US Department of State hiring again

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  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    da_vato wrote: »
    7lowe or rwmidl,

    I have done a significant amount of research about the foreign service yet still have not found information about school for the employee. I know there are some awesome benefits for dependant children. I am also aware there is an incentive program for obtaining and hold certain certifications for professional development but I am curious about formal education.

    I plan to pursue my doctorates in the next year or two and I have just enough GIBill remaining to cover one year. Is there any kind of tuition assistance that the DoS provides for the additional time? Also is there any benefit or incentives to pursuing an advanced degree, like easier to make Senior Foreign Service ranks or anthing like that?

    I'm not aware of any ongoing tuition assistance as such. There is SLRP (Student Loan Repayment Program) which basically pays an annual lump sum toward exitsting student loans while you are at posts of greater than a certain hardship.

    Also, there are long term education positions where they pay for you to get a Master's. I'm not aware of anything doctorate level though.
  • typfromdacotypfromdaco Member Posts: 96 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Did anyone try applying while still on Active Duty? How long did would it take to get from FP-4 step 5 to Step 14?
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  • DonDealDonDeal Member Posts: 33 ■■□□□□□□□□
    If you are interested in the state department then you might be interested in working for the U.N as well. The U.N has opened its Young Professionals Program and the deadline is on the 13th. https://careers.un.org/lbw/home.aspx?viewtype=NCED&OID=IST
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  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Did anyone try applying while still on Active Duty? How long did would it take to get from FP-4 step 5 to Step 14?

    Not sure on the first part. For the second, you normally get an annual step increase up 1 step. Plus, there is also possibility for Meritorious Step Increase which I think can be a few steps (not too sure since I just became eligible and haven't gotten one. So, normally (barring really bad performance) 5 to 14 should take 9 maximum years but should probably be faster. Realistically, if you are decent I would expected to promote to a 3 before then.
  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    typfromdaco,

    The answer is yes, you would have to ask on the DoS forum for the particulars. I have read where they will hold a spot for active duty that pass for a small amount time like 12 - 18 months or so, in addition to the amount of time you can stay on the register.

    Forums - U.S. Department of State
  • typfromdacotypfromdaco Member Posts: 96 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Awesome, I have been looking for that answer all night! Last question..I think... but since I will have 13 years in the Army at the time, if I buy back those years towards retirement, how many are needed to retire from the Foreign Service?
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  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    You would have to ask that question on the provided link. The answers with a "green checkmark" is an answer from an individual that is in or works with HR. One of them would be the best source to answer your question.
  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    I applied for this a couple nights a go. I'm not completely sold on the salary because I could make triple as a contractor (assuming we're talking about conflict areas). I mainly submitted the application to provide myself the option in the future. Would probably taken a Euro position if offered. Just not sure where my heart will be by the time they get around to processing my application.
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  • SephStormSephStorm Member Posts: 1,732
    da_vato wrote: »
    Why do you not think it would not make the cut? Do you meet the requirements posted on the page? If its just a matter of you think your resume is not written well enough I would be willing to help.

    I have yet to been found qualified for any position. Well, to be clear, 3 was "minimum quals not met" and the rest are just "received" and closed. I don't think its a case of actually not being qualified as much as having the right buzzwords and whatnot. IDK... Going to try this out: How to Escape the USAJOBS.gov Resume Black Hole - Job-Hunt.org
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    SephStorm wrote: »
    I have yet to been found qualified for any position. Well, to be clear, 3 was "minimum quals not met" and the rest are just "received" and closed. I don't think its a case of actually not being qualified as much as having the right buzzwords and whatnot. IDK... Going to try this out: How to Escape the USAJOBS.gov Resume Black Hole - Job-Hunt.org

    USAJobs can be a tough beast to figure out. It took me a few years to finally draft up a resume that worked/got me hired (before DoS). You are right, you have to have the right keywords/buzzwords in your resume.
    JoJoCal19 wrote: »
    I wouldn't approach them in the manner of "I absolutely wont", but I would walk rather than take my family to the Middle East or Africa. Having a wife AND three daughters, not only would I not do it, my wife wouldn't let me move them there either. I'm curious, is it like the military where you sign the dotted line and the Gov owns you, or is it on a right to work basis?

    There are actually nice, family friendly posts in AF and the Mid-East. If you go in to this career, remember you sign up to be "world-wide available". Not every place is Western Europe (in fact some of the best posts/most family friendly tend to be non-Western Europe/1st world countries).
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  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    tprice5 wrote: »
    I applied for this a couple nights a go. I'm not completely sold on the salary because I could make triple as a contractor (assuming we're talking about conflict areas). I mainly submitted the application to provide myself the option in the future. Would probably taken a Euro position if offered. Just not sure where my heart will be by the time they get around to processing my application.

    I had looked at some contractor positions in Afghanistan before joining and if I went now I'd make more with State than I would've on the contract gig I'd been looking at. Those type of posts have a lot extra incentives. But, they are unaccompanied posts and I don't want to be away from my wife and daughter that much while she is still young.

    You also have to understand that the salary you are looking at is the base salary. The "harder" a post is the bigger hardship differential you get. Plus, most posts have a COLA. And, if it is very dangerous then there is also danger pay.

    As mentioned before, free housing has a very high value. Not too mention the really good international schools that you could never afford on your own.

    For COLA, Danger, Hardship, and Education Allowance for each post you can look here: U.S. Department of State

    Also, if you want you can get certain certifications or a Master's or some other qualifying things to get SIP (Skills Incentive Pay) which is either 9% or 14% (depending on the qualifying cert) bonus for 5 years (you do have to do CPE type stuff each year to maintain it.)

    As for "Would probably take a Euro position if offered" that isn't how it works. You accept the job first and it's 2 or 3 weeks into orientation before you actually get your assignment. If you quit then you have to pay back all the money they spent moving you to DC. If you already live in DC and are a local hire, then you don't have to worry about all that, but those guys get screwed in other ways.

    Flexibility is a big factor in this job and if there are whole continents you aren't willing to go to then I wouldn't recommend it.
  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    7lowe wrote: »
    As for "Would probably take a Euro position if offered" that isn't how it works. You accept the job first and it's 2 or 3 weeks into orientation before you actually get your assignment. If you quit then you have to pay back all the money they spent moving you to DC. If you already live in DC and are a local hire, then you don't have to worry about all that, but those guys get screwed in other ways.

    Yeah, I am tracking. I was really just thinking out loud. I disagree with you on compensation of contractor vs state dept. While the position you were offered may not have been more than your state department gig, this does fall in line with the general trend of the SWA (Southwest Asia) theater. I've contracted for 4 years now and it has been my impression, and I believe widely accepted, that government workers make less than their contractor counterparts. There has been a general down trending of salaries in the region and I believe this may have been what you witnessed. That isn't to say that the big contracts have ceased to exist, they are just a little harder to find and a lot more competitive.
    Like I said, I applied to have the option. If it is the right move when my number comes up then I'll take it, assuming they want me that is.

    Appreciate all the info.
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  • MagnumOpusMagnumOpus Member Posts: 107
    Argh! I really want to apply, but my wife can't bear the thought of being away from me for a year if sent to a dangerous territory. =D
  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    For all of you guys that are on the fence, I would recommend speaking with the nearest "diplomat in residence" Diplomats in Residence - U.S. Department of State. This individual will answer in great detail, any questions you or your significant other may have. Jobs like this are a lifestyle not just a job.

    I believe this individual will help you make up your minds if it is worth pursuing or not.
  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    da_vato wrote: »
    Jobs like this are a lifestyle not just a job.

    This is true. I was actually looking for this lifestyle before I knew what this job was and I just accidentally found it when applying for basically every position on USAJobs. It wasn't until I got the invite to the OA that I actually looked into and realized that it was everything that I had been looking for.
  • ougijoeougijoe Member Posts: 37 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Good luck to all of those applying. Made it to the Oral Interview for the Foreign Service Diplomatic Security Special Agent position last year. It definitely is a LONG and TRYING process, no matter which Foreign Service position you're applying for.
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Mod Posts: 2,827 Mod
    tprice5 wrote: »
    As someone who is stationed in the middle east with his wife and daughter, ease up on your tone.

    I have plenty of family and friends that have lived in the Middle East, I'll keep my tone the same, thanks. I haven't said anything negative about the Middle East, and as a matter of fact I've pointed out in the past that there are nice places in the Middle East. Again, I would never, regardless of how much salary, move my family to the Middle East or Africa. Period. It's my decision and not for you to tell me to adjust. Even with the nice places in the Middle East (Dubai, Qatar, etc), they are not places I would move my family to. Doesn't mean other people shouldn't consider moving to the Middle East. And honestly, I don't need any other reason other than my wife saying "No". Happy wife, happy life.
    rwmidl wrote: »
    There are actually nice, family friendly posts in AF and the Mid-East. If you go in to this career, remember you sign up to be "world-wide available". Not every place is Western Europe (in fact some of the best posts/most family friendly tend to be non-Western Europe/1st world countries).

    Oh yea I'm completely aware of the nice areas in the Middle East, having both family and friends that have served and worked privately over there. I still have other reasons I wouldn't move my family there, the least of which include the amount of adjustment I'd have to force my family to make living there.

    And I understand from the job posting it's just like the military, where you are at the mercy of the needs of the department as far as the location. For that reason I've eliminated this particular position. If I were single or didn't have kids, I'd be all over it. I'm flexible as far as moving domestically (like the FBI requires), but I need more control over foreign locations.
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  • typfromdacotypfromdaco Member Posts: 96 ■■■□□□□□□□
    So I went to the Veterans forum at careers.state.gov to ask the two questions that I am most interested in, and they answered them thoroughly.. thanks Da_Vato!

    Just so everyone who may be interested, I asked how retirement would would if I left the Army with 13 years in service and bought my time back. They pointed me in the right direction, and it looks like once you buy your military service and complete 25 years of federal service, 5 with the Foreign Service, you qualify for involuntary retirement. I haven't quite figured out when you would receive retirement pay, but I assume it is when you are in your 50's. Also, if you decide to continue service in the Reserves and make it to the 20 year mark, you can still receive that retirement at 60 and military service is still creditable to Foreign Service retirement.

    The next question I asked is if I am eligible to apply before I leave service, and they responded with yes. After you pass the oral assessment, the clearance process will begin. This process can take only a few weeks to many months to complete. Once you have passed the clearance process, your name will be added to a rank-ordered career track Register. Once on this register, you can request a period of "freezing" where your name will not be called, but it does count towards the maximum of 18 months that you can be on the register.

    Hopefully someone can find this information useful.
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  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    Once on this register, you can request a period of "freezing" where your name will not be called, but it does count towards the maximum of 18 months that you can be on the register.
    This is interesting. Does it require valid justification or can you just put them off for another year while you figure stuff out?
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  • RaisinRaisin Member Posts: 136
    tprice5 wrote: »

    Not down with the middle-east? I could care less, but take your judgmental attitude elsewhere. Bottom line, someone has to do it, so just say thank you and sit down.

    We're all supposed to thank you for taking a high paying job in the middle east? Get off your high horse. I've spent a few years out there myself, and I don't feel that anyone owes me anything more than the compensation I received. That region isn't for everyone and there's nothing offensive about someone not wanting to take their family there.
  • SephStormSephStorm Member Posts: 1,732
    ougijoe wrote: »
    Good luck to all of those applying. Made it to the Oral Interview for the Foreign Service Diplomatic Security Special Agent position last year. It definitely is a LONG and TRYING process, no matter which Foreign Service position you're applying for.

    Honestly, this is where I would be if I had my degree. icon_sad.gif Good luck. I hope theres a chance I can do some work for them while at State, if I got hired.

    Speaking of which, important question, what kind of jobs should IMS' expect to be doing? is it a single track where everyone is going helpdesk, or do they use skills you have acquired elsewhere to use you in your area of expertise? Honestly, it won't look great going from SOC Analyst back to customer support IT...
  • RaisinRaisin Member Posts: 136
    tprice5 wrote: »
    My "high paying" job? ha. My hourly is marginally higher than what I was making stateside and likely much lower than what many other people are making in the northeast.

    My bad, I just assumed that the only reason someone would move out to a place like Kuwait was for a huge stack of cash.
  • MrAgentMrAgent Member Posts: 1,309 ■■■■■■■■□□
    SephStorm wrote: »
    Honestly, this is where I would be if I had my degree. icon_sad.gif Good luck. I hope theres a chance I can do some work for them while at State, if I got hired.

    Speaking of which, important question, what kind of jobs should IMS' expect to be doing? is it a single track where everyone is going helpdesk, or do they use skills you have acquired elsewhere to use you in your area of expertise? Honestly, it won't look great going from SOC Analyst back to customer support IT...

    You would actually end up being a jack of all trades. From working on your OU in AD to fixing desktop issues. You would also do some minor communications equipment work.

    I used to be a contractor and did a lot of the migrations that were done a few years back.
  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    SephStorm wrote: »
    Speaking of which, important question, what kind of jobs should IMS' expect to be doing? is it a single track where everyone is going helpdesk, or do they use skills you have acquired elsewhere to use you in your area of expertise? Honestly, it won't look great going from SOC Analyst back to customer support IT...

    You will hear this a lot with the Dept., "it depends". All IMS new hires go through the same initial (roughly) 12 week track. After you graduate you may take some additional courses depending on where you will go. However, most of the "heavy" work is done back in DC. You are limited as to what you can do. Plus, quite often you have local staff who do a good chunk of the work, but "it depends".
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  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    It's a very broad job and covers more than just IT. Some people emphasize the "Management" part of "Information Management" to illustrate this. Your first few posts you'll likely have lots of hands on technical work. But, as you move up you should be really be delegating most of that to your staff.

    You will definitely have to do some customer support, but it probably won't be the bulk of your job unless you go someplace without locals.

    Some of the things I did at my first post:
    Build and deploy workstation images
    AD admin
    Patch management
    Lots of proprietary software upgrades
    SQL upgrade
    DB migration between two applications with similar, but different, DB architecture
    Negotiate airport security procedures for our pouches with the host gov
    Set up a system to Tweet hourly air quality readings
    Ran lots of cables
    Added lots of new phones (physically and programming the phone switch)
  • typfromdacotypfromdaco Member Posts: 96 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I read somewhere that Foreign Service start off on the FP Overseas salary chart, but the listing says you are paid on the FP Base salary. Do you know which one is correct?
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  • rwmidlrwmidl CISSP, CISM, MCSE, MCSA, MCPxAlot Worldwide AvailabilityMember Posts: 807 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I read somewhere that Foreign Service start off on the FP Overseas salary chart, but the listing says you are paid on the FP Base salary. Do you know which one is correct?

    You are on the overseas scale when you start.
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  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    how do the positions work, in regards to rank? For instance: can an IMS, FP-05 hold the same position that an FP-02 holds?
  • typfromdacotypfromdaco Member Posts: 96 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thats a good question da_vato, I was wondering the same thing. I am 90% certain that I will be applying the next time this job opens so I can transition out of the Army seamlessly. I have decided to forego NP and CISSP studies and start my Masters before November. I really want to "guarantee" a spot, so I am going to start studying french soon, lol.

    Another question for those already doing the job, if my wife becomes an RN, will there even be job opportunities for her?
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  • HectorPHectorP Member Posts: 41 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'm a little late to the party. I've been on board about a year now. I applied a year before I retired from active duty. It took me about 18 months to start. I had a small class size also. Many of whom had tons more experience than I had. One gentleman was hired at the very top of the pay scale and still took a 1/3 pay cut. I asked them why take such a cut. Among the top responses were education and opportunity for the kids and retirement benefits.


    For those that are nervous about some of the places they may go to I say this, only your first 2 posts are directed after that you apply to a post like you apply to any normal job. For directed posts, they tell you what's available and you rank them by your preference. Just because you may not be interested in a location doesn't mean someone else isn't. There were a couple of places at the bottom of my list that were at the top of my classmate's list.

    I also found out that (after your directed posts) if at any time you are unsuccessful in getting a post and nothing is left open, then you will return and work stateside.


    @typfromdaco – Every post has a small health unit. Whether they would have an opening is a bit of luck and timing.


    @da_vato – All positions are assigned a rank. With approval, you might be able to fill in a higher rank position if it's hard to fill and they need to fill it. I don't think it works a rank down though. When you bid on posts, you are looking at all vacancies at your rank.


    Best of luck to those of you applying. I hope you decide to join. I love this job.
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