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nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

I just wanted to say that I am glad you guys made this thread. I am graduating with an MLIS and MA in history this month and am seriously considering the foreign service, particularly after spending a little time working in Germany in July. My biggest thing right now is to figure out how well it would all mesh as a life with my SO since she has 2 years of school left.

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nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

Yeah, I was thinking officer. The political track interests me. We aren't married presently, but if a career or life event came up that marriage would be beneficial for then neither of is opposed to a quick and dirty court room wedding. Living and working abroad, particularly in Africa, is a life goal for both of us, its just a pain that our schooling is out of sync.

I have some time yet. I am just looking into this now because, like you said, its not like I would get into the service within a month. I'm still hoping a good archivist position that agrees with me opens up, but I really want to work overseas as well. Will just have to see how everything works out. I am at one of those rare points in life where I could take one of about a dozen personally desirable paths that could drastically shape my future; and, aside from my SO, I have nothing tying me anywhere or to any one thing.

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

I was playing around on the Foreign Service website this morning and came across the Information Resource Officer specialist position. This looks like it would be a great fit for me considering my the past couple years of education and work. Problem is, to qualify it looks like I would need to go work in a library or other information science position for at least 2 to 4 more years before I meet the minimum requirements.

My question for those of you who are currently in the FS, do you think it would be worth it to try and wait a few years until I am qualified for such a specialist position, see if I am still interested, and then apply? Or should I just shoot for a generalist position now? Keep in mind library jobs, particularly my specialty in archives, are not exactly common. I know the work will be different, but applying for a generalist position when there is a specialist one that fits my educational background feels like somewhat of a waste. That and I worry if I do not try to join the FS now other events will come up in the next 2-4 years that will make it much more difficult if not impossible.

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

Thanks again for the advice. I didn't realize there were only about 30 IROs presently, that makes the decision easier. I think I'll just go ahead and start the application process for a political generalist and hope it all goes through well.

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

Mine came in as well, will be taking it on the 9th next month. Should be fun!

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

Thanks for the cliff notes suggestions. I have been mostly keeping up with The Economist and Newsweek and collecting a few practice tests. I was holding off on the practice tests until closer to test day, but now that its a month away I better start ramping things up.

When you say to know things like the African copper belt, is it just economic relevance geographically, or how those things effect the nations they are in? I can't imagine they get that in depth in a mostly multiple choice exam.

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

FYI this was posted on one of the facebook groups for taking the test. It may or may not help ease your mind with the tests:

An FSO posted:

Back to the original question, let me as an FSO associated with recruitment explain a little about deficit career tracks. We tend to reserve the word 'critical needs' for languages so deficit career tracks is the term I will use here.

There are several screening processes where the Department looks at the knowledge, skills and abilities that a person would bring to the Foreign Service. Each screen is a little different and looks at skills from a slightly different vantage point.

With the Written Test you should be aware that there is one cut score across all the career tracks. You have to pass the three multiple choice sub-component tests to have your essay read. The combined score of the three tests must be 154. This score has not varied since the new selection process began in Sept. 2007.

The Qualifications Review Panel looks at your entire file (application with education, job history, etc., ACT component scores, essay and essay score, your personal narrative responses, and any FSI tested critical needs language skills). The panels review these files by career track considering the criteria outlined on the web site under the QEP. So in a hypothetical scenario let's assume the Department wanted to hire 100 political officers candidates and 100 management candidates but has 2000 applications for political officers and 700 for management candidates. They can invite the top 200 or top 300 candidates in each group to the oral assessment, but that is a very different percentage between the two cohorts. Competitively it makes getting an invitation to the Oral much more difficult for those in career tracks that are more highly sought.

Public Diplomacy and Political are much more highly sought after than management, econ and consular career tracks. In part both management and econ candidates have many other international job opportunities in the private sector.

Lastly the Oral Assessment itself: the cut score of 5.25 has been the same across all the career tracks for at least a decade. This in one sense is non-competitive because everyone could pass the assessment. In another sense it is competitive because candidates are invited to join an entry level class based on a rank order by their assessment score (plus language bonus points and qualified vet points).

I hope this clears up where the process is the same and where it differs for the career tracks.
margaret

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

To be fair she did qualify years as since 2007, so it hasn't been that long.

fake edit: Thanks for the breakdown on what those scores mean. The number of 154 she gave didn't really mean much since I had no idea how the points worked.

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

Smeef posted:

Africa is a dead-end shithole both professionally and personally.

I am just curious how true this is? It saddens me to hear it because I wanted to be in Africa, at least for a while. Either the North or sub-Sahara. If I went there and ended up not liking it personally thats one thing, but it really suck if it also meant career issues.

I also want to 2nd Defleshed's comments on social networking sites. I really wish employers didn't use them to weed people out, but they do and all you can do is protect yourself with privacy settings. What these sites really need to do is have new users start with the highest privacy settings and then have them downgrade them on their own, instead of leaving things more or less open on sign up like they do now. For the time being just think of it as an extra step in the super fun process of searching for employment.

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

That makes sense with the bureaus. I figured Egypt was in Near East but was not positive about the Maghreb. Algeria is where I have the most interest in the North, but I am getting way ahead of myself. Lets see how all the test and other processes go.

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

Smeef said "Africa is a dead-end shithole ... professionally..."

so I took that mean you go to Africa you advance slower or something along those lines.

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

Your local library should have those news mags available to you. I know its not as convenient as home delivery, but its free.

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

Just got back from the test, about as expected. Only the essay was tough and thats only because of the time. I finished it with a minute and a half left so I barely had time to proof it.

There were only 6 people taking the test including me, which was a surprise. I was expecting quite a bit more than that.

nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

Got my score breakdown today, biographical section killed me. I was 6 points shy, and got only a 42 in biographical.

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nesbit37
Dec 12, 2003
Emperor of Rome
(500 BC - 500 AD)

Since they seem to hire anyone who can pass their multiple testing stages I am sure they hire MBAs. On a side note, why do you want an MBA? Just to get one or for some specific goal? I would tread carefully with an MBA, they seem to be flooding the market right now and I have friends with MBAs that it is actually a hindrance to their finding employment.

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