FSOT June 2011 Results?

June 30, 2011

“I failed the FSOT!”

OK, so some of you passed and some of you did not pass.  I did not say “fail”, I prefer “lesson learned”.

Congrats to those of you that passed.  Now on to your personal narratives and prepping for the FSOA.

For those of you who didn’t pass, no worries.  You can take it again without penalty and there are plenty of other opportunities to get into the State Department to enjoy the SAME financial benefits as FSO Generalists.

This is a post to all who didn’t pass:  it’s not a big deal, don’t get discouraged, what seems like a small (or big) failure now is only a small bump in the process of learning about getting into State.

A personal friend of mine just passed the FSOT on her third time around, we’re ecstatic for her.  But note that she is currently an OMS and already in the State Department which could not have hurt her chances at passing the FSOT.

So again, I make a pitch for taking the Foreign Service Specialist (FSS) route.  It beats preparing for the FSOT test alone; as an FSS you get real life experience in the State Department AND you get paid while you’re at it.

Or would you rather study just for the FSOT for free and not get any relevant experience in the meantime?

Personally, I would take the FSS route while preparing for the FSOT.  But that’s just me.


Accepting Applications for Foreign Service Diplomatic Courier

June 27, 2011

Paul Revere, the most famous American Courier-Messenger.

The State Department is now accepting applications for the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Diplomatic Courier positions.

Click here (http://careers.state.gov/specialist/vacancy-announcements/dc) to read the vacancy announcement, and to start the online application process.

The deadline to submit completed applications is July 18, 2011.

Please note that applicants must be U.S. citizens, willing and able to travel extensively throughout the world, and must be at least 20 years of age and must have or be within nine months of receiving their Associate’s degree in order to apply. Those who have successfully gone through the selection process will be required to obtain a valid medical clearance, Top Secret security clearance, and undergo a suitability review. Please read the entire vacancy announcement for all requirements and qualifications.

By-Pass the FSOT (Part 3): The Skill Code Change

June 26, 2011

What is a “Skill Code Change”?

A skill code change request is a request by any State Department employee to switch into another career track after she has demonstrated she has already been doing an outstanding job in that career track.

For example:

Say you are a Foreign Service Specialist (FSS) in the IT career track (IMS). You’ve taken to serving at small posts where the Department has trouble finding people to take consular and management jobs. Since you’re on the ground, you take up responsibilities as the post consular and management officer while still fulfilling your regular IT duties. After one tour you’ve become good enough in consular and management functions that the Department allows you two more tours as a management officer. When all is said and done, you’ve got three management tours under your belt and you’ve shown you can do the job.

Now comes the skill code change: you’ve been doing the management job for so long you might as well just convert, and under the rules of this program, you can do exactly that. This applies for any job you can consistently do well, e.g. Management to Political, Consular to Economic, OMS to IRM, IRM to Consular, CS to Public Diplomacy etc.

I will be covering the exact details of how this program works in a later post.

By-Pass the FSOT

If you’re selected to be an FSO through a skill code change, you can by-pass the FSOT but you still need to take the Foreign Service Oral Assessment (FSOA)!

Get into State FIRST, then prep for the FSOT:

As with the Mustang Program, the beauty of this option is that if you get into State Department as CS or FSS, the pressure to get a job in foreign affairs is taken off you and you can prepare for the FSOT at your leisure (that is if you’re still set on being an FS Generalist).

If you have more questions about the program, leave a comment and I’ll answer any questions.

Accepting Applications for Afghanistan Positions

June 24, 2011

The U.S. Department of State is seeking to hire highly skilled and motivated United States citizens to serve our nation in Afghanistan.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens able to obtain the security, medical, and ethics clearances required for all employees. Please click here (http://careers.state.gov/ap-jobs) for more information about qualifications, the selection process, compensation and benefits, etc.

We are pleased to inform you that we are still accepting applications for the positions listed below. Please click on the links to view the vacancy announcements, and to start the online application process on USAJobs. You can also find this list on our website at: http://careers.state.gov/ap-jobs/vacancy-announcements.

Support Services Specialist: Deadline is June 30, 2011.

Deputy Director for Anti-Corruption (Afghanistan): Deadline is June 30, 2011.

Policy Coordinator For Rule Of Law (Afghanistan): Deadline is July 05, 2011.

Cultural Heritage Program Manager (PASO): Deadline is July 07, 2011.

Accepting Applications for Positions in the Iraq Strategic Partnership Office

June 24, 2011

The State Department is still accepting applications for the following position(s) with the U.S. Department of State’s Iraq Strategic Partnership Office (ISPO). To learn more about the ISPO, please go here: http://careers.state.gov/iraq-jobs.

Please note that you must be a U.S. Citizen to apply, and must be able to obtain medical and ethics clearances.

Click on the link(s) below for more information regarding qualifications and requirements, and to start the online application process on USAJobs. You can also find these links on the Jobs in Iraq Vacancy Announcement page (http://careers.state.gov/iraq-jobs/vacancy-announcements).

Senior Oil and Gas Advisor: Deadline is July 05, 2011.

Senior Police Advisor (Iraq): Deadline is July 05, 2011.

Program Manager/Contracting Officer’s Representative (Iraq): Deadline is July 05, 2011.

Accepting Applications for Information Management Specialists

June 21, 2011

The State Department is accepting applications for Foreign Service Information Management Specialist positions. Please click here (http://careers.state.gov/specialist/vacancy-announcements/ims) to learn more about qualifications and requirements, and to start the online application process.

The deadline to submit completed applications for this position is July 29, 2011.

Please note that applicants must be U. S. citizens between the ages of 20 and 59, able to qualify for a Top Secret security clearance, and be available for worldwide service. All potential applicants are strongly urged to read the entire vacancy announcement to ensure that they meet all of the requirements for this position before applying.

Consular Adjudicator Selection Criteria

June 21, 2011

So you’ve submitted your application for the Consular Adjudicator job and you’re wondering what criteria the committee will use to select candidates.

Well, my guess is probably a little better than yours because I’m on the “inside” but it’s still a guess; I am not part of the Human Resources complex so I don’t have any secret insight into the process.

At the very least, you have to meet the minimum requirements set out on the website.  The only way the committee will consider a less than (2/1) in Mandarin is if every candidate has a score less than (2/1), which would be somewhat surprising.  But given the way State Department tests languages, it’s conceivable there may be only a few people who speak and read (2/1) Mandarin given testing standards.

But aside from the minimum requirements, these are things I would look at if I were on the committee:

  • Demonstrated ability to quickly read people, or to empathize, e.g. investigators, Secret Service agents, customer service representatives, counselors, etc.
  • Ability to make fast and sometimes difficult decisions and to move on from there, e.g. small-unit infantry leaders, airline station agents in high-volume airports.
  • A comfort level with rules and regulations and sufficient judgement to fill in the grey areas where the rules are silent, e.g. lawyers and beat cops.
  • A sense of humor and ability to work in teams.
  • Good grades in school helps but probably won’t be the only thing they’re looking at unless you’re a recent college graduate.

Again, this is just my guess as an insider and someone who’s stamped his (more than) fair share of visas.  If anyone has any feedback on how this process goes, I’d love to hear from you.

Good luck to everyone!