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“Training in international affairs prepares you to solve problems through diplomacy, defense, and development work. You can help manufacturers, communication firms, consultants, energy companies, and others move products and ideas around the world. You can build the capacity of students and organizations through international education and cross-cultural training. You can stop conflicts, fight disease, and slow environmental degradation.” (Source APSIA

Job Types

To prepare for their careers, professionals in international affairs and diplomacy train in a wide variety of disciplines from an even broader mix of academic backgrounds and experiences. Your first job after graduation will be one of many steps to building your career in international affairs. Review this article to learn how to build a career in foreign relations.  

Roles in this industry include: 

  • Civil Service or Foreign Service Officer 

  • Foreign Affairs Specialist 

  • Intelligence Analyst 

  • Research Associate 

Work Environments

Opportunities in international affairs and diplomacy can be found across nonprofits, NGOs, multinational companies in the private sector, and multilateral organizations, as well as within departments and agencies in government. This includes organizations such as: 

Graduate Programs

Many professionals in this field pursue graduate work to gain access to roles or advance in their career. The Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs is helpful to learn more about relevant graduate programs.

Explore Grad School  Prepare to Apply


Industry Timeline

  • There are jobs in the federal government that require a security clearance/background check and will recruit in the fall or even a full year in advance.  
  • Otherwise, most international affairs and diplomacy opportunities in think tanks, NGOs or nonprofits normally hire interns and full-time employees based on immediate needs.  Often, positions become available in late spring/early summer   

Federal Resumes

The federal resume is required for many positions in the federal government. Many government agencies (including the U.S. State Department) post open opportunities on, which also has a resume building tool to help applicants create a federal resume. 

Learn More About Federal Resumes

Foreign Service Officer Test

While there is no specific academic degree or professional experience required to become a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) with the State Department, all applicants must undergo a rigorous selection process. This consists of a written Foreign Service Officer Test, a written personal narrative, an oral interview combined with role playing exercises, and a medical and security clearance review. 

Learn more about the FSOT and the resources available to help you prepare for this application process on our Resource Card:

PSG Resource Card

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