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Career Coaching: Design Your International Development Career for Maximum Impact

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by Impactpool

Are you curious about career coaching and how it can be beneficial for you? Impactpool's career coach Ronda Ansted has 20 years experience in the international development and social impact world. Read her advice on how to optimize your career opportunities.
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After over 20 years in the international development and social impact world, I have learned that the most important way you can make a positive difference in the world is by doing work you love and living a life full of meaning. We all have a unique combination of natural talents, interests, goals, passions, preferences, and skills and by leveraging your full self, you can both make a meaningful contribution and live in joy. Career coaching can help you get clear about the contribution you want to make and how you can get there.

I chose international development because of my desire for equality, justice, and opportunity for all people, regardless of where they were born or their individual circumstances. I have been inspired by the people I’ve partnered with at grassroots organizations in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. I learned that development is complex and requires a whole host of skills and strong relationships. It is most effective when it is a collaborative process built on mutual respect and utilizing everyone’s strengths and resources.

Out of a desire to make development more effective, I have researched which types of international development organizations and projects have made a lasting difference. I have worked at small INGOs in the United States and volunteered through the Peace Corps. My doctoral dissertation focused on social enterprises in developing countries where I developed a model to both maximize and balance financial growth and social impact. There are many different ways to make a positive difference and I love helping people find the path that best works for them.

Ronda Ansted’s LinkedIn

I became a career coach after years of working in non-profits and INGOs and seeing many talented and compassionate people get burnt out or give up before they could make the impact they wanted. Through coaching, I can catch people at all phases of their lives to avoid burn-out and re-align their job search efforts with ideals. Burn-out does not come from doing difficult work but by doing work that does not fit your strengths and personality or working for agencies that don’t support the type of life they want to live. Burnt out professionals do not change the world! Strong, confident, and strategic professionals do.

Since there are many ways to make a positive social or environmental impact through your career, it is crucial to start with yourself. Most of my international development experience has been at smaller and non-traditional development organizations, so I can guide people who are interested in smaller activist and grassroots non-profits or social enterprises. I focus on the contribution you want to make and help you explore the options where you can do that. When you do work that matches your strengths and personality, you can look forward to long and rewarding career!

I use career design, the process of envisioning your ideal work and then creating a realistic strategy to get you as close to your ideal as you can. See yourself as an artist working your life masterpiece, because indeed, that’s what you are!

Career design works because it is based your personal attributes and strength. It turns the job search into a creative and proactive process, empowering you and increasing self-confidence along the way. And the end result is a perfect-fit career. To design your career, you will:

  1. Examine your raw materials. These are the pieces of yourself—your strengths, goals, and vision—that you want to include in your career. A career based on your raw materials sets you up for success, joy, and impact.
  2. Create a napkin sketch of your future. Before you commit to something, prioritize what’s most important to you and explore which jobs and opportunities fit you best. This includes your skills but moves you beyond what you can do to what you want to do.
  3. Choose a career design that you’re excited to create! The career design process includes building your network, identifying the organizations you want to work for, and committing to a clear and compelling future.
  4. Develop your career creation tools—your resume, your application, your LinkedIn profile—to show that you are the perfect person for your chosen career. All of your career creation tools become much more effective when they are based on the previous steps. Your resume and LinkedIn profile are not chronologies of your work history; they are marketing documents that showcase your strengths, accomplishments, and potential.

We have all decided to come to the field of international development because we want to make a difference in people’s lives. This is not easy work! To be effective means that you’ll need to learn, grow, and challenge yourself and others to be their best. You do not have to do this alone! That’s why we’re here to support you!


- By Ronda Ansted

We are proud to have Ronda Ansted as a career coach with Impactpool!  
Book your career coaching with Ronda


If you have questions regarding career coaching, send us an email to careercoach@impactpool.org

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