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If I ask the question again, will the answer be different?

January 16, 2015

Q. Hi Nick,
I’m currently completing a MSc in International disaster management in the UK, however when searching for jobs within this area, all are asking for 3 years minimum experience. How can I break through into this career paradigm with having little experience? Un paid work is unfortunately not an option for me right now, (student debts etc) so I would be really grateful for any advice you could give.
Thank you,

A. So I get this question a lot. In fact, the question is essentially what this whole site is about. It’s my best attempt to answer the question of how to get your first job. Let me summarize for you though:

Entry level ex-pat recruitment is broken from the perspective of the applicant. There are essentially no entry level expatriate positions*. You need to get field experience living and working in the kinds of places you want to get a job. You’ll want to look at internships, volunteer positing, VSO, independent travel etc. You should leverage your professional contacts through your MSc, and continue to build those contacts as you job-search.

On the subject of grad-school debt, this is one of the reasons I recommend putting off graduate school until after you have a few years of field experience under your belt. Sorry not to have better news – it’s tough out there, but not impossible.

Good luck!


* That’s not strictly true – there are some, but they are so few, and so competitive, that we’ll gloss over them for the short version.

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