FSOT

Today I took the State Department’s Foreign Service Officer Test. American citizens are allowed to take the foreign service test once a year free of charge. This is my second attempt at my dream job.

The test itself is very interesting. I’ll leave it to other blogs to talk about the details of the test (you have to sign a non-disclosure agreement before beginning the test). Last year, I walked away from the test feeling pretty defeated, but I was much better prepared this year and I’m feeling pretty good with my effort.

Becoming a Foreign Service Officer is quite a process. The written test is just the first step in the process. After passing the test, my test scores and application will go before a three person panel of FSOs to decide whether I advance to the next stage. After the panel is the oral assessment. This is an all day group interview consisting of a group exercise, and structured interview. Provided that you pass this step, the State Department conducts a background check for security clearance, and ensures that you are medically fit to live abroad. Once deemed trustworthy and healthy, you are added to the list of eligible FSOs and wait to be chosen by an overseas mission. If you are not selected within a certain time period, you must complete the process over again from the beginning. A long process, but you can bet that those going through the process really care about the job they are applying for, and are probably not likely to look elsewhere once accepted.

I am very excited about the next steps, and I am starting to prepare for the oral assessment already. I have also been studying Modern Standard Arabic for about a year now. The State Department awards bonus points to people who speak “super critical needs languages” (that is the name they use). Hopefully those points will pay off.

I will be updating the blog as the process [hopefully] continues. Otherwise, there is always next year…

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