(This article was originally published for Career in Government and written by Carmen Iezzi Mezzera, Executive Director of APSIA, the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs.)
Business. Politics. Education. Public Health. Communications. Job-seekers are realizing a new reality: most careers – down to the local level – have an international component to them. It’s all global now.
Whether you’re interested in the public, private, or non-governmental sector, you cannot escape the internationalization of the job market. An understanding of international affairs is critical for success.
People and products move fluidly around the world. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States. One in five American jobs is tied to international trade (Texas alone has seen an 84% increase in such jobs in the last 20 years). The U.S. Department of Commerce expects more than 88 million international visitors per year will come to the United States by 2019, up from 69.8 million in 2013. There are more than 25.7 million immigrants in the civilian U.S. workforce, according to the Migration Policy Institute, so – chances are – dealing with coworkers, employees, or even your boss already requires some cross-cultural understanding. Health, environmental, and security challenges do not follow national borders either, as the recent situation with Ebola patients in several states demonstrates.
Are you ready for this global marketplace? Can you follow the economic, security, and political factors influencing the places with which you’d like to do business? Do you know how to attract international tourists (and the millions of dollars in revenue they represent) to your community? Can you communicate successfully with your constituents and colleagues from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds? Can you monitor developments around the world, identify challenges, and recommend ways for your organization to address them?
So, How Do I Prepare?
Job-seekers in every sector need to prepare now for the job market of the future with key international competencies.
Know how to evaluate trends across a global landscape. Be ready to succinctly explain other countries’ political, economic, social, and security situations so as to anticipate where opportunities and risks might emerge. Learn to communicate with those from different backgrounds and pay attention to cultural cues to guide a successful conversation or negotiation.
While many presume that the only path to success lies with a law or MBA program, the study of international affairs enables you to master the elements of our complex, interconnected world and sets you apart from other candidates.
International affairs programs equip graduates with an understanding of regions, languages, and global trends, as well as project management, trade and economic development, and analytical skills. Teaching methods stress the application of theory to practical issues. Joint degrees enable students to combine technical programs in public health, business, law, or computer systems with a focus on international affairs. Cross-cultural training is part of the curriculum, as well as a part of daily life when students mix with classmates from a diverse range of backgrounds. More than 800,000 international students attend U.S. institutions of higher education. They are preparing for the international marketplace and learning important cross-cultural skills. Are you ready?
It’s all global now. With training in the competencies of international affairs, you can be a competitive candidate for jobs today and into the future.