin to network, network, network… don’t know how? Google. There are boundless articles and blog pieces on creating a killer LinkedIn profile but also how to network with it.

Seek - Stating the obvious we know, but for the domestic community sector it is one of the inevitable starting points. For New Zealand just add .co.nz


Year 13 - The “home of post school options”. For those of us who don’t remember the 90’s this is a cool site that clearly outlines volunteering options.

AVI - Rebranded from Australian Volunteers International. Been a round 65 years so know a thing or two about international volunteering gigs.

Australian Volunteers for International Development - DFAT funded program. Focuses on placing skilled volunteers, so a good first step for mid-life professionals testing the humanitarian waters.

VSA - NZ organisation with arguably the longest experience sending Kiwi’s offshore.

A word here: Volun-Tourism is a growing industry… that much is known, however regulation has not kept pace. Please do your background research and look at the organisation through a 'reality' lens - if it sounds too good to be true... well!

*Remember your unskilled labour is the last thing the developing world needs.


Austern - Australian start up providing some interesting global exposure opportunities for those finding their way.

UN Internships - Many an intern opportunity with our global governance body. Can be very competitive so make sure you are up for the challenge.

Asian Development Bank Internship Program - Keeping it in the region folks!

Note: Most of the larger multi-lateral agencies (UNDP, World Bank, FAO etc.) will have some form of internship program. Hit up their sites for intake and application procedures. Excitingly we are also seeing an increase in other humanitarian agencies taking on interns… from Oxfam to ACFID… so keep your search wide.

Private sector contractors

Coffey - With people in over 80 countries there are a myriad of opportunities. Link here and then click on ‘current opportunities’.

Palladium Group - A few legacy brands now under one banner. One of the big boys. Diverse and specific skill sets required.

Chemonics - Oh hello. Washington DC based with domestic and international opportunities. One of the larger international players… heavy emphasis on US government funded projects.

Adam Smith International - The DFID darling. A range of staff and consultant opportunities. A bit of a roundabout website so look for ‘current opportunities’ to get to the meat on the bones. Have an office in Sydney too… DFAT darling too?

Creative - Nice site, easy to use. As we wrote this there were 96 jobs online - yep, 96!

DAI - 99 jobs at the time of print… seeing a trend here people?

Abt Associates - 50 years and counting.

Cardno - Sadly a super annoying jobs filter on the site. Get through that and the candidate field may have been whittled down already.

AECOM - Infrastructure and assets focused. Filter by country for the easiest way to use the career site.

International NGO’s

A simple list of 25.

To give this list some perspective, in Australia there are 60,000 operating NGO’s alone… do the maths and globally there are quite a few!

Note: For the big ones, like Oxfam or the Red Cross there will be jobs posted on the global sites and then others posted on national sites. Where applicable we have linked through to the Australian and New Zealand sites.


  1. ICRC - AU and NZ

  2. Save the Children - AU and NZ

  3. IRC

  4. Oxfam - Jobs with both Oxfam International and listing from the global affiliate offices.

  5. ChildFund

  6. NRC

  7. DRC

  8. CARE - Check out the UK and AU sites for more.

  9. Technoserve

  10. MSF - Check regional offices too… like AU

  11. Populations Services International

  12. Mercy Corps

  13. Ashoka

  14. The Acumen Fund

  15. One Acre Fund

  16. World Vision - AU and NZ

  17. BRAC

  18. Gates Foundation

  19. Clinton Foundation

  20. Fred Hollows Foundation

  21. Plan International

  22. PATH

  23. Handicap International - Check out the UK vacancies as well

  24. Marie Stopes International

  25. ACTED

Not enough - here is the list for DFAT (Australian government) accredited NGO’s based down under. These are purely ‘accredited’ with the government... the discussion on civil society independence we can save for another blog!

Well, that should get you started! Quite a list.

Remember - persistence and patience are key. The right job for you may not be online today, or tomorrow, but it will arrive. Through determined searching and, more importantly, high quality application materials (cover letter, resume, LinkedIn profile etc.) your breakthrough job and/or your dream job is within reach.

Now go out and make the change!


What did we miss? Leave us a comment and we'll check out your recommendation and add it to the vault!

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