Sudan & Employment in General.

Submitted by Joel_nomad on December 18, 2006 - 1:47am.


After months of fruitless job search I have decided to try a post for advice. Im in a strange middle ground, where I am finding it difficult to advance with the job search. I am not a 35 year old with years of experience, but I’m not 20 years old with just a degree. I have been applying to perhaps 3-4 jobs per week, with zero success. I would not feel so bad if I got a return email saying “I’m sorry but we are looking for this..” I have not received a single response…no interview. Nothing.

So, I need to change things up. I have attached my resume, and was wondering if a few people could have a look and tell me what you think. Is it my experience? Style?

I have the dream of working in Sudan, and have been specifically applying to jobs in the Project management and field coordinator type positions. Even though I have solid experience in logistics, I fear being “pigeon holed” into this category.

Should I take any position just to get my feet on the ground and network?
What am I doing wrong?

Thank you all for your time, and support.

In Peace,

Joel Bergeron

[edit by Tom L (Admin) / Reason: no CVs please Joel!)

Submitted by myraidgoups on December 18, 2006 - 4:35am.

Hello Joel,

It might help if you would indicate what sort of jobs you are applying for. Input would probably be very different for a job as e.g. a security manager for a small NGO in Sudan from e.g. a food security officer for a UN agency in Zimbabwe (just two totally fictitious examples that however might lead to different reactions).


Submitted by jcravens42 on December 19, 2006 - 11:07am.

Organizations serving the developing world are looking for field experience. Have you worked in a conflict situation before? And what *kind* of work are you qualified for? Enthusiasm and desire are nice... but aren't taken into consideration much when choosing a candidate for a development job.

If you have no field experience in a developing country, then:
- consider paying for short-term field experience in a developing country through a "volunteer vacation" type situation. There is a plethora of such organizations engaging in a variety of activities
- get experience locally with under-served audiences: people with disabilities, immigrants, youth, women; you need work or volunteer experience that shows you know how to work with people of varying economic backgrounds and belief systems
- consider volunteering online with development organizations. Sites like can help you find such opportunities. This will help you establish relationships with NGOs serving the development world, gaining both work experience and valuable references.

Stop sending out 3-4 CVs every week. Take a break and look at your CV. Does it use the same words and phrases as the type of jobs you want? Does it reflect exactly the skillls and experience asked for in the jobs you want?

Concentrate on networking instead of sending out lots of CVs. Go to events sponsored by organizations engaged in the type of work you want to do, join their online fora, and subscribe to their e-newsletters. Get to know the people who work in the fields you want to work in.

It's with contacts and field experience you are going to get work.

Jayne Cravens

Submitted by Tom Longley on December 20, 2006 - 2:17pm.


Even though I have solid experience in logistics, I fear being “pigeon holed” into this category.


But if you have a strength here, play to it!

Submitted by Joel_nomad on December 20, 2006 - 2:51pm.

Hello Again,

Thank you so much for every one who has been posting! I never expected such a rapid response.

**Was any one able to see my resume that I attached? Tom? Jayne?..?

**Type of job: I would like to work in Project management at some level. (Field Manager, coordinator) But obviously not at a high level.

**Field Experience: I have lived and worked in Main land China, as well as India. I lead several teams in India, in several different areas. I have lots of management experience working in the Red Cross here in Canada, as well as my past career with the Military Police.

**Logistics: I have tons of experience in this, which is why I sort of wanted a position in which I gained solid experience in management. (I have noticed that "logistics" is always a part of what NGO's are looking for in a manager..budgets, reports...and so on..)

Thank you again every one! I hope you all are enjoying some holidays soon, and getting some much deserved vacation.

Hope to hear from you all soon!


Submitted by Tom Longley on December 20, 2006 - 3:21pm.

Hi Joel -- Aid Workers Network discourages the posting of curriculum vitae and such documents since a) we're not a recruitment agency, and b) are do not want to see others misusing the personal information they will gain about you from such compact documents. Additionally, in many cases where someone has posted their CV they have later emailed to ask for it to be removed. This not only creates "holes" in the Forum, but creates extra work for our moderators. I hope you can see our reasoning here.

Submitted by Joel_nomad on December 20, 2006 - 3:27pm.

Sorry, I had no idea.

In Peace,


Submitted by Tom Longley on December 20, 2006 - 3:34pm.

No worries -- we've got to work on making the Posting Guidelines a bit more compelling to read.

One of the nice things about this forum is that we get to talk to people like yourself, with fascinating lives and careers. Do keep tabs on the forum by setting up some email alerts for topics or threads that interest you.

Submitted by Raphaelle on December 21, 2006 - 3:36pm.


I do agree with Jane's points. I've been in Sudan for 6 months, working for the UN. CSo or UN agencies look for people who've already have field experiences of post-conflict situations and/or Africa / muslim societies field experiences. you seem to be an "asia specialist". You may consider to get a first experience in Africa (Kenya has structural links with Sudan, for instance), and then apply for a position in Sudan within the same organisation. Please consider this post as my own opinion. i hope it can help. Why don't you ask the Red Cross? I guess it might have action programmes in Sudan. And It could be an asset for you to apply for an organisation you already know from the inside.

In addition, I was wondering what are your motivation and interest in working in sudan? When you talk about Sudan, are you thinking of Darfur?

I wish you all the best



Submitted by Joel_nomad on December 21, 2006 - 3:58pm.


Thanks for your post!

Its a tough situation because I'm 25, have a degree in Development, worked in "adverse" areas like China and India, but have never worked in a conflict zone.

That being said, I was with the Military Police in Canada for 4 years, where I worked with IDP's, International Humanitarian Law, and Refugees. So I am not new to understanding conflict, working in adverse conditions, and managing under stress.

I just can not afford another volunteer placement, and have the dream to work in Sudan. You asked why I would like to work there. I have a few very close Sudanese friends in Canada, which are wonderful people. The culture, and every thing about them. Also, It is an area that is a lot of need right now...and I really would like to help in that. Darfur is a hotspot, but there are may other regions in need.

*Should I just jump on a plane and try job searching from within the country!?

*Could I send you me CV, to take a look at and see perhaps where I have shortfalls?

I'm just feeling frustrated because after sending out so many applications, and CV's I get zero response. Not a single interview. I would not mind so much if I did a few interviews, and did not succeed, but no response is hard!

Anyways, that's just me venting. I'm really loving all of these posts as you are the people on the ground, who know what places are looking for.

Cheers, and Happy Holidays!

Submitted by Raphaelle on January 8, 2007 - 12:21pm.

Hi Joel,

Back from holidays. Don't think jumping in a plane is a good idea for different reasons. Would be definitely hard to get a visa if you don't have any organization that backs your request. Life is damn expensive there. And you wouldn't be assured of any success.
About your CV, reading what you wrote in your previous post, it doesn't seem to be a CV presentation problem rather than a lack of network. I'm not sure to be of any help, but If you still want me to have a look at, please find a way to sent it to me. Don't know how to proceed and don't want to display my email address on this forum.
Last "advice", you should activate your sudanese friends network.

I wish you all the best


Submitted by Tom Longley on January 22, 2007 - 1:26pm.

Any registered member of Aid Workers Network, like everyone posting in this forum, can exchange emails confidentially with another member through their contact forms.

Submitted by jcravens42 on January 22, 2007 - 1:17pm.

Just want to single out Raphaelle for great advice for someone wanting to work in development/aidwork. Hope you will post more to other forum categories regarding YOUR work in Sudan!

Jayne Cravens

Submitted by Raphaelle on January 22, 2007 - 2:27pm.

... for your encouragement, Jayne. I'll definitly think on sharing my sudanese experience with the rest of the community.


Submitted by earney on April 7, 2007 - 12:05am.

Hi Joel,

I've been experiencing similar problems as you - I've just finished an internship with UNHCR in a field post in East Africa and since I've been out (about 6 weeks) I have applied for many, many posts. I'm getting hardly anything back apart from advice: 'do more volunteering' (I can't afford to), keep emailing (still nothing back) or, 'you need more experience'.

It's the classic conundrum - you need experience to get experience but can't get any without any! I guess it's a typical problem for younger people who want to get into this field - despite being younger, fitter and mentally agile with years before burn-out hits, agencies cannot and therefore will not take the time or more importantly the expense to pay for investment in people.

Nevertheless, there are people out there who are giving sound advice and when the right job finally comes along it will be even better and you WILL do an even better job. Good luck and let us know how it goes - if I learn of any inside tricks I will be sure to let you know,



Submitted by boundforsudan on May 1, 2007 - 6:46am.

Hi everyone,
I will be in Khartoum from early June to mid-August volunteering with a legal aid clinic. I am a law student, and my ultimate dream is to practice refugee and asylum law. This summer I would love to spend a great deal of time in IDP camps (I think there are four in Khartoum). Do any of you have connections with any agencies serving the IDP camps? Thanks!
Have a beautiful day,

Submitted by Mark88 on October 10, 2007 - 2:41pm.

Usually when am Organization is looking for someone to work for them, they are taking as experience only the time that you worked in that particular field. Sometimes they can go extremely specific only 1-2%(the incidental rate) of the people can be interesting for them. They are a bit rude, but when two are receiving 1000 CV in one day is pretty hard to answer to everybody.
I would suggest to start concentrate yourself on small assignments(maybe voluntary or internships), that will bring you experience in a specific field, and after that to start shooting on jobs in that field. A hint is microfinance, there are like ~500 good experts worldwide and they are not facing all the assignments, at the other end is rural development which implies tough competition.

Mark Cheptea

Submitted by Komal Singh on October 11, 2007 - 8:38am.

Hi Joel, i work for an NGO in India. Also, i've studied Media and communication at college. If you are still looking out for work, a) i could have a look at your CV and make amendments, if needed.
b) Send your CV to my boss and see if something is workable.

Submitted by jcravens42 on October 15, 2007 - 7:44am.

a reminder that AWN has some *excellent* advice pages, written by aid workers themselves, regarding finding employment. Do have a look.

Jayne Cravens
formerly of Kabul, Afghanistan...
now back in Bonn, Germany

Submitted by umakant on June 6, 2011 - 11:24am.

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