The field of International Communications concerns ongoing relations between entities existing within the global community. These relations reflect a nature whereby the needs and interests of interacting nations are shared for mutual assistance, and include, in their core, the exchange of cultural mores. Since the global environment is much more varied and complex than that of the regional, communication activities on the international level are contingent on cultural awareness and sensitivity, which is why the field is probably associated more strongly with International Relations than Public Relations.
International communications specialists have a wide array of responsibilities. This is no surprise, since their work and influence regularly go worldwide. Primarily, however, international communications specialists establish and maintain relationships between nations and other international entities along a cooperative basis through a means of multiple forms of communication, including print, digital and oral, in both direct and indirect capacities.
Below is a non-conclusive list of the other common and critical duties adherent to the international communications specialist:
- Coordinate programs to facilitate the needs and interests of the enterprise, the public and other affiliates and constituents.
- Concentrate all efforts on priority countries and/or regions.
- Compose and edit documents that facilitate communications between relevant entities, including press releases, radio and television reports, speeches, and newspaper/magazine articles.
- Field and address queries sent by various entities with respect to public relations.
- Conduct and compile media research for the purpose of effectively promoting company, organizational and/or communal interests and objectives.
- Develop and track all media lists and contracts.
- Collaborate with web staff regarding online media communications.
- Draft monthly and quarterly reports on all communication activities for both internal and external groups.
- Devise and initiate strategic coverage for media groups, both in national and international presses, and contribute feedback and assistance as necessary.
- Create and organize visual presentations for a plethora of purposes and contexts, such as school assemblies, corporate meetings and conventions.
- Draw up plans and policies regarding employer operations.
- Supervise and manage advertising and other company promotions with respect to marketing and public communications.
- Be aware of public attitudes, concerns and interests regarding relevant issues, then build on them to benefit employer, its constituents and the community at large.
Training and Education Requirements
The training and education expected for international communications specialists vary from sector to sector and in accordance with the preferences of the particular employer, but general requirements include:
- B.A. in Communications or a related field.
- Computer software proficiency, especially with Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, Access, and Outlook.
- Excellent communication skills in English, both written and oral.
- Proficiency in any number of languages other than English.
- Background in International Relations.
- Social media knowledge/proficiency, with regards to working in media advocacy groups, networking, marketing and advertising.
- Ability to perform organizational planning and situation analysis.
- Ability to form strategies and use good judgment with regards to the preferences, needs and objectives of a particular entity and/or situation.
- Digital communications/internet proficiency. This includes web design, graphics and other modes of electronic visual representation.
- Internship in Communications or a related field.
Experience is a form of training because one learns by ‘doing’ (i.e. trial-and-error). Generally speaking, experience in International Communications is combined with and dependent on the level of education. The relationship between experience and education is as follows: 2-4 years experience with M.A./PhD; 5-10 years experience with baccalaureate.
Salary and Wages
As established in Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) for 2008 . . .
• Average median: $51,280
• Middle 50% salary range: $38,400-$71,670
• Lowest 10% salary range: less than $30.140
• Top 10% salary range: $97,910*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
1. Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) designation:
In accordance with the Universal Accreditation Board, all candidates must meet the following: (1) accumulate a minimum of 5 years of full-time work or teaching experience in Public Relations; (2) obtain B.A. in Communications or a related field; (3) pass the Readiness Review: [a] written submission, [b] portfolio review, and [c] interview by a three-member panel; and (4) pass the computer-based examination.
2. Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation:
In accordance with the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), all candidates must meet the following: (1) accumulate a minimum of 5 years experience in Communications or related field, (2) obtain a B.A. in Communications or a related field, and (3) pass both written and oral examinations.
Below are five of the major organizations in International Communications, although many more exist.
- American Society of Training Development (ASTD):
- Association of Professional Communication Consultants (APCC):
- IEEE Professional Communications Society:
- International Association of Business Communicators (IABC):
- International Communication Association (ICA):