Foreign Service Officer

Montevideo, D.C
Oct 14, 2021
Oct 19, 2021
Full Time


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 .

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.

Travel Required

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.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


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


Specialized Experience

None required.

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


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

    Additional information

    *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: .

    ***For more information about Veteran's Preference and how it is applied in the Foreign Service Specialist 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 §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, 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

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

    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

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Top Secret

    Drug test required

    Required Documents

    Please do not apply through USAJOBS. Visit

    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.

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