As international travel and global connections continue to facilitate the exchange of people, ideas, and products around the world, careers in international affairs continue to increase in demand. Whether through diplomacy, development, security, trade, or communication, there are many different ways you can apply your skills on an international level!
Key Skills and Abilities
- High-level intercultural communication skills
- Clear, concise writing skills
- Program management
- Ability to speak and understand a language other than English
- Experience living, working, and traveling abroad
- The US Department of State and other federal agencies
- Congressional Committees such as Foreign Affairs, Defense, etc.
- Think Tanks focused on world regions
- The US Military
- International nonprofits/multilaterals
Though international affairs is a constantly growing and evolving field, it is also highly competitive. Many people, all over the world, are interested in the same jobs and opportunities that you are, so it’s important to develop relevant skills early on and work toward building an area of expertise that helps you stand out. Start during your undergraduate years, by taking classes that allow you to explore your interests in depth and from multiple perspectives, and practice researching, analyzing and writing about relevant world issues. Then, find ways to gain experience!
Experience in international affairs can certainly come from interning or studying abroad, but also from participating in language/cultural exchanges, volunteering with communities that are different from your own, or building expertise in your field of choice that can easily translate to other communities. SuccessWorks is here to help you get started in this process, and take your first steps toward a globally relevant career!
Internships are a great way to gain legal experience while you’re a student. Depending on your interests, you can intern in a legal office or in other law-adjacent fields like policy, business, or government. Though working in a law office can be a great way to see what a certain type of law is really like, these opportunities can be hard to find because many opportunities are reserved for students in law school. Most undergraduates who work in law offices find these opportunities through networking, and may start with job shadowing or informational interviews before moving into a formal internship. If you aren’t able to find an internship in a law office, or if it’s just not something you’re interested in doing, that’s totally fine! Internship experience with a nonprofit, business, government agency, or other organization that overlaps with the type of law you’re interested in is just as valuable! When looking for internships, focus on the skills you want to develop and the type of experience that would give you a unique insight in the long-term.
Gap years are an extremely popular way for recent graduates to gain experience before law school. Taking this time not only makes you a stronger candidate for law school, but allows you to bring a more knowledgeable perspective to your studies and makes you more employable after you graduate. Whether you decide to pursue law school or a graduate degree in another related area, a gap year can be a great experience. Programs like Americorps are a popular option to gain experience working with diverse communities in education or nonprofit organizations, but almost any type of work can help you build transferable skills and knowledge.
Diplomatic Careers Panel
Taste of Success: International Affairs
Taste of Success: Policy