A career in international relations can be rewarding and fulfilling as you work on complex problems that face our world. There are many different career paths to choose from including government, academia, non profits, development, consulting, business and think tanks. Where you choose to fit in depends on your skills, experience and interests.
The United States Government is a great place to work for those interested in international relations. There are countless opportunities for you to work in a variety of agencies. Some of which include development at USAID, intelligence at the CIA, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense, international trade at Department of Commerce, the peace corps and, of course, the Department of State. The State department in fact has the most famous path for aspiring international relations experts – the foreign service. This program sends you around the world to serve in both challenging and rewarding environments as you spread democracy and diplomacy.
The development and non-profit sectors are ripe with opportunities for those willing to work on complex, but rewarding projects in the developing world. Many of these jobs go to individuals with specialized skills in a particular area such as micro finance, child development, and grant writing. Also, large donor organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are excellent career opportunities for those in international relations. The Gates foundation does much work on combating poverty and disease in the developing world. Look at the Idealist website for great information on internships, volunteer opportunities and career opportunities in the non-profit world.
International business is another career path for those interested in international relations. One path takes recent graduates to international consulting firms. This highly competitive, but highly rewarding career takes you around the world to solve different business problems that depend on your ability to understand the economics and business changes taking place because of globalization. Companies like Bain or the Boston Consulting Group are great avenues to reach senior positions at international companies.
There are also careers at think tanks and in academia that would appeal to those interested in international affairs. If reading and writing are high on your list of activities these could be great careers for you.
Which ever career path you take you can be sure it will be a fascinating and exciting ride. With the world getting smaller everyday a career in international relations is the perfect avenue to take you to your goals.