US Department of State hiring again

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  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Yeah, there were 10 people in my class and all 10 got one of their top 2 choices. So many people have different interests it usually works itself out pretty well.

    typfromdaco: if your wife becomes an RN then she could possibly work in a MED unit. If she became a Nurse Practitioner or Physician's Assistant then she could apply to be a FSHP and you could be a tandem couple: https://careers.state.gov/work/opportunities/vacancy-announcements/hp

    As for rank, both people and positions have ranks. Typically a person "at grade" (the same rank as the position) will have preference over a person doing a "stretch" (trying to get a position 1 rank above/below. So, it's typically at posts with less competition. A double-stretch is even more rare and there is no way a FP-05 would be doing an FP-02 job (FP-05 is still entry level and directed so they wouldn't be in an FP-02 spot.)
  • NyblizzardNyblizzard Member Posts: 328 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Absolutely love this thread as I'm always scouting the Web for more IMS discussions. Right now I only really have 3 questions one of which was touched upon already.

    1- What the range of jobs performed was going to be like (this ties in with what kind of technical experience we should be coming in with) and how much of it we were directly responsible for (as opposed to working with foreign nationals/DC IT.


    2- What kind of opportunities there are for significant others. I know this is more on a case by case (or post by post) basis, but one of my biggest fears is having my significant other feeling lost because they aren't working.

    3- IMS graduating class numbers tend to be much smaller than regular FSO's, naturally meaning there are less of them stationed throughout the world. Now would we find an IMS in all of the same posts we have Officers? Or are the potential IMS posts one could go to limited? For example 294 potential posts for officers but IMS only ever go to 150 of them?
    O
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  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Nyblizzard wrote: »
    Absolutely love this thread as I'm always scouting the Web for more IMS discussions. Right now I only really have 3 questions one of which was touched upon already.

    1- What the range of jobs performed was going to be like (this ties in with what kind of technical experience we should be coming in with) and how much of it we were directly responsible for (as opposed to working with foreign nationals/DC IT.

    "It Depends" (That is basically the unofficial motto of the Foreign Service). My first posting had no locals, so I was directly responsible for basically everything and did plenty of technical things that I had no experience with. OTOH, another guy in my class ended up at a post where he did nothing but pouch for 6 months.
    Nyblizzard wrote: »
    2- What kind of opportunities there are for significant others. I know this is more on a case by case (or post by post) basis, but one of my biggest fears is having my significant other feeling lost because they aren't working.

    So far, we're 2/2 on my spouse finding an EFM position. But, I'd say that's the exception more than the rule. If they have their own career, having to give it up and stay at home could be a real consideration. Some find volunteer work or similar to keep them busy. It all depends on the location and the skillset of the spouse.
    Nyblizzard wrote: »
    3- IMS graduating class numbers tend to be much smaller than regular FSO's, naturally meaning there are less of them stationed throughout the world. Now would we find an IMS in all of the same posts we have Officers? Or are the potential IMS posts one could go to limited? For example 294 potential posts for officers but IMS only ever go to 150 of them?

    Not all posts will have an IMS. For example, there are small consulates that consist of a single FSO and local staff. They are typically supported by IMS at the embassy remotely and by occasional TDYs.
  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    7lowe,

    Would you suggest taking a motorcycle to post? I shipped a vehicle once when I was stationed overseas and found the process to be more of hassle than it was worth. In the army I was capable of shipping a motorcycle in my house hold goods, and I was thinking I may try that instead of a vehicle.

    When overseas, I generally enjoy taking public transit but there are those times when you need a vehicle of your own. I think a motorcycle would be a fair compromise. I will most likely purchase a local motorcycle if shipping one is too much hassle as well.

    Another question, are there Gyms at each post or do you have to go out and find one?
  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    A motorcycle is iffy. I personally know 1 person who successfully got a scooter shipped through household effects, but also have heard of some packing/shipping companies refusing. When I was in China I had planned to buy an e-bike once I found out my next post (if it would be useful) since they were only like $600-$1000, typically less regulated than motorcycles, and electric (woo-hoo for free electricity.) But, it didn't happen. I know people who've bought a motorcycle here locally and they had no problem. That just seems like a better way for me as you don't have to commit to it before you arrive and find out that traffic is so crazy you'd be terrified to ride it or there is a post policy or something else that would keep you from riding.

    I find that most of the time I need a vehicle of my own it's because I need to carry things, so a motorcycle isn't great in that regard. However, at my last post I just didn't drive at all. Taxis were cheap enough that I could use them all the time without worrying and I'd also use the metro if convenient. Here, there is a metro, but I find that I drive most of the time since I now have a car (and with a family a car isn't much more expensive.) This of course varies as there are lots of places without reliable public transportation.

    Some posts have gyms, but not all. That's one of those things you have to consider when looking at where to bid. FYI, a good resource for researching posts is: City Reports from all over the world
  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    So I got an email that the posting had closed. I checked my status and received the following ...



    Anyone else?
    I am actually pretty surprised I was referred considering I spent all of 5-10 minutes on the application. I could tell by the way the application was written and structured that they were expecting much longer, well thought out answers. I just didn't want to spent 2-3 hours on a job application I wasn't really serious about.
    One question, does the state department use the same scale for jobs as the DoD? It says this position is a Grade 5 and I would imagine this job to be closer to a GS-11 or 12.
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  • HailHogwashHailHogwash Member Posts: 87 ■■■□□□□□□□
    you most likely will get a reject from them from the looks of that message...In my experience those guys are are bit behind. I have gotten a "although you qualify for the position we have filled the position" literally 2 or 3 months after applied, and mind you I didnt even get an interview.
  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    What about the message makes it look like I'm going to receive a reject letter? I've done the usajobs dance a few times now and from what I understand "referred" simply means I made it through whatever auto-filter they have set up to weed out the undesirables.
    I don't really care one way or another, I just thought it was kind of cool.
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  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    You made the initial cut, Congratulations. In about two to three months you will hear QEP results where they will determine if they want to bring you in for the next step, the oral assessemnt, or if you did not make the cut and your candidacy will be terminated. This is good news so far.

    So far as I can tell the hiring process with the DoS is a bunch of steps, at each one your candidacy can be terminated or referred to the next. FYI if you do get an oral assessment invite it is on your dime, after that it seems they pay for everything else.
  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    We have a separate pay scale and it goes the opposite direction of GS. For reference I'd look at the overseas table here: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/228933.pdf

    Looks like you are good so far. As da_vato said, the OA is on your own dime so you might want to start saving for that airfare from Kuwait to D.C. just in case.
  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    7lowe,

    Do you know if it is possible stay an entire career overseas as an IMS or would you have to do a tour to D.C. at some point?
  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    7lowe wrote: »
    As da_vato said, the OA is on your own dime so you might want to start saving for that airfare from Kuwait to D.C. just in case.

    For tax purposes I cannot re-enter the country until next year. Also, I am not making a special trip stateside for these guys to interview me. If they want to work with me and schedule it when I am already planning on being home then I will do it. We'll see how it works out.
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  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    da_vato wrote: »
    7lowe,

    Do you know if it is possible stay an entire career overseas as an IMS or would you have to do a tour to D.C. at some point?

    It is possible, but if you want to advance past a certain point then you would most likely have to do a tour in D.C.

    I'd rather just stay overseas myself, but I may consider going back to the US for one of the long-term training opportunities to get my Master's or something like that.
  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    tprice5 wrote: »
    I am not making a special trip stateside for these guys to interview me. If they want to work with me and schedule it when I am already planning on being home then I will do it. We'll see how it works out.

    I wish you luck in your ventures. I like your approach because I feel things have a way of unfolding as they should and it appears you are doing just that. When I went to my OA there was a lady there that was from Qatar, she had to make special arrangements due other scheduling issues. The State Dept. appears to make an effort to be accomodating of circumstances.
  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    7lowe wrote: »
    It is possible, but if you want to advance past a certain point then you would most likely have to do a tour in D.C.

    I understand that the higher the rank (for this position) the less positions available, is that the reason for most likely needing to take a D.C tour?
  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    da_vato wrote: »
    I understand that the higher the rank (for this position) the less positions available, is that the reason for most likely needing to take a D.C tour?

    That is part of it. But, we also have a "career playbook" that lists certain things you need to do in order to be promotable and I think it's listed there.
  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    Apologies if this has already been asked but what is the average length of an assignment?
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  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    tprice5 wrote: »
    Apologies if this has already been asked but what is the average length of an assignment?

    Typically the first 2 are 2 years and most are 3 after that (but war zones are 1 and I think a lot in DC are 4.)
  • NyblizzardNyblizzard Member Posts: 328 ■■■■□□□□□□
    How long do you guys think you'll stay with the Foreign Service? It really does seem like an awesome career to retire in but I see myself coming back home after 10-15 years. Whats your take on this?
    O
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  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    Though I haven't been fully accepted yet I will give my perspective on your question.

    I spent 13 years in the years in the army 10 of which were overseas; I say this because obviously I am very close to a federal retirement and to show that I am already accustomed to this lifestyle. Though I technically only need 7 years to retire and could do that with any Gov position I prefer the nomadic lifestyle because its like an adventure every time you leave your house. I personally get bored quickly and switching jobs every 2-3 years to a whole other part of the world is extremely exciting to me. I honestly see myself doing a full 20 years in this job (assuming I do get accepted). When I retire my no kidding dream is to just roam around the world aimlessly.

    After 10 years with the DoS, you could come back to the states, do 10+ more years with another federal job and start drawing retirement. Not doing a full 20 is not a problem, just learn ways to make the most of the time served.
  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Nyblizzard wrote: »
    How long do you guys think you'll stay with the Foreign Service? It really does seem like an awesome career to retire in but I see myself coming back home after 10-15 years. Whats your take on this?

    Everybody is different. I had never lived abroad when I took this job, but had been wanting to. By the time we finished our first posting we were already in love with the lifestyle and are pretty much planning to ride it out until retirement in 20 years or so. Unless I somehow come into enough money to be able to travel this much on my own with out working that is. ;)
  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    Nyblizzard wrote: »
    How long do you guys think you'll stay with the Foreign Service? It really does seem like an awesome career to retire in but I see myself coming back home after 10-15 years. Whats your take on this?

    You might as well work the extra 5 and get your retirement.
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  • NyblizzardNyblizzard Member Posts: 328 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Thanks for the replies guys :)

    In an attempt to reopen discussions, I'd like to mention that I attended a Foreign Service networking event in New Jersey on 9/18 and it absolutely got me excited and reassured me about this job.

    Got another question for ya'll, what kind of situation are you in when it comes to self learning and certifying? For example, does the DoS promote paper grabbing by reimbursing your efforts or are you better off not "wasting your time" because you won't touch that technology for the next X amount of years?

    One more question before bed, given the vast amounts of different job roles you could fill throughout even a short IMS career, would you be involved in enough Security roles to qualify for the CISSP?
    O
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  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    Nyblizzard wrote: »
    One more question before bed, given the vast amounts of different job roles you could fill throughout even a short IMS career, would you be involved in enough Security roles to qualify for the CISSP?

    Regardless of your job role, if you work within IT for the government, your experience requirement for CISSP is pretty much satisfied due to the huge emphasis on security.
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  • 7lowe7lowe Member Posts: 178 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Nyblizzard wrote: »
    Thanks for the replies guys :)

    In an attempt to reopen discussions, I'd like to mention that I attended a Foreign Service networking event in New Jersey on 9/18 and it absolutely got me excited and reassured me about this job.

    Got another question for ya'll, what kind of situation are you in when it comes to self learning and certifying? For example, does the DoS promote paper grabbing by reimbursing your efforts or are you better off not "wasting your time" because you won't touch that technology for the next X amount of years?

    To a certain extent, yes. We have a thing called Skills Incentive Pay (SIP). But, you only get it for 1 cert and it lasts 3 years before you have to renew it again (though they may require you to do smaller certs each year to maintain it if the qualifying cert you have doesn't have a CPE requirement.)

    I've not done it yet. I keep thinking I'll eventually go for my CISSP, but I find it hard to build up enough confidence to front the money to pay for the test.

    I have definitely gotten enough experience to meet the CISSP qualifications.

    *edited as they just reduced the duration from 5 years to 3.
  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    da_vato wrote: »
    In about two to three months you will hear QEP results where they will determine if they want to bring you in for the next step

    In light of the latest State Dept. jobs posts I decided to check my status and there has been no change. Currently at the 2 month mark.
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  • FrankMat74FrankMat74 Member Posts: 40 ■■□□□□□□□□
    tprice5- thinking the same thoughts. I submitted back in Aug too with same status following the closing date.
  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    The hiring on process for this job will do one of two things: [1] Test your patience…. [2] Help you to develop patience…

    The process is slow and with more openings obviously there is a need for personnel but they do have standards that they have to adhere to. Gov jobs are always slow… this one perhaps the slowest I have seen. The thing that has helped me is reading foreign service blogs and participating in the “FSS Yahoo Group.”
  • tprice5tprice5 Member Posts: 770
    da_vato wrote: »
    The hiring on process for this job will do one of two things: [1] Test your patience…. [2] Help you to develop patience…

    I'm in no rush, I just wanted to update whomever is following this thread. In fact, if they could drag this out another 9 months or so that would fit my timing perfectly. The real question will be if I want to continue working for the government and if the benefits package will be enough.
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  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    tprice5 wrote: »
    The real question will be if I want to continue working for the government and if the benefits package will be enough.

    7lowe and rwmidl could answer those questions for you or give you enough information to answer them.
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