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Instructions 1. See whether you meet the basic qualifications. You must be a U.S.

citizen aged 20 to 59 on the day you apply (at least 21 and no older than 60 on your first day of employment). A college degree is not necessary, but will qualify you for higher salaries. Most importantly, you must be willing to relocate to foreign countries around the world, including dangerous and undeveloped areas. 2. Examine your life, both past and present. To become a foreign diplomat, your entire life will be examined, so you can obtain the proper security clearance. A history of credit problems (unpaid bills, excessive debt, failure to repay student loans) is the number one reason people are disqualified for service, with a criminal record falling close behind. Since the background check is at the end of the process, you should consider these disqualifying factors before you submit an application. 3. Study for the foreign service exam. While your grammar and English will be tested, you should spend some time learning about the skills needed to perform the tasks required of Foreign Service Officers. Questions cover American government and society, math, economics, world history, legislation and computers, among other topics. Study guides are available. 4. Register for the foreign service officer test (see Resources below). Rolling registration begins in July of each year. The initial registration process includes filling out an application and submitting a personal narrative (essay questions). 5. Wait for your invitation email to register for a test date. Only 5,000 seats are available each year for the test. You can choose a date after you submit the initial application and it is approved. Invitations are sent on a first come, first served basis. 6. Take the test, which will be examined along with your initial application by a qualifications evaluation panel. The panel decides whether you have what it takes to become an American diplomat. They may pass you onto the next level, which is an oral exam. 7. Take the all-day oral assessment if you qualify. Scheduling begins about 12 weeks after the written test, with the first appointments falling at about 14 weeks.

8. Complete a medical exam and undergo the background check as the last steps of the applications process. You will be notified if you qualify for appointment after the oral assessment, and the authorities will begin the investigation process. The background check can take anywhere from 60 days to a full year. 9. Visit the Foreign Service Officer informational site offered by the Department of State (see Resources below). The entire application process is clearly defined and most questions you will have are answered there. Tips & Warnings Even if you qualify to become an American diplomat, you may not be offered a job. Usually, more registrants qualify each year than openings exist. FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER The mission of a U.S. diplomat in the Foreign Service is to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad. If youre passionate about public service and want to represent the U.S. around the world, a challenging and rewarding career is waiting for you. The opportunity to work and experience cultures, customs and people of different nations is truly a career unlike any other. The work youll do will have an impact on the world. You will be asked to serve at one of any of the more than 265 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions in The Americas, Africa, Europe and Eurasia, East Asia and Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia. Some of these posts are in difficult and even dangerous environments, but working in them affords great challenges and rewards. Explore a career in the Foreign Service and start your journey with the Department today.

Diplomacy: The U.S. Department of State@Work
As the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency, the U.S. Department of State has over 265 diplomatic locations around the world, including embassies, consulates,

and missions to international organizations. The Department also maintains diplomatic relations with most countries in the world, as well as with many international organizations. The Secretary of State, the ranking member of the Cabinet and fourth in line of presidential succession, is the President's principal advisor on foreign policy and the person chiefly responsible for representing the United States abroad. The primary goal of the Secretary of State and the U.S. Department of State is to shape a freer, more secure, and more prosperous world through formulating and implementing the President's foreign policy, while supporting and protecting American interests abroad. The Department is responsible for promoting peace and stability in areas of vital interest to America, and helping developing nations establish stable economic environments. It is a source of support for American businesses abroad, working to achieve fair business practices in commerce, trade, manufacturing and other interestswhile also identifying viable opportunities for American businesses. The U.S. Department of State also provides information and services for U.S. citizens travelling abroad, including issuing passports. And, it also issues visas to foreigners wishing to visit the United States. The Department is responsible for selecting and hiring employees who accomplish America's mission of diplomacy at home and around the world, including Foreign Service Officers, Foreign Service Specialists and Civil Service professionals. For those pursuing undergraduate, graduate or other advanced degrees, and professionals who are interested in an executive development program in public service, the Department offers a number of programs, including internships and fellowships.

6. Take the written exam. Bring your admission ticket, a black pen, several No. 2 pencils and valid identification such as a photo ID card or a driver's license with photo. 7. Take the Foreign Service Oral Assessment. Your eligibility to take it depends on your performance on the written test. 8. Take a foreign language test, provided you are proficient in a foreign language, to enhance your eligibity. 9. Be prepared to undergo a background investigation as well as a comprehensive medical examination. 10. Be willing to serve anywhere in the world, including high-risk areas. Tips & Warnings Study diligently. On average, only 30% of the people who take the written test are invited back for an oral assessment. Consider how a career as a foreign service officer will affect your family. They may have to travel with you and put their own careers and goals on hold, or you may be separated from them for extended periods of time. Going to a college or university and obtaining a Bachelor's degree may help you advance in your career and obtain higher salaries. You may be assigned to an area under dangerous circumstances, such as political instability or prevalant disease. How to Become a Diplomat 1. Make sure that you fulfill the basic requirements. You must be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 20 and 59. 2. Avoid drug and alcohol abuse and make sure your finances are in order. A lack of responsibility in either of these areas may jeopardize your eligibility as a Foreign Service officer down the line. 3. Visit the Department of State website. You can look for it with a search engine like Yahoo! or Google. 4. Register for the Foreign Service Written Exam (FSWE), which is offered once a year in cities around the world. 5. Review and select from one of five career tracks: Management, Consular, Economic, Political and Public Diplomacy.

Qualities of a Good Ambassador By Carolyn Scheidies, eHow Contributor An ambassador represents a country, school or organization in a positive manner, fostering good relationships with others. A good ambassador cares about bringing people, businesses or countries together, while remaining loyal to the place represented. It takes skills as a negotiator, a certain amount of expertise and integrity to be a good ambassador. Loyal A good ambassador is trustworthy. The employers, whether those employers are from a school, business or country, need to know that what they share with the ambassador is not shared indiscriminately. Anything shared is to be used judiciously. A steadfast ambassador stays loyal to the employer or country -- even when she is not in total agreement or is tempted to switch loyalties. Mediator and Negotiator

An ambassador must deal with lots of different situations, personalities and political undercurrents. A good ambassador often deals with less than ideal situations and with those who do not wish to come to terms. A productive ambassador knows how to mediate a tense situation and negotiate a compromise that presents a winning situation for all sides. Enjoys Cultural Diversity An ambassador who is not afraid of different cultures or people is a definite asset. While some people do not adjust well to situations, including cultures and languages outside their comfort zone, an effective ambassador relishes the opportunities for interaction with those who are different from what he may be used to from his own experiences. A dedicated ambassador quickly picks up on nuances of those with whom he deals with, and learns to work within their cultural framework. Effective Communicator It is critical that a strong ambassador be an effective and clear communicator. The ambassador needs to speak and enunciate clearly. She also must sense how best to communicate what needs to be conveyed, whether this is the stand of her country, a proposal or negotiations. Different cultures may interpret language, idioms and phrasing differently. A good ambassador takes the time to learn how best to communicate with the other party without giving offense. Good communication includes gestures, mannerisms and polite affectations that may mean the difference between a positive or negative exchange. Expertise A good ambassador should have expertise in the area of employment. If a person is asked to be an ambassador for agriculture, for example, he needs to understand the farming community he represents. Furthermore, he needs to understand those with whom he works on a regular basis to convey information from those he represents. A solid ambassador takes the time to learn what is necessary, becoming an expert in the field in which he works as an ambassador. Integrates Well A good ambassador cares not just about those she represents, but also about those with whom she interacts on a regular basis. She cares about other countries and people. She learns the culture and seeks to integrate into the social framework of those with whom she serves as ambassador.

About Diplomats
By Lesley Barker, eHow Contributor

Diplomats are official representatives sent from one nation's government to another nation. It takes high-level social skills and a good working knowledge of history, politics and international relations to be a successful diplomat. The most effective diplomats can change the course of history and usually make a reputation that continues long after their careers are done. History Famous diplomats include presidents, United Nations representatives, secretaries of state and the ambassadors who live full time in a host country. President Thomas Jefferson was an ambassador to France before he became the third American president. Perhaps this accounts for his ability to direct the negotiations that purchased Louisiana for the United States. Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger, both former U.S. Secretaries of State, are skilled diplomats who negotiated major international agreements and who continue to be consulted years after their terms of office ended. Kofi Annan and Ban Ki Moon are the seventh and eighth United Nations Secretaries General, respectively. Their reputations as skillful diplomats led to their election to the top position at the United Nations. Significance The international community created a series of treaties that set the standards for diplomatic relations. Three agreements make the series, which are known as the Vienna Convention. They were established in 1961, 1963 and 1969. Identification When a diplomat is assigned to represent one country in another country where he lives for the term of his appointment, he is known as an ambassador. (This title remains with him even after his term ends.) The official residence of an ambassador in the host country is the embassy, and the ambassador's office is the chancery. When an ambassador lives in a city that is not the capital of the host country, the place is called a diplomatic mission. Function Diplomatic missions and embassies have seven important functions. They have to represent their own nation in another nation. This means that the diplomats will attend important state events in the name of their own nation. They have

to guard their own nation's political, military, economic and other interests. Since they are on site in the host country, they will be able to respond to issues quickly. Diplomats negotiate agreements on behalf of their own government with the government of the host country. They usually receive instructions by fax, email, telephone or secret channels. Then they can suggest arrangements and compromises. They watch and report about things that are happening in the host country. This can tip off the other government about potential problems or opportunities. Diplomats work to keep friendly relations between their country and the host county. They develop new relations that may result in business and trade opportunities. They also handle requests for documents like visas and passports. Considerations Diplomats and their family members living in a host country are exempt from criminal and civil prosecution in that country. This is called "diplomatic immunity." If a diplomat abuses the laws of the host country so much that that nation wishes to banish him, the host country assigns the unsavory diplomat the title of "persona non grata." A persona non grata is kicked out of the host country and cannot return.

Protecting Interests of Home Country Diplomats protect the interests of their home country and its citizens by providing updates about political and economic developments in their host country. They help their citizens who are traveling abroad and they also evacuate refugees. They explain and defend the foreign policy of their home country in a diplomatic way.

Providing Consular Services Diplomats issue passports, travel documents and visas. They also give financial assistance to the citizens of their home country who become destitute in the host country. They visit their citizens who have been arrested and provide appropriate assistance. They help the relatives of citizens who died abroad. Acting as Spokesperson Diplomats hold press conferences in the host country on issues related to their home country. They answer questions from the local and foreign media assigned in their host country on matters that involve their home country and its citizens.

Duties of a Diplomat By Josie Sison Livingstone, eHow Contributor Print this article Diplomats maintain good relations with host country while advancing their home country's foreign policy. Diplomats represent their home country and maintain good relations with the host country, or the country in which they work. A diplomat usually lives in the embassy of his country, which is normally located in the host country's capital. "Diplomat" is the general term used to describe everyone in the foreign service from the ambassador to his entourage of assistants. To protect them while they are in a foreign country, they are granted diplomatic immunity, or freedom from prosecution, by the host country (see Reference 5). Promoting Friendly Relations Diplomats are responsible for developing commercial, economic, cultural and scientific relations between the host country and the home country. They negotiate with the government of the host country and discuss issues such as foreign aid or treaties.