Ida – MSc International Development Studies – Coordinator Societal Impact at SOCOCO – August 2021

Hi everyone! My name is Ida and I graduated from the MSc International Development Studies in January. I recently started my first job at SOCOCO. SOCOCO is a small coffee company that works with direct trade and a fair price for coffee.

My job search started a little bit before I graduated. I asked people who graduated from the same study programme or who worked in jobs that seemed very interesting to me, to meet online, for a ‘virtual coffee’. In my experience, a lot of people were very open and willing to help. In these talks, I asked a lot of questions to understand more about what their jobs contained, but I also asked for tips for job searching. These talks helped me a lot to form an image of what kind of jobs I would like and what would fit with my skills.

I also tried to get more insights into what my skills are. A career coach helped me to map my skills and strengths. I learned to describe my strengths with the STAR method, which I can definitely recommend for a structured substantiation you can use during interviews.  

In the meantime, I was browsing multiple career websites, LinkedIn and Facebook groups to find vacancies. If I came across an interesting vacancy, I saved the link, job title and deadline. I collected all this information in one file, which helped me not to miss deadlines. When I got an interview, I spent quite some time preparing by reading a lot about the organization and the position and how I could contribute.

As I did not always enjoy applying for jobs, I made sure that I planned quite some fun and energizing activities, such as a walk or coffee with a friend. This helped me to stay motivated.

In the end, you just need a little bit of luck! I had really enjoyed my internship and kept in touch with my supervisor afterwards. And after a couple of months, my supervisor contacted me that a position could be created for me.

I got a lot of help from a lot of people in the process. Some valuable tips I think are useful to pass on:

  • Try to talk to a lot of people about your job search; friends and family, alumni, people working in the field, career services. This can help you to form an image of the job you are searching for, but also what fits with you. And very important: thank people who made time for you!
  • Keep a file of all the interesting vacancies you have found. Also, save the job description on your computer when you have sent in your letter. The description is often taken offline after the deadline.
  • And take breaks and plan some fun activities to look forward to while you are applying for jobs.