Junior Professionals Program Frequently Asked Questions

The Junior Professionals Program is an opportunity for qualified, professional women in West Africa to transform their passion for international relief and development work into a career with Catholic Relief Services. Over a 12-month period, each Junior Professional will build core skills while working alongside experienced staff and supporting critical programs. Junior Professionals will benefit from strong mentoring and regional networking as they prepare for positions of greater responsibility with CRS.

Please review our detailed FAQ for more information on the program. Click [+] to open each FAQ menu.

Program Eligibility

The Junior Professionals Program is open to women from Senegal, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Guinea, the Gambia and Burkina Faso in 2021. Junior Professionals will be hired to work in their home countries for this position.

The graduate degree must be Master level or higher. In the francophone system, the degree requirement is BAC + 6 at a minimum. Graduate degrees in all fields that are relevant to international relief and development are accepted (e.g. international development, non-profit management, public health, agriculture, social work).

No. CRS carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. We welcome as a part of our staff and as partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations.

Application & Selection Process

The online application collects basic information on your skills and experience. To get to know you better, we have also included short-answer questions and a video interview. To complete the application, you will be required to upload your cover letter and resume (or CV). Please review our cover letter requirements below.

The video interview is part of the online application. It is similar to an in-person interview, but it is not live. As part of the online application, you will have four video interview questions. You will see the interview question appear on your screen with a CRS staff member asking the question. You will have a few moments to reflect on your response. Then, you will have the opportunity to record your short response to each question (no more than 2 minutes long).

You can complete the online application, including video interview, on a computer or mobile device. The application platform will check your internet connection, microphone and camera before starting the video interview. If your internet connection is not strong enough, you will be asked to try again later. You can start & stop the application anytime, picking up where you left off.

We estimate that it will take 45 minutes to complete the short answer questions and video interview, which are the primary components of the online application. This does not include the time needed to prepare your cover letter and resume (or CV). Please review our cover letter requirements below.

In your cover letter, please address this prompt:

Tell us about an African leader who has inspired you and why. How do their accomplishments or example align with your aspirations?

You may include other information in your cover letter, if desired, but it is not required. Your response may be no longer than 500 words.

Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2021. Strong candidates will be invited to an in-person interview in June. CRS will extend offers to the finalists in July 2021, after conducting background and reference checks.

Due to the high volume of applications and rolling basis of the review, candidates will only be contacted if and when they advance to the next stage of the selection process.

With this program, CRS seeks to recruit, train and retain talented West African Women. As such, the number of Junior Professionals is carefully evaluated each year and subject to change. CRS anticipates recruiting 1-2 Junior Professionals in each of the following West African countries in 2021: Senegal, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Guinea, the Gambia and Burkina Faso.

The 2021 program will begin the first week of October.

Professional Development & Career

With the Junior Professionals Program, CRS seeks to recruit individuals who can grow into a variety of roles with CRS. With this objective, less focus is placed on developing sectoral expertise and more focus is placed on developing strong managerial skills. As a Junior Professional, you will support a variety of programs and departments as you gain experience in our core learning areas.

In addition to the foundational training, you will have the opportunity to specialize in a specific area that relates to your individual career goals. The specialization, to be developed in collaboration with your supervisor, should align with your professional development goals and help prepare you for onward positions with CRS.

While completing the core foundational training, Junior Professionals will increase their knowledge of some specific programming sectors. However, if working in a specific technical area (e.g. Health, Agriculture, Emergency) is of critical importance to you, we encourage you to consider other openings related to that sectoral area.

There are many career paths within CRS. CRS’ global team, of more than 7,000 staff, advance their careers in a wide range of areas. Some staff pursue a management path managing teams who deliver programs and services which change the lives of the people we serve (advancing in levels of responsibility and moving between different sectors/departments), while others focus on pursuing a pathway to provide technical assistance to those teams and program, building their technical expertise in areas such as healthcare. The Junior Professionals Program is designed for women who seek to develop a long term career with CRS managing relief and development programs.

At CRS, you will find extensive learning resources and opportunities for professional development and career growth. With coaching from experienced supervisors, staff are empowered to develop career and learning goals. To support staff development, CRS provides a variety of learning resources from leading content providers, managerial and leadership courses, and more. Staff can also learn through internal trainings and short-term assignments. For language acquisition, CRS provides online training for core languages (e.g. French, Spanish) after six months of service.

Work Location & Pay

Junior Professionals will be based in the capital city where CRS has its primary office in the country, with regular travel to sub-offices and field locations.

No. CRS’ top priority is staff safety. Junior Professionals will not be based in high-risk locations. CRS continuously monitors safety and security risks in all locations and has protocols in place to mitigate risk and respond to security issues (if needed). Junior Professionals will receive security briefings for their location and will be required to follow CRS’ security protocols.

Yes. This is an entry-level salaried position with benefits. This position is competitively compensated in respect to the local labor market.

For more information, please join an information session or email us at [email protected].