recent college graduate; need career advice re: IR

<p>i'm concerned about building my resume to eventually work for something like the state dept or a multilateral organization. </p>

<p>i graduated in 2009 from college and had no internships nor any relevant work experience. i completed one internship since then at a senator's office. right now, i feel entirely helpless because i'm mostly no longer eligible (often, it's mandated that you're a currently enrolled student) for most internships (e.g. state dept, fbi, cia, etc) that would strongly benefit my resume/career prospects. </p>

<p>right now, i'm starting a full-time job as an office assistant at a random company. frankly, i just don't know what to do nor do i know how to eventually reach my career goals without having a string of internships related to foreign relations. </p>

<p>i'ved toyed with the idea of going to graduate school - but frankly, i am just not ready for that since i don't have the sort of resume that could get me into strong IR programs. </p>

<p>advice please? thank you.</p>

<p>Do you speak any languages? What was your major? I would recommend the Peace Corps as a way to build your resume. If you don't speak any foreign languages, then you need to learn some. Once you learn some then you can look into jobs/positions in foreign countries. Once you have area-specific experience doing something relevant to your career goals, and language ability, then you can apply for grad school in IR.</p>

<p>Use your degree to join the military (any branch, however CG would probably be the least beneficial), try to get into Intelligence, Special Forces/Operations, Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, Translator or several other careers fields/MOS.</p>

<p>This will provide you with overseas working experience, a Security Clearance (which is extremely important), and a skill set - more importantly, a skill set is marketable to the agencies you named.</p>

<p>Also, what is it you want to do in those agencies? Be an 1811? Intelligence? Foreign Affairs Officer? </p>

<p>Federal agencies have numerous fields to pick from, just like any other company (HR, IT, Administration, Program Management), so you need to figure out what it is you want to do then begin building a pathway.</p>

<p>I'm not a fan of the Peace Corp route. It is good for a few jobs (USAID Junior Officer), but the military is much more beneficial. With the influx of various military officers leaving the armed forces and thousands of enlisted servicemen looking to begin their second careers, some of these jobs will become more competitive, simply because there is currently a very large applicant pool who possess unique skills sets and previous experience.</p>

<p>The problem with the Peace Corp is that you could join, put in your 2 years (or however many is required), spend your life living in some nasty country, get paid next to nothing and not be guaranteed any job when you get out. Trust me, for every one ex-member of the Peace Corp who was hired by the State Department, there are 25 who didn't. And those people are left with no money and no marketable skills in the business world.</p>

<p>Taken from the Peace Corps Website:</p>

<p>"The Peace Corps provides Volunteers with a living allowance that enables them to live in a manner similar to the local people in their community. The Peace Corps also provides complete medical and dental care and covers the cost of transportation to and from your country of service. When you return from your 27 months of service, you will receive almost $7,300 before taxes toward your transition to life back home. The money is yours to use as you wish: for travel, a vacation, making a move, or securing housing."</p>

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<p>Basically, you need to have something to offer them, because other people do!</p>

<p>Also job postings for the State Department are typically reserved for in-house, not people walking off the street. It's much easier just sending someone overseas who already has their security clearance than going through the long hiring process of a newbie just to send them to some isolate country with little relevant experience.</p>

<p>Language is fine, but mostly they want people who are fluent - which takes time and isn't easily accomplished once you are out of school. You need immersion programs and translation courses to back-up your ability, which is pretty difficult to do when you gotta work fulltime. In some areas, mixing up a single common word can get a rifle put in your face - no need to take that chance when they can have fluent speakers or native speakers who don't make those kinds of mistakes.</p>

<p>I'd expand my search to other federal agencies. Apply to entry level positions, even ones you don't want. It's much easier to much laterally once you are in the federal system. </p>

<p>Your ship for internships has sailed, so stop fixating on them. Now it's time to get some work experience. Use your new job to build your administrative skills then start applying to administrative jobs within the government, then maybe you can make an internal move.</p>

<p>However, I strongly urge you to look into the military, it's the best pathway to what you want.</p>

<p>thanks for the responses! </p>

<p>@bigeast: coincidentally, i have an appointment on monday with a USN recruiter. </p>

<p>thanks guys! really appreciate your help.</p>