International Relations or IR was a widely discussed subject in ancient Greek by fathers of history such as Thucydides, Pliny, Plato, and Aristotle. The Peace of Westphalia and the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1648 and 1713 respectively, however, are seen by most scholars and historians as the beginning of modern IR. As a major in International Relations, you, therefore, have the capacity to fortify peace, social and economic stability amongst sovereign states, inter-governmental organizations or multinational corporations. These make careers in International Relations numerous, well-paying and intriguing especially if you can make the right choice.
Foreign Service Careers
United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth Office currently employs over 14,000 people who utilise IR related skills in the day-to-day running of 270 diplomatic posts spread across 160 countries. The Foreign Service is, therefore, a rich hub of employment for International Relations professionals. It offers jobs ranging from ambassadorial and consulate appointments to research analysis, brand and content management in addition to international policy advisory employment opportunities. A good grasp of IR-oriented operations and proficiency in several foreign languages can land you a job as a translator or fast track your rise to the top the country’s Foreign Service pyramid. Some of these jobs are contractual making it possible for IR specialists to swing from one job title to another with the aim of building their professional prowess.
Banking and Finance Careers
Multinational banks, international investment portfolio outfits, and global corporate finance establishments also require IR graduates’ expertise. IR economists, accountants and market surveyors can, for instance, help these multinationals to gauge their expansion prospects in countries where they have little or no operations. The International Relations specialists achieve these using skills drawn from knowledge of nations’ financial structures, investment mood, rise in their capital demands and by studying mergers and take-over trends within a region or a country.
Regional Organizations Careers
University of Kent’s Careers and Employability Department notes that the European Union receives fewer IR job related applications from the UK compared to other EU member countries. UK citizens consequently make up 12 percent of the EU’s total population and accounts for only five percent of the economic zone’s institutions’ workforce. Roles available to IR graduates at the EU include areas such as policy and opinion shaping, lobbying, project management, corporate arbitration, budgeting, and personnel management. It is worth noting, however, that one of the reasons for the lack of applications from the UK is that in order to work for the EU, you are required to speak at least two languages. As people from the UK quite often only speak one compared to their continental counterparts, the disparity is easy to understand.
Other institutions with international ties that can offer you similar career opportunities include the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe or OSCE and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO, for short.
United Nations Careers
Most United Nations jobs are perfect for IR experts because the UN encompasses the interests of nearly all nations min the world. The UN High Commission for Refugees, for example, requires IR specialists to hold administrative titles in Refugee camps given their skills in conflict resolution and geographical border management strategies. Since most IR professionals have effective communication skills, you can also grab a career in communications with UN bodies such as the Regional Information Center for Western Europe.
The list of careers in International Relations is, therefore, boundless. However, you will usually need an impressive CV to land any of these exciting opportunities.