Magazine

Disclosure: International Relations Careers may be compensated by course providers.

What is an International Relations Specialist?

International Relations is a political science subdivision that studies the relations among nations. Specialists in the sector are in charge of maintaining international, diplomatic, and financial relations among nations. International Relations specialists also serve as relation managers for multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations, as well as other businesses that operate outside of their own nation’s territory.

Most Common Tasks and Key Responsibilities of International Relations Specialists:

The following is a partial list of the responsibilities that International Relations Specialists are expected to do:

  • Communicating with diplomats, officials, civic organizations, research institutions, journalists, and political parties
  • Examining and understanding foreign policies, concerns, and laws, including the actions of administrations, companies, and institutions on a global scale
  • Counseling employers on public policy and foreign affairs issues; reviewing policies and practices; and guiding institutions and organizations
  • Developing suggestions based on election outcomes, opinion polls, and foreign legislative initiatives
  • Publishing research findings in academic or professional journals, writing reports, and giving public briefings
  • Helping countries and international organizations create international policy
  • Preparing drafts of legal bills and composing presentations, letters, and international relations documents, as well as other duties such as advancing partnership initiatives in governmental and non-governmental organizations
  • Commenting on or criticizing government policies, concerns, and incidents in the press
  • Generating predictions on international policies and trends
  • Assessing the sources and repercussions of international concerns, along with proposing alternative approaches
  • Sustaining up-to-date understanding of international and internal political changes
  • Examining and interpreting international organizations’ activities
  • Contributing as counsel on international policy legislation and rules.
  • Creating formal and informal activity in international trade

International Relations Specialists’ Workplace

Government departments and institutions working overseas, as well as embassies, may engage specialists in this subject to analyze and understand international relations. Professionals could also work in the Public Relations divisions of international organizations, institutions, and businesses, where they operate as a link among the given project and the international legal institutions that regulate them.

Globalization, environment, sustainable development, counterterrorism, economic progress, international banking, and social justice are among the topics of focus for specialists within the subject of International Relations.

Remarkably, there seem to be a variety of professional paths one can choose inside the sector. These jobs are usually more specialized and tailored to certain position requirements. Specialists only have to acquire necessary qualifications to position themselves as a right choice for organizations seeking their expertise in these fields.

As previously noted, the discipline encompasses a wide range of industries. Businesses and agencies will both require expert support for specific purposes. Public institutions, big businesses, legal firms, the press, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations such as UNICEF, the World Bank, the WHO, the United Nations, and also charitable groups, are the major employers of International Relations specialists.

Most commonly specialists in this field work as:

  • Diplomats – Operating as a link among their home nation and another region, collecting intelligence on the foreign governments laws that may have an impact on their homeland. Additionally, arranging time to review matters such as peacekeeping, trade negotiations, ethnic differences, and guaranteeing that the national interests of their native country are taken into account at all times.
  • Intelligence Specialists – Individuals mostly employed in the Homeland Security, Army, and Navy sectors, as well as federal agencies. Collecting and interpreting classified intel for an organization, handling the institution’s data records and information, preparing and drafting findings, and generating statistics and infographics to properly illustrate the observations are some of the daily activities in this discipline.
  • Communication/Public Relations Specialists – Multinational enterprises frequently require the skills of a communications expert with international experience. The specialist makes sure that staff and customers in which the company has operations effectively communicate.

How to Become an International Relations Specialist

  • Education

International Relations Specialists can work in a range of organizations, agencies, and federal departments that deal with foreign matters. Within these subjects, specialists have a lot of learning resources. Individuals would first be required to pursue an undergraduate degree in International Relations and potentially continue with a graduate degree or PhD in one of the subject areas or specialties of International Relations. For example, sustainable development, human rights law, intelligence or counterterrorism are part of the subdivisions that might be useful to those that want to pursue a career as an international relations specialist.

  • Languages

Learning additional commonly spoken foreign language is an excellent method to stand out in the profession. French, German, Spanish, or Portuguese are all great language choices. Proficiency in one or more of these languages might increase someone’s worth as a specialist and help with easier communication.

  • Work experience and volunteering

For aspirants in this profession, experience can be a critical factor and a valuable advantage. Contributing in matters relevant to diplomacy and foreign affairs is the most popular means of gaining the requisite experience. Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations are always looking for volunteers to help them with their missions.

  • Skills

An International Relations Specialist might be expected to have exceptional organizational abilities. This is because it is possible for them to have to deal with two or more projects simultaneously. Because the demand is typically higher than expected, individuals may find it crucial learn to prioritize assignments.

  • Technology

Being able to use modern technological tools is not usually written on job posts, but it certainly is helpful to individuals in these fields. For example, using the Internet for research, communicating through social media and e-mail, saving time and resources by implementing online meetings and video-call conferencing, writing reports on Word, using Excel for daily task management and PowerPoint to prepare presentations are definitely useful means in terms of job success.

Salary

Even though many specialists dedicate their time mostly with the intention to improve the cause they are a part of, it would be interesting to know how much they are renumerated for their hard work.

The median annual salary for an International Relations Specialist is around $81,000 (US), with the lowest wage being $56,000. Nevertheless, some experts in the sector make as much as $113,000 per year. The importance of skills and credentials could be emphasized. Also, it depends on the country in which the specialist would be posted. For example, the average wage in Canada is $81,918, meanwhile, in Great Britain, the average yearly salary is £68,902 and Australia’s average annual salary is $86,000.

Study International Relations at Top Universities

Contemporary Issues in World Politics

Free to audit

Paid certificate

Global Diplomacy: the United Nations in the World

Free to audit

Paid certificate

Business, International Relations and the Political Economy

Paid

International Relations: China, Russia, the US and the Future of Geopolitics

Paid

About the author

Antonela Jaki

Antonela Jaki is a Political Science graduate and the former President of the Student Assembly at the University American College Skopje. Having graduated with a Magna Cum Laude degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, Antonela specializes in Balkan and Middle Eastern politics, Sustainable Development and International Organizations.