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Essential Reading for Preparing Yourself for a Career in International Development

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Essential Reading for Preparing Yourself for a Career in International Development

March 14, 2024

Essential Reading for a Career in International Development

Embarking on a career in international development can open avenues for work that contributes to the progress of developing countries. Working in this field can provide you with opportunities to create mechanisms that strengthen a nation’s economy and areas of peace and security. For example, a study published in Sage Journals mentions how intergovernmental organizations helped facilitate responses to the global COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re passionate about making a difference, then working in international development means you’re on the right track.


But before you kickstart your career, it’s important to make the necessary preparations. One way of doing so is by curating an essential reading list that can help you get ready for the job. Here are some titles that can help prepare you for a career in international development:


A War on Global Poverty: The Lost Promise of Redistribution and the Rise of Microcredit by Joanne Meyerowitz 


If you’re particularly interested in the areas of gender and development, then you should grab a hold of Joanne Meyerowitz’s A War on Global Poverty. This book narrates how impoverished women in developing countries became the intended recipients of international development efforts in the form of microcredit loans. According to a review published in Yale Journal, Meyerowitz argued that these efforts are not enough to address systemic gender inequalities that continue to prevail in many parts of the globe. This is an insightful read that can spark ideas on improving or crafting more inclusive international development policies.


United Nations Reform by Eric Fawcett and Hanna Newcombe 


Kickstarting a job at a huge intergovernmental organization like the United Nations (UN) can be very exciting. With Eric Fawcett and Hanna Newcombe’s United Nations Reform, you can better understand the broad range of UN activities and access hundreds of reform ideas and suggestions that can strengthen the organization’s global agenda. This book, along with other texts on the UN, is available from the digital library Everand, which also allows you to easily highlight, annotate, and customize text sizes and styles for an improved reading experience. The text offers a perceptive overview of what the UN does and ought to do in the coming years.  


Reflections on a United Nations’ Career: An Insider’s Account by Ian Howie 


If you’re a fresh graduate looking forward to working for the UN, Ian Howie’s Reflections on a United Nations’ Career is a must-read. The book offers a detailed personal account of Howie’s career in the UN – from working under a temporary contract under the International Labor Organization to helping achieve the goals of the UN Fund for Population Activities in many developing countries like Kenya and Ghana. A review on E-International Relations mentions how the book can prepare you for the competitive environment and the highs and limitations of UN service. This text is essential reading that can offer insights into what it’s like to work in the global aid sector. 


Landing Your Dream Job at the United Nations by OpenIGO 


The UN has a competitive recruitment process, so preparing for your application and interview is crucial. Our previous article on landing a UN job provides access to a valuable book that can give you the upper hand. Landing Your Dream Job at the United Nations offers relevant content that can help you stand out. With tips on how to ace the interview and by showing the main document samples required by the selection process, this book can lay the groundwork for a successful job application at the UN. It also has an overview of the UN System and even gives suggestions on how to write an effective cover letter and craft the perfect resume or curriculum vitae.


Working in the field of international development can be fulfilling and challenging at the same time. To help you kickstart your journey, visit the Openigo website for international career resources and tips on preparing for the rigorous selection processes.

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