An Intern's Guide to Landing a Job in Foreign Affairs

An Intern's Guide to Landing a Job in Foreign Affairs

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Maha Neouchy
June 22, 2012

TWC hosted their first career lunch series of the summer semester at The United Nations Foundation (UNF). What was more exciting than the location, was the expert advice that Peter Yeo, UNF Vice President for Public Policy and Executive Director of the Better World Campaign, provided about careers in the fields of health, public policy and foreign affairs.


Before coming the UNF as the Vice President for Public Policy, Mr. Yeo spent over twenty years obtaining legislative, analytical and management experience in senior roles on Capitol Hill and the State Department. During lunch with TWC summer interns, he spoke about his prior and current experience and took a series of questions from the audience.


Lunch Series Q & A


Question: What are some skills that students should hone before applying for careers in Foreign Affairs?


Peter Yeo: The top three include writing, foreign language and analytical skills.


Question: What are the top three things that UNF recruiters look for in a prospective applicant?


Peter Yeo: The top three things that UNF recruiters look for in a prospective applicant includes adaptability, being a team player and the likelihood of retaining applicants as long-term employees.


Question: How do you get past the initial stage of the screening process for a job at the UNF?


Peter Yeo: A few ways to get a second interview anywhere is by tailoring your resume to the position you're applying for, going online and learning about your interviewer's background, and expressing sincere energy/enthusiasm for the position.


Question: Can you provide advice for prospective job applicants in any field?


Peter Yeo: Remember that this is Washington, D.C. so use connections to find out where jobs are! Networking is key so attend receptions and go up to the only person you don't know and introduce yourself. Make sure your resume tells a story of what you've done because no one wants to hear about your responsibilities, employers what to hear about what you've accomplished.


Question: Are international graduates hired at the UNF?


Peter Yeo: Unfortunately, for someone who isn't a U.S. Citizen or a green card holder, the application/visa process could take up to a year. The UNF has to be convinced that international applicants have a skill set that you can't find in the U.S.


Question: What are some of the different fields for interns available at the UNF?


Peter Yeo: Fields include Public Affairs, Communications, Finance, Economics, Accounting, Government, Political and Congressional Relations, and Global Health


Question: What do intern responsibilities include at the UNF?


Peter Yeo: Interns can be asked to do anything from answer phones to working on research projects to attending meetings and lobbying on Capitol Hill.


After the Q&A portion of the Lunch Series, Mr. Yeo passed out business cards and took the time to answer individual questions from students.


[View photos of the event on our Flickr channel]

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

Learn More