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U.S. Department of State

Foreign Service Officer

3+ months agoUnited States


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. Candi​dates 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


As the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency, the U.S. Department of State advances the interests of the American people, their safety, and economic prosperity. The Department has Foreign Service employees serving as diplomats in more than 270 locations abroad and throughout the United States. Foreign Service personnel practice diplomacy to advance America's interests, solve global challenges, build alliances, counter adversaries, promote peace, and find new opportunities for our nation.

They make a difference globally every day through solving intellectually challenging issues, innovating creatively, achieving lifelong learning and professional development, and helping people around the world.

The mission of a U.S. diplomat in the Foreign Service is to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad.

If you're passionate about public service and want to represent the U.S. around the world, a challenging and rewarding career is waiting for you. The opportunity to work abroad and experience cultures, customs and people of different nations is truly a career unlike any other.

The work you'll do will have an impact on the world. You will be asked to serve at one of any of the more than 270 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions in The Americas, Africa, Europe and Eurasia, East Asia and Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia. Some of these posts are in difficult and even dangerous environments but serving in them affords great challenges and rewards.

When hiring Foreign Service Officers, we look for motivated individuals with sound judgment and leadership abilities who can retain their composure in times of great stress — or even dire situations, like a military coup or a major environmental disaster. We are looking for individuals dedicated to public service.

A career with the Foreign Service may appear glamorous with travel, government-paid housing, generous pay and benefits. In some instances, though, working as a Foreign Service Officer can be very challenging and sometimes dangerous. In any posting, you may face an irregular schedule or extended work schedule. These posts can be in remote locations, without many U.S.- style amenities; there can be sporadic power outages, unreliable internet service etc. 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 U.S. 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.

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.

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 the computer-based FSOT and an estimate of your likelihood of passing.


Conditions of Employment

Please do not submit your application through USAJOBS.

Please review the application process at and submit your application and register to take the Foreign Service Officer Test at:

Key Requirements:

To be eligible, the U.S. Department of State requires that you be:
  • A U.S. citizen on the date you submit your registration package
  • At least 20 years old and no older than 59 years of age on the day you submit your registration
  • At least 21 years old and not yet 60 on the day you are appointed as a Foreign Service Officer
  • Available for worldwide assignments, including Washington, D.C.
Even though you are not required to know a foreign language to become an officer, proficiency in one or more languages will enhance your competitiveness for selection.


Specialized Experience

None required.

Knowledge, Skills, and Other Characteristics

Successful candidates will demonstrate the following 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.


To discern what is appropriate, practical, and realistic in a given situation; to weigh relative merits of competing demands using sound judgment; to consider multiple points of view when making recommendations; to formulate creative alternatives or solutions to resolve problems; to show flexible and innovative thinking/problem solving.


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.


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.


To evaluate the importance, reliability, and usefulness of information from a variety of sources; to distill relevant details from available information; to synthesize and analyze available information; to recognize patterns or trends and draw reasoned conclusions from data.


To recognize and assume responsibility for work that needs to be done; to persist in the completion of a task; to influence a group's activity or direction significantly; to motivate others to participate in the activity one is leading.


To recognize divergent and overlapping interests; to recognize advantages and disadvantages of agreement and available options; to advocate, influence and/or persuade others using information, facts, and reasoning rather than emotion; to resolve disagreements; to maintain or develop mutually beneficial working relationships with counterparts in the process.


To be fair and honest to all employees and keep an open mind; to present issues frankly; to analyze facts and data effectively, without interjecting bias; to be consistent in words and actions; to be dependable.


To prioritize and order tasks effectively, to employ a systematic approach to achieving objectives, to make appropriate use of limited resources.


To present fluently in a concise, grammatically correct, organized, and precise manner; to think on one's feet, adjusting quickly to changing situations; to convey key elements and nuances of meaning accurately; to respond to questions from others effectively; to use appropriate styles of communication to fit the audience and purpose.


To interact in a constructive, cooperative, and harmonious manner toward a common goal; to work effectively as a team player; to establish positive relationships and gain the confidence of others; to ease tension as appropriate.


To write concisely yet comprehensively; to use clear arguments and facts; to use correct grammar and syntax; to use appropriate vocabulary to promote understanding.

For additional information please visit


No specific educational level or proficiency in a foreign language is required.

Additional information

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.

For more information about Veteran's Preference and how it is applied in the Foreign Service Selection Process, please visit:

*For more information regarding the selection process, please visit

No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections 607, 608, 610 or 612 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 Officer, but may apply to be a Foreign Service Specialist. A Foreign Service Specialist separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be a Foreign Service Specialist in the same skill code, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service Generalist).

Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 U.S.C. § 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 U.S.C. § 3110, relatives of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities, and employees may not influence or participate in the hiring process of a relative.

It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination—whether based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors—and retaliation.

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, in advance of each component of the officer assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis. For additional information, visit

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

The Foreign Service Officer selection process begins with an application, including personal narratives, and proceeds through the selection process, including the Foreign Service Officer Test. For those who succeed, the process culminates in hiring from the Register for assignment to the training and orientation course that marks the beginning of every Foreign Service Officer career.

For additional information, please visit

You may preview questions for this vacancy.

Client-provided location(s): United States
Job ID: USDep-FSO-2024-0001
Employment Type: Other

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