Getting to Know the Diplomatic Career Path
Written by Nurhannani Fazlur Rahman
A diplomatic career path is not as clear as a doctor is. Diplomats come from all backgrounds and professions, and through my training with Grassroot Diplomat, I learnt exactly why.
I joined as a marketing assistant for Grassroot Diplomat through the Diplomatic Career Coaching Programme. My main tasks were to draft marketing strategies and create infographics for various social media platforms. It wasn’t long before I understood how this experience in marketing and communications can be applied to my ambition to becoming a diplomat and policy maker.
Connecting and collaborating with various youth organisations in the UK taught me the importance of constant and effective engagement with grassroots actors. Strategic marketing taught me how different groups respond to different incentives, teaching me to pay attention to stakeholder needs required by a policy maker. Creating graphics taught me how to communicate clearly and succinctly, a key tool in any diplomat’s arsenal, particularly in today’s fast-paced world of information.
The world of diplomacy requires a whole range of skills, from technical economic, engineering and medical knowledge, to critical philosophical and political ability. Diplomacy is about adapting what one knows on an interpersonal and global scale. The most important thing to do when writing a CV applying to diplomatic jobs is to make previous experiences relevant to the field. By explicitly stating how my previous experience as a marketing intern has taught me to better communicate improved my confidence.
I learned that an engineer, for example, could very well become a diplomat if they can show that their engineering expertise is relevant to the application to international development. I learned that bar-keeping experience is also relevant as the experience of managing and controlling a rowdy crowd is relevant to the field. Similarly, a waiting job at a restaurant tests stamina and being able to work under extreme pressure - conditions every diplomat finds themselves at some point in their career.
Don’t worry if you can’t land an internship in the United Nations if the only work experience you have is working behind a bar. When there is a will, there is a way and the way forward is to receive coaching to improve how your previous jobs and life experience applies to every day diplomacy. How does this make me a better diplomat? I learned that almost every profession is relevant.
Go forth, be patient, be brave and do not let your doubts of believing you don’t have relevant experience stop you from pursuing your diplomatic dreams. You have relevant experience if you make them relevant.
To book your session, visit: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/diplomatic-training