Requirements and expected competencies

In principle, the demands of international cooperation do not differ from other labour markets: employers seek specialists who can most efficiently and effectively implement their plans. In other words – it is about skills. Good will is also important, but in itself it is not enough.

Apart from traineeships, the basic requirements are completed studies and professional experience. It is not possible to comment on general trends in different professions because so many professions work in international cooperation (see Labour Market Report 2013/2014, chapter «Vacant Positions»). Specialist trends vary across the different IC sectors and depending on the issues addressed by the employer.
To the Labour Market Report 2013/2014

Education and IC professional experience

University level education is required for most activities in international cooperation (IC), while corresponding professional experience is often given equal weight. But education is not all. In IC, learning through professional practice is particularly important because professional knowledge has to be transferred across specific IC contexts. For this reason, many positions require IC experience.

There are age limits to positions in junior programme positions. Certain organisations also have age limits for other positions (for example, for an ICRC delegate).

Required competencies

IC generally demands a broad range of competencies, including the ability to cope in particularly challenging situations. Professional competencies such as project management, accounting or language knowledge can be required in addition to job-related skills.

Strong social and personal competencies are also demanded because IC involves cooperating with partner organisations and coordinating with other institutions. Skills in negotiating, networking, and dealing constructively with conflict are essential. While the context is intercultural, having an understanding of different cultures is not enough. Increasingly it also requires recognising your own cultural imprint in the areas of communication and leadership, for example, and being able to adapt this accordingly in specific contexts.
Read more about intercultural competencies  

Although the IC context is characterised by uncertainties and unclear situations, it is still necessary to act and make decisions. In such situations, flexibility means being able to handle ambiguity and deal with situations which can remain unclear for a long period of time, or that change quickly.

Finally, strategic thinking and leadership skills (or potential) are required.

Often a combination of competencies is demanded, or is attractive; for example a technical specialist with strong language skills and social competencies

Discover IC Panorama

What does international cooperation mean? In the panorama of the IC working world you will find definitions, actors and career examples.

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