Many students of International Relations go into the field with a reasonably specific idea in mind with what career they’d like to pursue. We’ve explored in other posts more traditional job opportunities in IR, but the reality is that there are a bevy of exciting career paths that are oft-overlooked by International Relations graduates and professionals.
For those who complete a degree in International Relations, you’ll be steeped in soft skills, such as writing, speaking, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Your exposure to and expertise of different countries, cultures, and customs will make you an invaluable asset to intergovernmental and international organizations. Learning to use the transferrable skills gained during your studies is critical to ensuring that you don’t miss out on interesting and rewarding career opportunities that would benefit from an International Relations specialist.
We’ve uncovered four overlooked jobs in International Relations that international politics graduates would be highly qualified for in the job market.
Grant Writers are prevalent in all public agencies, private entities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Their role in these organizations is to research and acquire new sources of funding that can facilitate the operations of a project. In the private sector, these are often called Proposal Writers. Grant writers are responsible for overseeing this process from beginning to end and can be anywhere from a junior assistant to a senior coordinator. In effect, Grant Writers are responsible for:
- Researching available grants
- Identifying opportunities
- Writing some or all of the grant submission
- Submitting applications for individual grants
- Monitoring the progression of grant applications
- Reporting on the grant status to their organization
EARNINGS ON AVERAGE: $48,000/year
Grant Writing benefits from the transferable skills you’ll learn in an International Relations degree. The researching, analytical, and critical thinking aspects of your studies will shine through in a position that hinges on your analytic prowess. Whether you have subject matter expertise that aligns with an organization’s mission or a general breadth of knowledge, employers are keen to hire well-organized, meticulous researchers with excellent writing skills.
Disaster Recovery Coordinator
Changing weather patterns and urban sprawl are creating conditions for natural disasters with increased severity and frequency. As an informal underwriter of the country’s safety, government agencies tend to be the keystone to recovery efforts in any part of the world. However, NGOs and private organizations are now filling the need for disaster recovery services on a global scale. This means there is a growing need for disaster recovery experts and coordinators to help plan, develop, and implement disaster recovery efforts following a catastrophic weather event. These are the primary responsibilities of disaster recovery coordinators:
- Develop, monitor, and adjust disaster recovery plans for different disaster types
- Navigate the regulations and policies that apply to disaster recovery and disaster mitigation project
- Manage the various operational processes of the organization and its projects
- Prepare presentations and reports on project performance and developing issues that may pose an adverse risk to the operation
EARNINGS ON AVERAGE: $74,604/year
Disaster recovery benefits those who have a macro view of developing conditions. International Relations focuses on complex and interconnected global events; understanding the current needs of a disaster recovery project and balancing those needs for positive growth will benefit from understanding the changing dynamics of geopolitics and how may global factors impact one another.
International Sales Manager
International Sales Managers typically work in the private sector, primarily for enterprises which deal in large amounts of international business and require familiarity with the intricacies of international trade. This career path requires a passion for entrepreneurship to effectively discover, develop, and create new international sales opportunities while also maintaining relationships with existing clients of their enterprise. A deep understanding of global cultures and relationships is necessary to ensure that global business sectors are operating smoothly. An International Sales Manager’s knowledge of global affairs will help assess risks and opportunities to worldwide business and handling them accordingly. In effect, their significant responsibilities consist of:
- Identifying and developing international sales opportunities while mitigating the risk from international sales threats
- Developing global sales strategies for business lines while collaborating with enterprise management to establish operating procedures
- Liaising with global sales markets to promote their business line and ensure conditions are up to enterprise standards
EARNINGS ON AVERAGE: $77,382/year
Sophisticated understanding of international markets is required to perform this job well. Intimate knowledge of cultural nuances is requisite when maneuvering international negotiations. Many graduate programs in International Relations provide specializations in global trade, project management, and successful negotiating to excel in this career path.
Regulatory Affairs Specialist
In business, there is an ever-increasing maze of international and domestic business regulations. Bilateral and unilateral treaties are often entangled with domestic regulations that can heavily hamper or benefit the business operations of an international enterprise. Similarly, companies developing products for domestic use must ensure that their product maintains consistency at scale while navigating the myriad regulatory regimes present in global markets. Stakeholders often have any number of questions that require expert analysis. A Regulatory Affairs Specialist’s responsibilities mainly consist of:
- Collecting, analyzing, managing, and presenting information regarding the prevailing regulations regime relevant to the enterprise’s area of interest
- Monitoring performance of enterprise compliance with regulations in the industry and legal environment
- Plotting development of international regulations that affect enterprise operations
EARNINGS ON AVERAGE: $66,642/year
Public Administration and Regulatory theory in global landscapes are prominent areas of focus International Relations, providing key background in decision-making structures to foster success in this career path. Subject matter expertise, an accompanying robust research base, and effective critical thinking allow for holistic analysis to identify risks and develop solutions.
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