How to advance your career in evaluation

There are several ways to advance your career in evaluation.  

Strengthen your skills

Developing technical skills is a crucial part of building a successful career in evaluation. You can enhance your skills at various stages of your career and depending on your individual needs and preferences. The skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to thrive in the field of evaluation are determined by a multitude of factors, including your personal interests, the context in which you work, and your career aspirations. The type of tasks you are expected to perform also depends on your professional maturity and your role within an organization.

Attend formal education, training, and workshops

Enroll in formal education to earn a degree (such as a bachelor's, master’s, or doctorate) in evaluation or a related field. Formal education provides a thorough understanding of evaluation methodologies, theory, and practical skills, but it can be time-consuming and expensive. 

Training sessions and workshops are more flexible, less expensive alternatives. They can range from short courses on specific methodologies to comprehensive professional development programs. They provide practical, hands-on experience and focus on current industry needs, but do not offer the same depth of theoretical understanding as a formal degree.

Also, seek out regional resources, such as CLEAR Centers and EvalYouth regional chapters, which offer training and capacity-building programs tailored to specific regional needs. They provide valuable support and are excellent references for locally relevant evaluation practices.

To explore education opportunities, start with the Global Directory of Academic Programs in Evaluation, the GEI Training and Professional Development Program directory, and BetterEvaluation Events.

Access other forms of learning

Beyond formal training, other processes and structures exist to support peer learning. They include communities of practice, dialogues, learning circles, reflective practice, and supervised practice in teams. Seek out internships, mentoring programs, and other ways your organization may support learning by working with more experienced team members.

For more information, visit the BetterEvaluation Capacity Strengthening page.

Expand and navigate your networks

Networks provide access to valuable information, contacts, and job opportunities. It is important to expand your networks and use them, as they can help you stay updated on industry trends and connect with experienced professionals and peers who can offer guidance and mentorship.

Attend events purposefully

When attending conferences, workshops, or seminars, do your homework. Study the speakers in advance, prepare thoughtful questions, and seek advice that can be valuable for your career. Being purposeful can help you make meaningful connections.

Ask for introductions

Do not hesitate to ask your contacts to introduce you to their network. Personal introductions can open doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and relationships.

Engage in volunteer opportunities

Join evaluation associations, such as EvalYouth or other voluntary organizations for evaluation professionals (VOPEs). Participate actively in their working groups. This involvement can enhance your skills and help expand your professional network.

Be brave

Start conversations, introduce yourself, and look for common interests with others. Identify opportunities for mutual collaboration to build strong, reciprocal relationships.

Leverage your personal network (LinkedIn)

Use LinkedIn to connect with colleagues, friends, and professional associations. Engage with colleagues and trainers from complementary courses. Your LinkedIn network can be a powerful tool for staying connected and discovering new opportunities.

Start small and expand as you go

You will not be able to know everyone. Start with fellow young and emerging evaluation professionals and contacts in your field of specialization or interest and gradually expand your network. This approach ensures you build a solid foundation of people with whom you will share some common ground.

Attend conferences with intent

Conferences offer opportunities to build skills and networks. Select conference sessions that align with your interests and address your competency gaps. Prepare for these sessions by researching the topics and follow up by applying what you have learned.

For a list of major evaluation conferences, visit BetterEvaluation Events.

Write about your conference experience

Share your insights and experiences from conferences through LinkedIn posts, blogs, M&E discussion groups, or contributions to BetterEvaluation’s blog and other publications. Writing helps you reflect on what you have learned and share knowledge with a broader audience.

Submit to present at conferences

Presenting at conferences not only enhances your visibility but also provides a basis for future journal articles and other scholarly work. Poster sessions are a great way to build your confidence and reputation as a knowledgeable evaluator.

Gain hands-on experience

Learn by doing. Practical, hands-on experience can strengthen your evaluation skills, soft skills, and networking opportunities. You can interact with more seasoned professionals and benefit from their mentorship. The exposure to real-world problems provides an opportunity to apply classroom learning while building cross-functional knowledge and insights to create sustainable solutions. 

Get into the field

Seek opportunities to gain practical professional experience, such as volunteering for a student assistant position or applying for an internship. Learn about programs that offer internships, such as the Global Evaluation Initiative’s “Hands-On” Internship Program. If you have had practical experience, provide proof of what you have done through reports and certifications.

Link to M&E in your current role

Look for opportunities to link to monitoring and evaluation in your current job. Build it into your learning plans, find opportunities to use evaluative thinking in your daily tasks, or raise your hand to propose projects that involve monitoring and evaluation.

Seek guidance from mentors

Learning from senior evaluation experts and receiving personalized orientation and recommendations can help you develop your skills and capacities. Mentors can advise you on challenges and help you solve professional problems and make better decisions. They can also support you in defining professional goals and ways to achieve them.

EvalYouth’s Global Mentoring Program (GMP) connects senior evaluation mentors with mentees eager to build their capacities, enhance their networks, and advance their careers in evaluation. 

Target your job search

Hone your job search strategy to better understand the evaluation marketplace and employer needs.

  • Identify key evaluation players in your country/region, follow their newsletters and events
  • Identify the key competencies required in your context and refine your CV/resume to match. An exercise is to analyze a sample of job offers to extract the main duties and responsibilities. Map this to what you have to offer and identify gaps.
  • Refine your interviewing skills, as well as your social media profiles.

Consider consultancy…eventually

Striking out on your own without any prior experience working with others on evaluation assignments can be risky. To be an independent consultant, it is important to be surrounded by experienced people. Delivering good evaluations is often the result of good teamwork. One evaluator does not know everything. Even if you want to act on your own, you need to have a strong network of contacts who can answer your call for help or collaboration.


Every evaluator's journey is unique. The skills, knowledge and competencies you need to thrive in the field of evaluation are determined by a multitude of factors, including your personal interests, the context in which you work, and your career aspirations.

With this in mind, you might like to explore several areas of the BetterEvaluation site to help you navigate your own unique path.

Methods and approaches

When planning an evaluation, it's important to choose appropriate methods and processes for your specific situation.  The links below are a good starting point for considering which methods are appropriate for different purposes.

Competencies and standards

While the specific skills you'll need as an evaluator are highly contextual, there are certain underlying competencies and standards that will be useful for you to be aware of as you advance your evaluation career.

Further education and other ways of learning

Strengthening your evaluation skills is a career-long endeavour, and there are many ways to do this. You can explore formal and informal education programs though our academic and training directories, and discover other ways to learn through the links below.

Additional resources

If you have particular topics of interest, you can browse and search our content.

Get involved

We work collaboratively with our global community to create, share and support use of knowledge about how to better plan, manage, conduct and use evaluation. We welcome your contributions, whether you'd like to suggest a resource or event, write a blog, have feedback you'd like to share or would like to be more involved in a content area.

We're particularly interested in expanding this career guidance with additional resources and blogs by experienced and new evaluators (and people who work in other roles in evaluation), so please reach out if you'd like to be involved.

This content section is currently under development and has been released in beta mode. We welcome any feedback or suggestions for additional resources and examples - please get in touch via the contact form!