I’ve Got 99 Posts, But This Ain’t 1

Real life diplomacy is like the board game, but less violent.

Real life diplomacy is like the board game, but less violent.

That’s right, this post marks the big 1-0-0 for the site. It’s quite an achievement, if I say so myself.

When I began this blog, I knew I wanted to keep the site pretty much focused on how to best prepare for the Foreign Service exam with the occasional tidbit about what to expect in the Foreign Service lifestyle. There are tons of terrific FS blogs out there, but most of them tend to stray into the personal life of the writer. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that (I’ve been guilty a few times), but I wanted my site to be focused. After all, I know 99% of my followers aren’t reading because they’re fans of me, they want to know how to get my job.

7 Tips to Dominate the Personal Narrative Questions

It’s funny to watch the traffic on the site wax and wane. Usually whenever it is time to register, I get a little surge then it goes back down. Next, I get a big wave of traffic when people find out they have passed the written portion of the Foreign Service Officer Test. Oddly enough, a big dip in traffic tends to happen after the results of the Qualifications Evaluation Panel are released.
Why? Because most people just get completely destroyed at this stage and find out their candidacy has come to a premature end. No doubt about it, this is a tough part of the process. The most frustrating thing is, you often don’t even know whey you didn’t get selected to move on to the Oral Assessment. You are simply told you are done. Do not pass go. To a certain extent, there isn’t even much you can do to improve for next year. The QEP reviews your experience and you either have that or you don’t. However, this is one absolutely crucial part of the QEP that you can improve and that is the Personal Narratives you write.
I’ve offered some tips on that before and now I’m going to do it again. I’ve lined up a great guest poster to share his suggestions for improving your chances at getting past the QEP. FSO PRO has a new website with a similar mission to my own: trying to improve your chances at getting into the Foreign Service. The more the merrier, I say. Check out what he has to say below and then go check out his site. There’s a lot of great information over there.

Where's the 'Any' key?

Where’s the ‘Any’ key?

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Life at Embassy Kabul

Daily life at every U.S. Embassy around the world varies in flavor. Some are sleepy, backwater posts where the work quietly chugs along with little notice from Washington. Others are constantly in the spotlight and received a steady flow of VIP visitors, each eager to be where the action is. Then there are the war zones. Your Afghanistans, Iraqs, Yemens, and Sudans. These posts are a world unto themselves.

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Tips for the FSOT From a Recent Success Story

New FS blogger Scott has offered up some great tips that allowed him to excel on the FSOT. He hasn’t actually started with State yet, but he is on the home stretch and should be joining the team soon. You can follow his blog at Flickomat.

Many of his suggestions are ones you have probably heard before, but it is always good to get a fresh perspective from someone recently through the process. In particular, I think this is great advice:

 Identify Your Weakness

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Welcome to the 179th!

Welcome to our newest group of Junior Entry Level Officers, the 179th A-100 class!

That’s right, I didn’t forget this time. No hate mail this time.

Here is my normal A-100 advice:

  • Enjoy it. It’s a ton of fun.
  • Learn from it. You’ll hear from many experts in their field.
  • Appreciate it. There are countless others who would gladly trade places with you.
  • Go to the happy hour events. Besides being fun, these are crucial for creating your new friendships and your first work network (essential for later assignments.)
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