Global Development Institute Blog

By Vinka Maharani

The career journey can feel daunting for an international student returning to their home country after completing a Master’s degree. While you gain a lot of new perspectives at university, adjusting back to your home country with these lenses might be challenging. Whether you are a fresh graduate with limited experience or a seasoned professional, there are several ways to situate yourself better in the job-seeking field despite going back to your home country. Below are some steps categorised by phase:


Know what you have


Before rushing to start a job-search and applying for the desired vacancy, it’s a good idea to start from what you already have. Reflect for a moment to ask yourself what skills you already possess and what needs to be improved. If you are confused about where to start, CareerConnect has provided a guide for this. By following this guide, you can better understand what skills you have and identify important skills you need to add. Transferable skills are highly sought after and considered today, and the necessary material is readily available for you to learn.


Understand the field and their needs


Now that you are aware of what you already have, let’s delve into the job marketplace. CareerConnect offers access to the Going Global page, which you can explore to find opportunities around the world, including your home country.

Tip: do not fret if your country doesn’t appear in the country list. Simply write it down in ‘Search Content’ and it will show the jobs, internships and other opportunities in the region you specify. The international development field also has global diverse think tanks to look at or international bodies such as the United Nations. Some international development job search pages specifically cater to regional needs such as Job Make Sense (Southeast Asia), Devjobsindo (Indonesia), and Asia Research News (Asia).

Being a student can sometimes lead us to be out of touch with current realities in a specific field. To understand the context and recent trends in the international development field, there are several video playlists on the Career Service YouTube channel that could be useful, such as the ‘Asia Careers Insight series’ and ‘Advice for Humanities Students’. These videos feature professionals working in the sector, making them reliable and worth watching.


Show your work


The next step is to showcase your work, experiences, and promising potential. ‘Get CV Ready’ is a practical activity from CareerConnect to help you structure your CV and even get a score for its readiness. Tailoring your CV to match the intended job vacancy is important to increase your chances of making it to the next step.

On public platforms, you can use LinkedIn to showcase your skills and abilities. Polishing your LinkedIn profile can increase your chances of being scouted and seen as a professional. On LinkedIn, follow organisations in the development sector to keep up with information about available jobs.

Gathering experience is also a crucial way to show your work. Delia Goodwin from the Career Service also advises ‘to seek out ways to engage locally by volunteering or otherwise with agencies/charities/bodies’. By getting involved in a project, you will gain valuable public field experience. She also suggests that it is good ‘to investigate membership of global development organisations such as Devex and Bond, which provides development job board and containing industry news, networking opportunities and webinars’.




Transitioning back to your home country after completing your Master’s degree can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. By understanding and leveraging your skills, staying updated on industry needs, and actively showcasing your work, you can navigate the job market more effectively. Utilise resources like CareerConnect and professional networks to stay informed and connected. Remember, each step you take brings you closer to finding the right opportunities that align with your career aspirations. With the right approach and mindset, you can successfully transition and thrive in your career back home.


Hi, I’m Vinka, a student of MSc Global Development (Poverty and Inequality). My zig-zagged career path encouraged me to explore more untapped opportunities by participating as GDI Employability Champion. I focus on maximising network and digital jobseeker databases, especially for Southeast Asia region. Let’s connect on LinkedIn.



Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash.

Note:  This article gives the views of the author/academic featured and does not represent the views of the Global Development Institute as a whole.