Junior Professionals Program Frequently Asked Questions

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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, Guinea-Bissau, the Gambia and Burkina Faso. Junior Professionals will be hired to work in their home countries for this position.

Candidates must have a graduate degree that is Master's level or higher. In the francophone system, the degree requirement is BAC + 5 at a minimum. Master's 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, finance, human resources, supply chain).

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 for all applications. To complete the application, you will be required to upload your motivation letter and CV. Please review our motivation 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 two 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 will need a device with audio and camera, and an internet connection to complete the video interview. 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 30 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 motivation letter and CV. Please review our motivation letter requirements below.

In your motivation letter, please address this prompt:

The future of the African Continent is at a crossroads. What do you think are the two most important factors for its sustainable development and why? 

Please note that we are interested in your response to this specific question and will not consider generic motivation letters. Your response may be no longer than 500 words.

CRS reviews applications on a rolling basis, during and after each annual application period. Due to the high volume of applications and rolling basis of the review, candidates are only be contacted if and when they advance to the next stage of the selection process. Strong candidates are usually invited to an in-person interview in July or August. Offers are extended to finalists in September, and the program begins each year in October.

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 participating country.

CRS hires one class of Junior Professionals each year in 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 functional skills that are foundational to CRS’ work. 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.

Graduates of the Junior Professionals Program are prepared to excel in a range of entry-level roles and empowered to continue growing and pursuing career opportunities with CRS. Junior Professionals follow a structured process of transitioning to onward roles with CRS. This begins with Junior Professionals completing the comprehensive training program (gaining practical experience across CRS’ core functions), strategically positioning themselves for anticipated openings and demonstrating their skills and added value to the team. After eight months in the program, participants complete a performance assessment to demonstrate completion of the learning goals and alignment with the agency behavioral competencies. Once the assessment is approved, they apply to open positions and follow the standard competitive recruitment process. Junior Professionals are encouraged to pursue a range of job vacancies and exercise flexibility. Most individuals are successful in securing onward employment with CRS.

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. English, French, Spanish) after six months of service.

Work Location & Pay

Most 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. However, some Junior Professionals may be based in field offices full-time depending on the distribution of learning opportunities within the country program.

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].