School guidance counselors, mentors, family, friends: they all have important perspectives and opinions to share when you’re thinking about the direction you want to push your career, or how best to spend your few opportunities for paid or unpaid internships. But what are the people doing it saying and wondering about? Department of State (D0S) can tell you.


If you’re thinking Department of State, you’re in luck. There’s a whole world of State sponsored discussion forums and blogs available for people interested in careers or internships with DoS. For professionals interested in careers in the Foreign Service, State offers a menu of insider information on its Foreign Service Blogs site. “This collection is intended as a way to highlight and share the creative talents in our diplomatic and development corps,” writes the webhost. “The blogs give insight into work and life in the U.S. Foreign Service around the world.”

If you want to know what’s on Foreign Service Officers’ minds, take a look. For instance, one blogger, Heather, wrote earlier this month in her “Adventures Around the World,” “I didn’t just live and work in Lithuania, Afghanistan, Nepal, Iraq, and Romania. I served in those countries. . . . I would make a terrible soldier, but representing the U.S. as a public diplomacy officer in the Foreign Service is how I can serve my country. I take it seriously.” There’s a real gold mine of intimate perspectives and experiences on what it means to be a Foreign Service Officer for the Department of State.


Interested in internships at State and want to know what’s on all those other people’s minds? There’s a forum for that. In fact, there are a dozen forums for that. There’s a forum for questions related to Foreign Service, to Civil Service, Foreign Service Counselor Fellows, and more While many of the forum questions are answered by other State employees, a good number are answered by State Human Resources representatives.

If you’re a Veteran with questions, there’s a forum with Veteran-specific discussions. For instance, one Veteran candidate wonders how much his Naval Foreign Area Officer experience and Veteran status will help in a transition to DoS Foreign Service. “You go through the application process just like everyone else. You can apply your veterans’ points after you are pass the Oral Assessment, the last part of the multi-step selection process,” writes a respondent who seems to know. “The veterans’ points can give you a bump up on the hiring register, and you can get a bump-up from language ability, too.”

According to another forum participant, competition to get in the Foreign-Service-Officer-door is pretty stiff: “Also . . . many entry-level FSOs come in with years of experience in the military, the civil service in State and elsewhere . . . . A fair number of folks have advanced degrees, language proficiency (sometimes in more than one language), international experience . . .” and so on.


Surfing around the Department of State’s forums and blogs is like a big conference of like-minded people with varying degrees of experience and different ambitions. And you can just listen in, or you dive into the discussions for yourself.

Good luck.

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Ed Ledford enjoys the most challenging, complex, and high stakes communications requirements. His portfolio includes everything from policy and strategy to poetry. A native of Asheville, N.C., and retired Army Aviator, Ed’s currently writing speeches in D.C. and working other writing projects from his office in Rockville, MD. He loves baseball and enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring anything. Follow Ed on Twitter @ECLedford.