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How to Craft a Career in Humanitarian Aid Work

Written by CB Experts

Certainly, the majority of things related to the COVID-19 pandemic haven’t been good ones, but there were, and continue to be, some positives, such as a reduction in pollution that allowed the planet to take a much-needed break.

Another place where one could subjectively point to the pandemic doing good is in the resurgence of giving workers worthy of praise their praise.

Athletes and celebrities so often become the people youngsters look up to as heroes, but the pandemic made the nation realize who the real heroes were and, hopefully, the younger generation gained some interest in fields that exist to help people such as healthcare and other acts of humanitarianism.

The will to help people is, of course, the most important thing for an individual looking to pursue a career as a humanitarian aid worker, but traits of global business leaders like cultural awareness are also paramount.

Here is a closer look at a few other tips to consider when looking to craft a career in humanitarian aid:

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Ultimately, the fact that humanitarian aid work is a competitive field is a great thing from a societal standpoint, but it also means that a career in the field is going to take some real commitment.

Volunteering at non-profits, or in any sense that is documentable is not only good for your community, but it will also be good for your career.

It’s not dissimilar to other competitive fields, really. You’re going to have to do some work for free before you can make this your career but if money is a primary motivator, humanitarian work probably isn’t for you anyway.


Whether you’re transitioning away from another field to humanitarian work, or just starting your first career path, there are educational requirements for anyone looking to succeed in humanitarian aid.

Those looking to get a degree relative to humanitarian aid have a few options, but technology, logistics, and medicine are three fields in high demand within the humanitarian aid sector, and a degree in a field relative to one of those things will up your chances.

No matter what field you are in, though, there is probably a counterpart job in the world of humanitarian aid, and getting a certification in something like international studies will polish some of the traits that tend to differ from the private business sector to the humanitarian one.

Cultural Awareness

Even the best hearts with the kindest intentions can be molded to believe that the things they were taught are what is right everywhere, and that is simply not the case.

Cultural awareness is a lot more than just an understanding that people from different cultures exist, it’s developing a mindset that our own cultures are simply that, our own. That doesn’t make them better nor worse, just as other cultures should be viewed the same.

Having the ability to discuss cultural differences in any capacity makes for a great melting pot of ideas and, when it comes to humanitarian aid, that melting pot of ideas is paramount for ensuring that any project undertaken by a humanitarian aid team will be a project that helps everyone and excludes no one.


Some easy ways to build your own cultural awareness is to simply practice good manners, dig into some holidays you haven’t heard of and the reason people celebrate them, and develop genuine relationships with people who come from different places than you do! It’s a true win-win.

About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.