Archive for the 'Pre-employment process' Category

Joining the Foreign Service Part II-The FSOA and Beyond

Continuing on with the process of joining the Foreign Service after clearing the FSOT and the QEP, the next hurdle is the FSOA. As always my one bit of actual advice is “be persistent!” The Oral Assessment is a three part test that makes for a pretty long day. The day always starts out with the group exercise and then either moves to the structured interview or the case management. I used the materials available on the FSOA yahoo group to help prepare. The yahoo groups are a great resources but they are also a fountain of an incredible amount of misinformation, so take some of the advice that is dished out there with a grain of salt. If it sounds crazy… it probably is. Most people on there do give pretty good tips and advice but there are some that suggest strategies to game the test, and most of these strategies seem to be for the group exercise. The BEX have done you a big favor, they told you what they want- the 13 dimensions. They aren’t looking for someone who can outwit their group members. Continue reading ‘Joining the Foreign Service Part II-The FSOA and Beyond’

Reader Searches Part II- Joining the Foreign Service

As I promised a few weeks ago, I’m doing a couple of posts inspired by reader searches. As an aside by far the most entertaining key word search someone used to find my blog is “how many trash cans, fort bliss.” I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to that one… but I have noticed a reoccurring theme on other search terms. People seem to want to know about studying for the Foreign Service exam and failing the foreign service exam. While there are some incredible people who pass through the FSOT, QEP, and FSOA the first time through I was not one of them. I failed the written exam twice (back when it was the FWSE) before passing the first try through the new FSOT/QEP system. I remember seeing a statistic back when it was the FSWE that only 2% passed all the way through the FSOA to get an offer (I do believe it is slightly higher now). I was lamenting to my sister that there was no way, I wasn’t one of the top 2% smartest people in the world, it just wasn’t going to happen. She gave me what was probably the BEST advice I got in the whole process. “So, be one of the 2% most persistent people.” More than anything this is a process that rewards persistence. Most people don’t pass the first time or they don’t get off the register after passing the first time. So for those intrepid applicants out there still weeding through the process–that is the best actual advice I can give– be persistent. The rest of this is just ramblings about my own experiences and what worked for me all within the confines of the NDA of course! Continue reading ‘Reader Searches Part II- Joining the Foreign Service’

Avoiding Mortal Peril

Several members of my A-100 group have been joking on our group message board that now that the “dream” is about to be a reality, that they are terrified some tragedy might befall them. My pre-A-100 worries have mostly centered on silly, mundane things like getting lost trying to find FSI and oversleeping. Perhaps, the universe is trying to tell me I need to fear the random piano dropping out of the sky and turning me into a pancake rather that sleeping through the morning alarm.  Continue reading ‘Avoiding Mortal Peril’


My mailed appointment package arrived yesterday. Seeing all the official forms is starting to make it feel real. Only a little over a month now until my class starts! Included in the appointment packet was all the standard benefits forms and hiring paperwork. I was somewhat amused by the brochure for Lurray Caverns thrown into the mix. It is nice that they thought to include some tourist suggestions for the out of towners. I was also relieved that they included the schedule for the shuttle that runs to FSI. Finding out when the shuttle leaves was something I was I actually worried about (yes, I do worry about the oddest things). Since I live near a metro I have no intention of battling DC morning traffic to get out to FSI every morning. I’d rather take a 40 minute metro ride than spend hours in my snarled in traffic. DC traffic was actually a big reason why I left my first “real” job out of college. Continue reading ‘Paperwork’

Counting down the days

Since the offer letters started going out, the 146th A-100 class welcoming committee put together an online group so the incoming 148th can ask questions. If it’s possible, I think I am even more excited to join the Foreign Service! Continue reading ‘Counting down the days’

Officially Official

After waiting the last few days on pins and needles, I got my official offer letter today for the September A-100 class. Although I was told deferring a class would not be a problem, it didn’t quite feel like a done deal until I got the letter. I was getting a little anxious since my current employer has just begun accepting resumes for my position. I was a bit nervous  about not having the offer in my hands so  I accepted about 2 minutes after I received it and was thanked for my “quick response.”  I may have been a little over-eager to accept… 😉

I had to follow up accepting the offer with dropping out of my graduate program. Considering all the time I spent applying and hoping to get in, I never thought I would be so happy to leave. It’s for a good reason though! I’m lucky though the hiring surge has resulted candidates getting offers almost immediately after clearing final suitability. I was supposed to start the grad program next month; it would have been more difficult to drop after I had begun the program. Since I hadn’t started, it wasn’t much of an agonizing decision to make.  Now I’m off to New York to visit my sister and some friends and of course, to celebrate!

Hello World! (The obligatory first post)

I suppose summing up the road thus far is as good a way to begin as any. A little over a year I took the Foreign Service Officer’s Test. Those that know me, know this wasn’t my first attempt at wrangling the dreaded FSOT. I first took the exam in 2003, 2 months before I graduated college. Being a college senior I was completely full of myself and convinced I had at least the written exam in the bag. I of course failed the essay (the part I didn’t study for), which was probably a much-needed blow to my ego.  It’s good to get knocked down a peg or two periodically, builds character. In 2005 my ego had recovered enough to give it another go. Apparently I needed more  character though because this time I failed the multi-guess, serves me right for not studying a lick. Continue reading ‘Hello World! (The obligatory first post)’