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Drewby Drewby Drew
Jan 23, 2006



The employment listing for the INFORMATION MANAGEMENT TECHNICAL SPECIALIST (DIGITAL) is a little confusing:
http://careers.state.gov/specialist...s/infotech.html

It says in a table under EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS that for a BS Degree zero years of specialized experienced is required.

Below the table it says:

quote:

Candidates with a Bachelorís Degree (BS/BA) or higher in Computer Science, Information Technology Management, Telecommunications Management, Information Systems, Information Security or other related IT fields with a GPA at graduation of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale, may apply without additional technical certifications or specialized experience.

But then two paragraphs down it says:

quote:

BS Degree: Studies must directly relate to the duties described in this vacancy announcement; study and/or degrees must be in Electrical Engineering, Electrical Engineering Technology, Electronics Engineering, Electronics Engineering Technology, Computer Engineering, or other related fields.

I emailed them, but I'm curious if you have any thoughts.


Vilerat posted:

You spend two years there learning how to be a State tech and doing a few trips overseas to either install something or fix something. Your first two years are considered training for the most part and it's really for the best because when you go overseas as a permanent change of station you're expected to know what you are doing already.

TCD posted:

I, however, was 2 months into my training when I found out my additional training which turned out to be 2 months of supplemental training. Some specialist positions will be designated for language trainingÖ
******Note for Information Management Technical Specialists**** The first tour is in DC

When you applied where were you in terms of knowing or having experience with of the items listed on the SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE REQUIRED (and to a lesser degree the DESIRED EXPERIENCE)?
http://careers.state.gov/specialist...s/infotech.html

I know some, but definitely don't have any experience with some of them.

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TCD
Nov 13, 2002

Every step, a fucking adventure.


For IMS, post can request you take any training you want beyond the core IMS training before you head to post. Other specialists also can get post specific training.

That's what my quoted comment was about. Also your education requirements or whatever is when you apply and go through the resume cut.

The requirements changed for IMS after I applied so don't think they are set in stone.

TCD fucked around with this message at Sep 22, 2009 around 03:24

Xelly
Nov 18, 2004

Snap.

Hey Business of Ferrets,
I have a couple of rather specific questions regarding becoming an FSO when it comes to my personal circumstances. I don't have a platinum account so I can't use PMs, but is there any way we could maybe facilitate some sort of e-mail based Q&A, if you have some time?

Vilerat
May 11, 2002


Drewby Drewby Drew posted:

Thanks again guys. I appreciate your answers.

I'm not taking meds for anything serious. They are all generic/uncontrolled and not needed to keep me from being suicidal/homicidal. I'm thinking of tapering off them anyway.

Another question while I'm posting, what educational backgrounds do you IMS and ITMS guys have? Certifications?

2 year community college of the air force associates degree and 7 years radio experience in the USAF. It's a sliding scale, more education/less experience.

BA/BS Degree (with a related minor) 0 years
OR
AAS Degree or Equivalent 0 years
OR
Technical Certificate(s) or 26 weeks of Specialized Training 1 years
OR
Technical Certificate(s) or 10 weeks of Specialized Training 2 years

It's my personal opinion that if the person who I think is going to be reviewing your application package is still the same person then it's more likely just a quick checkbox on a qualification checklist. I wouldn't stress too much about it.

quote:

When you applied where were you in terms of knowing or having experience with of the items listed on the SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE REQUIRED (and to a lesser degree the DESIRED EXPERIENCE)?

My experience with radio was limited to my time as a 2E1X3 in the USAF and it all directly applied to this job. I hate radio work though so it was purely a foot in the door and it worked out. I don't know about Digital though, but for the most part they install/troubleshoot servers and run fiber. Every post is mostly the same with the same kind of servers running Win 2k3 and exchange so if you know that stuff at all you're fine. They go out of their way to send you to get further education so if you have the bare requirements you'll have all the free opportunities in the world to get every cert known to man.

Business of Ferrets
Mar 2, 2008

Good to see that everything is back to normal.

Xelly posted:

Hey Business of Ferrets,
I have a couple of rather specific questions regarding becoming an FSO when it comes to my personal circumstances. I don't have a platinum account so I can't use PMs, but is there any way we could maybe facilitate some sort of e-mail based Q&A, if you have some time?

If you're convinced that nobody else on these forums would benefit from seeing your question and my response, then go ahead and post your email -- I'll get in touch with you.

Vilerat
May 11, 2002


Surprised we haven't set up a state email chain at this point.

TCD
Nov 13, 2002

Every step, a fucking adventure.


Vilerat posted:

Surprised we haven't set up a state email chain at this point.

Ha.

I'm almost out of DC.... Almost.

Xelly
Nov 18, 2004

Snap.

Well, okay, I guessÖ At the risk of sounding like a total dope, hereís my situation.

Iíve been considering Foreign Service for several years. I want to work in some sort of diplomacy job for the rest of my life. I want to travel, I want to learn 100 different languages, I want to be exposed to the same amount cultures, and I want to have an impact on the world in some way because of my work abroad. I have a particular interest in Africa. I am lucky because Iíve just been accepted to the Peace Corps and in October Iíll be leaving with the first batch of teachers to return to Rwanda since the genocide (yay field work!).

Itís been a growing concern of mine that Foreign Service does not have a place for my interests. In simplest terms Iím not sure which track to choose because Iím not sure any of them serve my purpose. I donít want to work in a consulate rejecting visas all day long; I want to prevent conflicts and resolve international disputes (e.g. stop wars). I want to be the person who sits in meetings with foreign ministers and convinces them not to let ships filled with weapons from China dock in their country. This is not to say that Iím not willing to work my way up, because I would totally work in a consulate and push papers all day long if it meant I could eventually do what I wanted.

Iím in this to be the job. I donít want kids, and even if I did I wouldnít want to subject them to a constantly uprooted lifestyle. I donít want to be posted in Stockholm or Paris. I want to go where Iím needed and help facilitate peaceful relationships between nations (like I always imagined a diplomat would). Some of the things I have been reading make the politics track sound a lot less active than I would enjoy, and the diplomacy track just doesnít have that much information on it for me to make an educated decision.

So you said you work in the politics division; do you feel as though your work has made much of an impact on the nations where you have been stationed or has your work been more personally fulfilling in nature? There really isnít a wrong answer to this question either. Iím just trying to make the best decision for myself.

pragan4
Aug 17, 2003

El gallo Pinto no pinta,
el que pinta es el pintor.


Xelly posted:

Well, okay, I guessÖ At the risk of sounding like a total dope, hereís my situation.

Iíve been considering Foreign Service for several years. I want to work in some sort of diplomacy job for the rest of my life. I want to travel, I want to learn 100 different languages, I want to be exposed to the same amount cultures, and I want to have an impact on the world in some way because of my work abroad. I have a particular interest in Africa. I am lucky because Iíve just been accepted to the Peace Corps and in October Iíll be leaving with the first batch of teachers to return to Rwanda since the genocide (yay field work!).

Itís been a growing concern of mine that Foreign Service does not have a place for my interests. In simplest terms Iím not sure which track to choose because Iím not sure any of them serve my purpose. I donít want to work in a consulate rejecting visas all day long; I want to prevent conflicts and resolve international disputes (e.g. stop wars). I want to be the person who sits in meetings with foreign ministers and convinces them not to let ships filled with weapons from China dock in their country. This is not to say that Iím not willing to work my way up, because I would totally work in a consulate and push papers all day long if it meant I could eventually do what I wanted.

Iím in this to be the job. I donít want kids, and even if I did I wouldnít want to subject them to a constantly uprooted lifestyle. I donít want to be posted in Stockholm or Paris. I want to go where Iím needed and help facilitate peaceful relationships between nations (like I always imagined a diplomat would). Some of the things I have been reading make the politics track sound a lot less active than I would enjoy, and the diplomacy track just doesnít have that much information on it for me to make an educated decision.

So you said you work in the politics division; do you feel as though your work has made much of an impact on the nations where you have been stationed or has your work been more personally fulfilling in nature? There really isnít a wrong answer to this question either. Iím just trying to make the best decision for myself.

I think you should do the Peace Corps, work really hard, make contacts in Rwanda and the NGO community and go from there. There's no easy way to get to the career you want, so you just have to be lucky and work hard. A master's degree in international conflict resolution or something similar will probably be required at some point.

Look to see if there are any Master's International programs that interest you.

Business of Ferrets
Mar 2, 2008

Good to see that everything is back to normal.

Xelly --

First, I would encourage you to take advantage of the Peace Corps opportunity -- it sounds like something you would really enjoy. It will also probably give you a better idea of what you want in a career and what you don't.

All of the things you mention as part of your dream job -- resolving disputes, demarching governments to stop illicit transfers of guns, etc. -- are done by political officers. But what you are thinking about are the high-visibility events following lots of behind-the-scenes work.

You will spend at least one year, and possibly up to four years, doing consular work, probably visas. That is the very initial "working your way up" as a Foreign Service Officer. After that, political officers spend time reporting and working as action officers on any number of issues. Often, there is some opportunity at the mid-levels to select and work on specific issues that interest you. But odds are good, too, that you would work other issues as well. And much of this will involve "pushing papers." Without these papers being pushed, the Secretary of State would never be able to attend a meeting or advance an initiative. And that goes for everybody below her, too.

State is very hierarchical, and the only way in is through the ground floor. Much of what you imagine as your dream job would be attainable in a Foreign Service career (and basically unattainable anywhere else) but it will take you at least 20 years or so to be the person who sits in meetings with foreign ministers and convinces them not to do things. It is the ambassador or higher who is going to be doing that, usually. And an NGO certainly will not be at that table.

My job as a political officer is incredibly rewarding, both personally and professionally, and has become increasingly more so as I have spent more time as an FSO. I haven't yet been in a ministerial-level meeting. But I have written the notes used by an Ambassador to brief the President of the United States. And that's pretty cool.

TCD
Nov 13, 2002

Every step, a fucking adventure.


Xelly, you seem pretty passionate about some topics, Ferrets can clarify this, but in talking with some PD officers, you have to be ok with party changes. Something you care a good deal about might have the policy changed 180 after an election and you still need to be 100 percent behind the policy publicly and do your job as a FSO. Again, this just came when talking with FSOs so Ferrets can clarify.

TCD fucked around with this message at Sep 23, 2009 around 16:00

Business of Ferrets
Mar 2, 2008

Good to see that everything is back to normal.

Yes, publicly everyone must toe the party line. Though this can occasaionally make for some discomfort, U.S. foreign policy far and away is a force for good (if sometimes misguided). There are internal channels for dissent, but in the end you still work for the President and must advance his policy.

Also, if one carefully selects their mid-level positions, they can control the risk of facing a moral dilemma. If you work in the nonproliferation office, you can be pretty confident that you will be able to do some good, regardless of administration, for example.

There are tons of jobs for FSOs, which is one of the great perqs of the career.

Suntory BOSS
Apr 17, 2006



I completed the FSOT Registration several months ago under the Political Cone, and signed up for the exam on October 9th. I know how impossible it is to change cones later down the line, but is it possible at this early stage (prior to taking the exam)? If so, how would I go about doing it?

Business of Ferrets
Mar 2, 2008

Good to see that everything is back to normal.

Suntory BOSS posted:

I completed the FSOT Registration several months ago under the Political Cone, and signed up for the exam on October 9th. I know how impossible it is to change cones later down the line, but is it possible at this early stage (prior to taking the exam)? If so, how would I go about doing it?

From here:

quote:

May I change to a different career track?

It is not possible to change the career track you selected at registration prior to hiring. Also, it is a long, difficult, formal process to change career tracks after hiring. It's highly unlikely it would happen as such changes are based on the needs of the Foreign Service. There would have to be a shortage of officers in the career track which you prefer before you could apply to change.

Vilerat
May 11, 2002


Suntory BOSS posted:

I completed the FSOT Registration several months ago under the Political Cone, and signed up for the exam on October 9th. I know how impossible it is to change cones later down the line, but is it possible at this early stage (prior to taking the exam)? If so, how would I go about doing it?

Email the help desk for the testing company. They are fairly quick at responding.

FSOT@Act.org

Business of Ferrets
Mar 2, 2008

Good to see that everything is back to normal.

What is everyone doing to prep for the written test?

Off the top of my head, would recommend reviewing the articles and amendments of the Constitution and going through general high-school U.S. and world history texts. Also, maybe Strunk & White if you're unsure of grammar/usage.

It also never hurts to know countries and capitals and to be able to place them on a map. This is the Foreign Service, after all!

Leif.
Mar 27, 2005

Son of the Defender
Formerly Diplomaticus/SWATJester


Business of Ferrets posted:

What is everyone doing to prep for the written test?

Off the top of my head, would recommend reviewing the articles and amendments of the Constitution and going through general high-school U.S. and world history texts. Also, maybe Strunk & White if you're unsure of grammar/usage.

It also never hurts to know countries and capitals and to be able to place them on a map. This is the Foreign Service, after all!

Another week of law school.

Suntory BOSS
Apr 17, 2006



Vilerat posted:

Email the help desk for the testing company. They are fairly quick at responding.


Thanks, you were right about the speedy response! I wonder if its 1 year from the date of initial registration, or 1 year from the date of testing? Better news than I'd expected to hear either way.

FSOT Program Office posted:

It cannot be changed for this registration. If you do not want to test with your selected career track, you will need to wait until your registration expires in 1 year. Then, when you begin a new registration, you can select a different career track.

xanthig
Apr 23, 2005



Suntory BOSS posted:

Thanks, you were right about the speedy response! I wonder if its 1 year from the date of initial registration, or 1 year from the date of testing? Better news than I'd expected to hear either way.


You should be able to register for the written test that is approximately one year away from your upcoming test date.

I wonder if taking and passing the testing process will speed up the security clearance process of a second application. If you pass the orals, your security clearance process is started immediately, and you aren't placed on the register until it is done. Given the length of time between taking the written test and being placed on the register, it is entirely possible to pass a second round of orals while your security clearance process for the first application is finishing up. Given the cost involved in processing a security clearance, it would make sense that they would build on the first investigation when conducting a second. Then again this is the federal government, so they probably have their own logic about the process that doesn't make any sense to outsiders.

Skandiaavity
Apr 20, 2005


Xelly posted:


Itís been a growing concern of mine that Foreign Service does not have a place for my interests. In simplest terms Iím not sure which track to choose because Iím not sure any of them serve my purpose. I donít want to work in a consulate rejecting visas all day long; I want to prevent conflicts and resolve international disputes (e.g. stop wars). I want to be the person who sits in meetings with foreign ministers and convinces them not to let ships filled with weapons from China dock in their country. This is not to say that Iím not willing to work my way up, because I would totally work in a consulate and push papers all day long if it meant I could eventually do what I wanted.

You could check the Peace Corps or USAID. USAID works with the same people as State, but it's more Economical.

That being said, as a defense contractor and somebody who's sitten in on a similar meeting - that job is probably not what you think it is. Likewise you will not even be present until you work there for at least 15 years.

Diplomacy is not something everybody can do. I know you don't wanna confirm/deny Visa's all day, nobody wants to do that! Everybody wants to be the ambassador, except him.

I think Ferrets put it right - you have to be completely OK with decisions, no matter how bad. It may be a poor example, but the war in Iraq - have a problem with it, then FS may not be for you. You mentioned you'd like to stop wars. How would you feel about starting wars? How would you feel about letting those chinese ships with weapons dock in L.A. in exchange for not having China bankrupt us? State, and by extension, DSS, are privy to a lot more knowledge than regular people have about the ongoings in such areas. A real FSO will work with economic agents - like the CIA - in addition to defense contractors to get a mutual understanding of the crisis. Sometimes the CIA may ask State for favors (sanctions/taxes on X country), and likewise the opposite (classified). It's less about owning up to mistakes and more about sticking to a decision that's already been made. You may like or hate it, but it's your job nonetheless.

It took career diplomats literally years to resign because they disagreed that strongly about direction. You will have little to no say in the matter, only that as an Ambassador, when things goes up or down you must be the personal representative of the President. If you're aiming less then what I say doesn't really apply, but it's still top down approach.

I took the FSOT and was denied a second round, unfortunately. Due to my job, I've been unable to take it again, but I'm thinking about doing so. So I may not be qualified to talk about State. However, I've done panels with the U.N. and this well-known defense contractor picked me up, so that's how I know about some things. And now I help State write their policy!

Ferrets: is there an easy way to get into State? Not to namedrop, but I literally know like four people in H.R., 3 former ambassadors, a few senior level directors and a bunch of other people in CS and FS. I write policy for them (that they use), and they're happy with it - yet it seems impossible for me to land a job. What gives, what's needed, really? Resumes, Impressive Histories and Manners; things that usually get interviewers drooling, they aren't seeming to work. Am I 'too far ahead' in my career where it seems unusual for me to drop my current job to go stamp visas for two years? How does State feel about hiring GS-9/11/13 (and respective FS scale) positions externally?

They've got some insane hiring policy, do they not?

Business of Ferrets
Mar 2, 2008

Good to see that everything is back to normal.

Skandiaavity posted:

Ferrets: is there an easy way to get into State? Not to namedrop, but I literally know like four people in H.R., 3 former ambassadors, a few senior level directors and a bunch of other people in CS and FS. I write policy for them (that they use), and they're happy with it - yet it seems impossible for me to land a job. What gives, what's needed, really? Resumes, Impressive Histories and Manners; things that usually get interviewers drooling, they aren't seeming to work. Am I 'too far ahead' in my career where it seems unusual for me to drop my current job to go stamp visas for two years? How does State feel about hiring GS-9/11/13 (and respective FS scale) positions externally?

They've got some insane hiring policy, do they not?

In the past few years there has been a move during the hiring process to better take into account applicants' resumes. That means that testing again could be to your advantage. Tons of people come in after one or two careers, so there isn't any prejudice against where someone is in life; all that is measured during the FSOA are the dimensions listed on State's careers website. The written exam (FSOT) tests experience, general knowledge and writing/editing ability. There is such rich variation in the people who are hired that I doubt there was anything except performance on the test holding you back.

If you are really well connected, you could try to get a job as a political appointee. Most of these positions have been filled since Obama took office, but there is usually some turnover between terms and always between administrations. But it doesn't really sound like you know the kinds of people who could pull that off for you (if you do, that's fantastic!)

I do think you are reading too much into the fact that you didn't pass the test. Lots of FSOs took the test multiple times before joining, so there is no shame or stigma in that. Take a look at the online application to see how things have changed (probably in your favor) since you last applied.

CherryCola
Apr 15, 2002

कृपया व्यायाम!!


Here's a question: Where can I brush up on immigration law? I'm guessing there's going to be some of that on the test if I'm applying for consular, right?

xanthig
Apr 23, 2005



CherryCola posted:

Here's a question: Where can I brush up on immigration law? I'm guessing there's going to be some of that on the test if I'm applying for consular, right?

There is no career track specific knowledge testing at any point during the testing process. Your qualification for your career track will be evaluated at the QEP, based on your resume and answers you provide to the personal narrative questions, and you motivation for your career track will be evaluated during the structured interview part of the OA.

Skandiaavity
Apr 20, 2005


Business of Ferrets posted:

thx for info

er - I did receive passing marks on the exam - just I was not chosen for the oral interview. I think the last time I took the test was in '07? Have things really changed much since then? I don't have any qualms about retaking the exam. In my case I think it may be I'm a bit overqualified for the entry level FS positions (which are required? or is it possible to just skip entry level and go straight into mid-high level diplomacy?)

I do have the pull with a few people to get a political appointment, but I'd prefer to make it on my own merits rather than who I know.(Favors in 'this town' are hard to come by, especially ones with weight behind them) I was just asking about State, internally.

I was just having words with some state employees the other day - they mentioned that for a specialist position, FSOT is not needed despite it being a FS Job. (apologies if you've already answered this) Is it possible to backdoor one's way through Specialist - Officer position?

Business of Ferrets
Mar 2, 2008

Good to see that everything is back to normal.

Ah, sorry. I couldn't tell when you had last taken the test. I don't think things have changed since '07. I came in under the old system, where the examiners knew nothing about me and simply passing the FSWE got me to the Orals. A lot has changed since then, but it sounds like you tested under the new system.

Currently there is no mechanism for mid- or senior-level career entry as an FSO. A few times in the past it was tried, but I understand it was an unqualified failure. I don't know the details, but I have the sense State probably won't be trying that again anytime soon. (But who knows? )

Don't worry -- you're not overqualified for an entry-level FSO position. (Ok, you probably are, but so is just about everybody else, and the important thing is that State will not think you're overqualified.)

If you can get an appointment by calling in favors, you should do so. It has to be better than a few years on the visa line.

There is a formal process for specialists to convert to generalists. I believe it does not require the FSOT. But then, it sounds like you didn't have a problem with the FSOT, right?

Vilerat
May 11, 2002


Skandiaavity posted:

I was just having words with some state employees the other day - they mentioned that for a specialist position, FSOT is not needed despite it being a FS Job. (apologies if you've already answered this) Is it possible to backdoor one's way through Specialist - Officer position?


Yes, but...



First off let me dispell any preconceptions about Specialist/Generalist. This is not an Enlisted/Officer relationship at all in fact the pay scales are identical. Specialists come in with a qualifying set of skills already and do not take the exam, Generalists come in with no specific experience/training set and must pass the exam.

That aside yes there are two main paths to cross over without taking the exam.
WALL OF TEXT

quote:

5. CONVERSION REQUIREMENTS FOR FS SPECIALIST TO FS
GENERALIST

This section covers skill code change applications for FS
specialist-to-generalist. (Ref: 3 FAH-1 2650) Note that
3 FAH-1 is in revision to reflect the changes in
requirements noted in this announcement.

A) Minimum eligibility requirements:

1) Must be tenured.

2) Must have a minimum of five years creditable service
with the U.S. Government.

3) By September 30, 2009, must have served a minimum of
30 months out of the previous six years in positions that
perform the functions of the desired skill code (or 20
months in such positions if all 20 months was spent at
unaccompanied posts).

4) Candidates who meet minimum time requirements will be
evaluated based on the criteria outlined in paragraph
8(B).

5) Writing Sample Requirement: FS specialists
provisionally recommended for conversion to generalist
skill codes by the Skill Code Change/Conversion Panel
will be required to submit a proctored writing sample
which will be graded by the FS Board of Examiners.
Failure to receive a passing grade on the writing sample
will disqualify the applicant.

B) Other factors:

1) Application at Current Grade Level Only: FS
specialists can apply for conversion to FS generalist
only at their current grade level, i.e., an 02 specialist
can only apply for 02 generalist opportunities; he/she
may not, for example, apply for an 03 generalist
opportunity. Although there is no immediate promotion if
a skill code change is approved, tenured FS specialists
at the FP-04 level or below are considered to be at-grade
for FO-03 generalist conversion opportunities. However,
after tenure (see para. 9), a successful FS specialist
candidate for generalist skill code conversion shall be
administratively promoted to and commissioned as a class
FS-04 generalist, once he/she has the necessary language
proficiency. If the employee, at the time of application
or before the date of commission, is at a higher grade,
he/she will be commissioned at that higher grade.

2) Conversion Before Age 60: All conversions must be made
before the candidate's 60th birthday, because all
candidates must be able to complete at least two full
tours of duty, exclusive of orientation and training,
before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65.

3) Time in Management Sub-Functions: Time spent in the
management sub-functions (i.e. GSO, HRO, FMO) counts
toward the minimum 30 (or 20, if applicable) months for
conversion to Management generalist. However, applicants
who are GSO, HRO or FMO specialists should serve at least
18 months in a position which is considered "out of cone"
for them (e.g., a GSO specialist doing an HRO or FMO job,
or an HRO specialist doing a GSO or FMO job, etc.) to be
considered competitive.

Basically you fill that role somewhere for 3 years and you can convert over. There's a bit more to it but it's not too terribly difficult if you plan your bidding appropriately. As a specialist I can bid on Generalist positions competatively if the post sucks and nobody wants to go there. After 3 years I can apply to switch over to do that job full time.

There's another program designed for junior officers to switch over between Specialist and Generalist but I can't seem to find it right now. Think it was called the phoenix program or something but I'm drawing a blank.

AKA Pseudonym
May 16, 2004

A dashing and sophisticated young man

Skandiaavity posted:

er - I did receive passing marks on the exam - just I was not chosen for the oral interview. I think the last time I took the test was in '07? Have things really changed much since then? I don't have any qualms about retaking the exam. In my case I think it may be I'm a bit overqualified for the entry level FS positions (which are required? or is it possible to just skip entry level and go straight into mid-high level diplomacy?)

I do have the pull with a few people to get a political appointment, but I'd prefer to make it on my own merits rather than who I know.(Favors in 'this town' are hard to come by, especially ones with weight behind them) I was just asking about State, internally.

I was just having words with some state employees the other day - they mentioned that for a specialist position, FSOT is not needed despite it being a FS Job. (apologies if you've already answered this) Is it possible to backdoor one's way through Specialist - Officer position?

As a Specialist, if you meet certain requirements (Don't ask me what they are, I just don't want to wear a tie) you can skip over the written exam and become an Officer. You still have to go through the oral assessment though which is usually regarded as harder.

edit: Well there you go

Skandiaavity
Apr 20, 2005


Business of Ferrets posted:

If you can get an appointment by calling in favors, you should do so. It has to be better than a few years on the visa line.

There is a formal process for specialists to convert to generalists. I believe it does not require the FSOT. But then, it sounds like you didn't have a problem with the FSOT, right?

Vilerat posted:

First off let me dispell any preconceptions about Specialist/Generalist. This is not an Enlisted/Officer relationship at all in fact the pay scales are identical. Specialists come in with a qualifying set of skills already and do not take the exam, Generalists come in with no specific experience/training set and must pass the exam.


Calling in favors for an appointment makes you that guy. I don't wanna be him. I don't have problems with the FSOT; just a problem with the pay, sort of. It's fine if living expenses are all provided for.

I'll likely check out the specialist route - I believe I can qualify for a few IT jobs in that area. Is State still looking for people with Risk Management/Assessment, or is it more general IT services?

edit: I should just clarify; I'd like to work for them - this much, my mind is already decided on. The route is irrelevant to me, it's just I'm saving favors for post appointment.

Vilerat, you mentioned an IT Recruiter is a goon - have a place where I could talk or perhaps send a resume?

edit2: just reregged for the october FSOT now under the Economic Track. Hope I can get in!


vvv- thanks! if he prefers to contact off forums, can he send me an email since I don't have plat? omp_doug@hotmail.com (no dick butts, please) or use AIM - lazys fair. Much obliged!

Skandiaavity fucked around with this message at Oct 1, 2009 around 20:14

Vilerat
May 11, 2002


Skandiaavity posted:

Vilerat, you mentioned an IT Recruiter is a goon - have a place where I could talk or perhaps send a resume?


Paging the popes toes to this thread!

Also the pay scales are identical between Specialist/Generalist and your housing/utilities are all covered if you aren't based stateside.

the popes toes
Oct 10, 2004

10 bucks says I'm safe

Vilerat posted:

Paging the popes toes to this thread!
Hey Vilerat. Just got back from a recruiting session at Ft. Bragg. Anyone with any questions whatsoever, feel free to PM me. If you don't have PM then send me something at zff4@hotmail.com and I'll refer you to my gov email address and we can talk. Feel free to leave your phone number if you want me to give you a call on Uncle Sam's dime.

The announcement for the network admin position (IMS) should re-open very soon. The canned email I send out to interested candidates looks like this:

The Foreign Service of the US Department of State is looking for network administrators to live and work overseas with their families as Foreign Service Technical Officers supporting our embassies.

While overseas, we take care of your housing and utilities and provide private schooling for your children. Administrative promotions, competitive promotions, and yearly step increases make for an upwardly improving and competitive salary.

The link to the previous announcement is here: http://careers.state.gov/specialist...infomanage.html We'll re-open it soon with revised minimum qualifications. Look for the email icon there to sign up for the automatic updates that will inform you via email as soon as the announcement re-opens.

Applicants must be U. S. citizens between the ages of 21 and 59 and able to qualify for a top secret security clearance. During their career, Information Management Specialists will serve both overseas and domestically, moving at two to four-year intervals. Entry into management is very accelerated.

I'll be happy to share any information with you so you can make an informed decision about a career you'll never regret. Of course this isn't a job offer but if you are curious about an international lifestyle working for the US Government supporting our diplomatic networks, I'd like to discuss it with you.

So PM me or send something to my commercial address and we can talk as much as you want about a career that has been pretty good to me. I enjoy the out of the way places and have served in Damascus, Kathmandu, Bombay, Tel Aviv and Riyadh. I've avoided places like London and Paris because there's not much of a culture thrill there for me. But when you're in the Foreign Service, the world really is your oyster - it's a great living...

Happydayz
Jan 6, 2001



Skandiaavity posted:

Am I 'too far ahead' in my career where it seems unusual for me to drop my current job to go stamp visas for two years? How does State feel about hiring GS-9/11/13 (and respective FS scale) positions externally?

I think you need to scale back your ambitions and your opinion of yourself.

GS-9/11/13 track? Give me a break. You aren't in a position to land a political appointee job if you are hoping to enter equivalent to a GS 13 skill set. Frankly you are a while off. Knowing senior level / senior grade people is not a big deal. Name dropping a flag grade equivalent isn't a big deal unless you are in a direct mentor/mentee relationship and of sufficient rank for this to be feasible (see GS-15 / O-5 or O-6 level.

If you are in a GS-9/13 slot you can suck it up and stamp passports for a bit.

xanthig
Apr 23, 2005



For anyone curious about security clearances and how they work, here are some links that will tell you more than you ever wanted to know.


Link to the State Department security clearance guidelines
http://www.state.gov/m/ds/clearances/60321.htm#f

Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals, security clearance decision appeals.
http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/doha/industrial/

The guidelines seem to be the same for the State Department as they are for the defense department. The second link is full of interpretations of those guidelines, which while not necessarily the same as DoS, certainly give a good indication of what is and is not problematic.

xanthig
Apr 23, 2005



Happydayz posted:

I think you need to scale back your ambitions and your opinion of yourself.

GS-9/11/13 track? Give me a break. You aren't in a position to land a political appointee job if you are hoping to enter equivalent to a GS 13 skill set. Frankly you are a while off. Knowing senior level / senior grade people is not a big deal. Name dropping a flag grade equivalent isn't a big deal unless you are in a direct mentor/mentee relationship and of sufficient rank for this to be feasible (see GS-15 / O-5 or O-6 level.

If you are in a GS-9/13 slot you can suck it up and stamp passports for a bit.

Thank god somebody said it.


The yahoo groups are full of people who failed the process nerd-raging about how the whole process is unfair because it gives no opportunity to show how much of a special snowflake they are.

xanthig fucked around with this message at Oct 2, 2009 around 16:26

Defleshed
Nov 18, 2004

F is for... FREEDOM

Took the FSOT this afternoon. Was easy as poo poo!

xanthig
Apr 23, 2005



Defleshed posted:

Took the FSOT this afternoon. Was easy as poo poo!

Don't be fooled, it's sole purpose it to get rid of the bottom 50% of applicants. It's only as hard as it needs to be.

TCD
Nov 13, 2002

Every step, a fucking adventure.


In country now... Good times.


Edit: Also the DS Agent position is open right now. I think I am going to take the FSOT sooner rather than later...

TCD fucked around with this message at Oct 4, 2009 around 12:04

Vilerat
May 11, 2002


TCD posted:

In country now... Good times.


Edit: Also the DS Agent position is open right now. I think I am going to take the FSOT sooner rather than later...

I take it Tuesday. I wasn't going to and I'm really not sure if it's worth taking a grade cut to go Generalist if I make it but they are holding it here at post so figured why not?

Defleshed
Nov 18, 2004

F is for... FREEDOM

xanthig posted:

Don't be fooled, it's sole purpose it to get rid of the bottom 50% of applicants. It's only as hard as it needs to be.

Yeah, I can see that. Especially looking around at the dumbfounded looking mouth-breathing "Joe College" types that were there.

Vilerat
May 11, 2002


Defleshed posted:

Yeah, I can see that. Especially looking around at the dumbfounded looking mouth-breathing "Joe College" types that were there.

Ugh. No pressure if I fail it

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Theace41
May 7, 2007
How's your sister?

Lets say hypothetically, and this is a big hypothetical, that somebody taking the FSOT and hoping for a career in the foreign service had visited N. Korea in the last year or so on a hiking trip. Should this be played up wherever possible as a unique travel experience or would it be look upon not so favorably given the whole axis of evil thing?

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