The U.S. Department of State maintains a rank-order list of eligible hires (a register) for appointments as career Foreign Service Officers (U.S. diplomats) based on the needs of the Department. Candidates who pass the assessment and clearance processes are placed on the register. To learn more about applying to represent the United States abroad as a career Foreign Service Officer/U.S. Diplomat, please visit https://careers.state.gov.Learn more about this agency
The U.S. Department of State is committed to creating a workforce that represents the diversity of America. It recognizes that all employees’ rich experiences, talents, and knowledge are unique and bring valuable input to every project, to every bilateral relationship, to every multilateral initiative.
Our workforce is united by a common vision to promote and demonstrate democratic values and advance a free, peaceful, and prosperous world on behalf of America’s citizens. If you share that vision, we have a place for you as a Foreign Service Officer, otherwise known as a U.S. Diplomat. As a U.S. Diplomat – an Economic, Consular, Management, Political or Public Diplomacy Foreign Service Officer - you will be involved with work that matters, while expanding your worldview, and discovering countless opportunities for personal and professional growth.
During this public service career, you can expect to be assigned to hardship posts. You may face an irregular or extended work schedule. These posts can be in remote locations, without many U.S. style amenities; there can be sporadic power outages and unreliable internet service. Health and sanitation standards can be below U.S. standards. Some assignments are “unaccompanied,” which means family members may not travel to the post with you.
That’s why it takes a special type of person to represent America abroad, to advance diplomatic initiatives to the benefit of both the United States and the host country. Serving as a U.S. diplomat requires fortitude, flexibility, a commitment to public service, and the ability to adapt to changing situations and cultures other than your own. We recruit motivated individuals with sound judgment and leadership abilities who represent all 13 dimensions and can retain their composure in times of great stress — or even dire situations, like a military coup or a major environmental disaster.
Whether you want to follow a professional path that grows your management skills, impacts economic policy or helps reunite families, you’ll find five different career tracks that can direct you towards realizing your goals. Please choose carefully, as your decision will have an impact on your selection and job experiences once you enter a Foreign Service career. In order to make the most informed decision, you’ll need to understand the similarities — and the differences — between each career track.
You can take this quiz to assist in considering which track is right for you. After determining which career track is right for you can take the online FSO practice test that is designed to provide you with a realistic preview of computer-based FSOT and an estimate of your likelihood of passing.
76% or greater - After completing initial training in Washington, D.C., a Foreign Service Officer usually is assigned to two consecutive overseas tours, each two years in length. After the initial two tours, assignments will be for periods of one to three years overseas or in the U.S. The majority of a Foreign Service Officer career is generally spent serving at embassies or consulates abroad, sometimes accompanied by family and sometimes away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions.
FE - CM
Job family (Series)
Conditions Of Employment
- Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.*
- Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
- Be able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
- Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.**
- Be at least 20 years old to apply; at least 21 years old to be appointed.
- Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).***
- Pass the entire selection process.****
Please do not submit your application through USAJOBS.
Please review the application process at careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer/test-process/ and submit your application and register to take the Foreign Service Officer Test at: www.pearsonvue.com/fsot
Knowledge, Skills, and Other Characteristics
The successful Foreign Service Officer candidate will demonstrate the following 13 dimensions that reflect the skills, abilities, and personal qualities deemed essential to the work of the Foreign Service at the United States Department of State.
- COMPOSURE - To stay calm, poised, and effective in stressful or difficult situations; to think on one’s feet, adjusting quickly to changing situations; to maintain self-control.
- CULTURAL ADAPTABILITY – To work and communicate effectively and harmoniously with persons of other cultures, value systems, political beliefs, and economic circumstances; to recognize and respect differences in new and different cultural environments.
- EXPERIENCE AND MOTIVATION - To demonstrate knowledge, skills or other attributes gained from previous experience of relevance to the Foreign Service; to articulate appropriate motivation for joining the Foreign Service.
- INFORMATION INTEGRATION AND ANALYSIS - To absorb and retain complex information drawn from a variety of sources; to draw reasoned conclusions from analysis and synthesis of available information; to evaluate the importance, reliability, and usefulness of information; to remember details of a meeting or event without the benefit of notes.
- INITIATIVE AND LEADERSHIP - To recognize and assume responsibility for work that needs to be done; to persist in the completion of a task; to influence significantly a group’s activity, direction, or opinion; to motivate others to participate in the activity one is leading.
- JUDGEMENT - To discern what is appropriate, practical, and realistic in a given situation; to weigh relative merits of competing demands.
- OBJECTIVITY AND INTEGRITY - To be fair and honest; to avoid deceit, favoritism, and discrimination; to present issues frankly and fully, without injecting subjective bias; to work without letting personal bias prejudice actions.
- ORAL COMMUNICATION - To speak fluently in a concise, grammatically correct, organized, precise, and persuasive manner; to convey nuances of meaning accurately; to use appropriate styles of communication to fit the audience and purpose.
- PLANNING AND ORGANIZING - To prioritize and order tasks effectively, to employ a systematic approach to achieving objectives, to make appropriate use of limited resources.
- QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS - To identify, compile, analyze, and draw correct conclusions from pertinent data; to recognize patterns or trends in numerical data; to perform simple mathematical operations.
- RESOURCEFULNESS - To formulate creative alternatives or solutions to resolve problems, to show flexibility in response to unanticipated circumstances.
- WORKING WITH OTHERS - To interact in a constructive, cooperative, and harmonious manner; to work effectively as a team player; to establish positive relationships and gain the confidence of others; to use humor as appropriate.
- WRITTEN COMMUNICATION - To write concise, well organized, grammatically correct, effective and persuasive English in a limited amount of time.
For additional information please visit careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer/13-dimensions/
No specific educational level or proficiency in a foreign language is required.
*EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION PROGRAM (E-Verify) – Verification of employment eligibility in the United States is required.
U.S. law requires organizations to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States – either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. This agency utilizes E-Verify to compare information from the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm employment eligibility. If the employee’s information does not match DHS and/or SSA records, the employee is given an opportunity to resolve the problem. If eligibility cannot be verified, employment will be terminated.
**The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit: https://fam.state.gov/.
***For more information about Veteran’s Preference and how it is applied in the Foreign Service Specialist Selection Process, please visit: http://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/are-veterans-given-hiring-preference-
****For more information regarding the selection process, please visit https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer/test-process/
No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections §607, §608, §610 or §611 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no applicant will be considered who has previously been separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section §306 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu thereof.
A Foreign Service Generalist separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be a Foreign Service Generalist, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service Specialist).
Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 US Code 3303 as amended from accepting or considering prohibited political recommendations and are required to return any prohibited political recommendations to sender. In addition, as mandated by 5 US Code 3110, relatives of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.
It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors.
The Department of State provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations for any part of the application or hiring process should so advise the Department at ReasonableAccommodations@state.gov, within one week of receiving their
invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.
How You Will Be Evaluated
The Foreign Service Officer selection process begins with online Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) registration and the submission of personal narratives, proceeds through the assessment process, and, for those who succeed, culminates in hiring from the register for assignment to the training and orientation course, known as A-100 that marks the beginning of every Foreign Service Officer's career. Candidates are evaluated on their FSOT results, undergo a qualifications review, a suitability review and must pass an oral assessment as well as secure medical and security clearances. Selection for these positions are made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. For additional information, please visit https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer/test-process/
To preview questions please click here.
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
Please do not apply through USAJOBS. Visit www.pearsonvue.com/FSOT
Your Personal Narrative (PN) will answer questions describing the knowledge, skills, and abilities you would bring to the Foreign Service. The PN offers the opportunity to highlight not just what you have
done, but how you did it and what you learned. You should provide examples from your experiences that show you have the skills to be a successful Foreign Service Officer. This is an important part of the application and each member of a Qualifications Evaluation Panel (QEP), made up of trained Foreign Service Officers, reads it carefully. Different panels, made up of Foreign Service Officers from that career track, review each career track. The panel assesses the candidate’s file based on six precepts that are predictors of success in the Foreign Service. These precepts are:
- Leadership: innovation, decision making, teamwork, openness to dissent, community service and institution building
- Interpersonal Skills: professional standards, persuasion and negotiation, workplace perceptiveness, adaptability, representational skills
- Communication Skills: written communication, oral communication, active listening, public outreach, foreign language skill
- Management Skills: operational effectiveness, performance management and evaluation, management resources, customer service
- Intellectual Skills: information gathering and analysis, critical thinking, active learning, leadership and management training
- Substantive Knowledge: Understanding of U.S. history/ government/culture and application in dealing with other cultures. Knowledge or application of career track information that is relevant information. To help write your PN, focus on your own experience in answering the questions. Use these precepts as a guide to (1) give positive examples that demonstrate your abilities; (2) identify learning experiences; and (3) indicate how your learning experience will contribute to success in your chosen Foreign Service career track. Make sure you show why you have skills or interest in the career track you have selected. Please make sure you answer the question.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.
Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, and an unprecedented chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Benefits while stationed overseas include free, tax-exempt housing and tax-free education allowance for dependent children from kindergarten to –12th grade and more. Visit https://careers.state.gov/work/benefits/fso/ for additional information.
The basic salary listed is from the FS Overseas Pay Schedule and the FS Washington D.C. locality Pay Schedule. For information on FS Pay Schedules, please visit https://www.state.gov/resources-bureau-of-global-talent-management/.
How to Apply
Please do not apply through USAJOBS.
1. Visit www.pearsonvue.com/FSOT
2. Create a web account.
3. Follow the instructions to complete and submit the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) online application:
a. Answer all self-assessment questions;
b. Include work history for the past 10 (ten) years; and
c. Complete the Personal Narrative questions and Statement of interest.
(Please see the Required Documents section for more information.)
d. Your application is automatically saved as you proceed through it.
You may interrupt the application process and return to it until you submit it.
e. Complete, review and submit the application.
o After you complete and submit the above this becomes your online application and will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this position.
o You have six months to complete the application process outlined in this announcement and must take the FSOT. If you have not done so within six months, you must restart the application process.
o Application packages must be complete before you can register for the FSOT.
o We strongly recommend that you go back into your application and verify that everything is completed properly.
4. Select an appointment to take the FSOT at one of Pearson VUE's test centers.
If you are having technical difficulty with the application process, please contact the Customer Service Desk by calling 1-866-389-8339 (toll free), 1-952-905-7483 (toll) or by utilizing the Chat function on www.pearsonvue.com. The Help Desk is available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time; closed on local holidays.
For more information on the Foreign Service Officer hiring process, please visit https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer/
Agency contact information
AddressU.S. Department of State
2401 E. Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20522
Visit our careers page
Learn more about what it's like to work at Department of State - Agency Wide, what the agency does, and about the types of careers this agency offers.
Choose the Foreign Service Officer career track that is right for you. Visit https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer/ and take the online FSO practice test.
Fair & Transparent
The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.
Reasonable Accommodation Policy
Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.
A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:
- An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.
You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Legal and regulatory guidance
This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/588645100. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.