How employable are diplomats?
CareerExplorer rates diplomats with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future.
Are diplomats in demand?
The U.S. Department of State very succinctly articulates the ‘thirteen certain skills, personal qualities, and abilities’ required of U.S. diplomats or foreign-service officers (FSOs). They are: composure; cultural adaptability; motivation; initiative; leadership; strong written and oral communication skills; ability to analyze situations and absorb complex information from a variety of sources; ability to prioritize tasks; fairness; honesty; and capacity to work well with others. Demand for the extraordinary people who combine all of these traits and skills is determined by the number of worldwide embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions maintained by the U.S. State Department. Currently, this number is +/-270. A career as a diplomat is undeniably prestigious, but it can also be dangerous and challenging, particularly for those assigned to war-torn countries or ‘hardship’ or ‘unaccompanied’ posts, where family members are often not permitted to join the appointee. FSOs, especially those posted in volatile environments, need to be genuinely committed to public service and to maintain sound judgment and composure in the face of stressful and rapidly changing situations. Individuals wishing to become U.S. diplomats must be between 20 and 59 years of age and must choose one of five possible career tracks. Consular officers facilitate adoptions and help evacuate Americans. Economic officers work with foreign governments on trade, energy, environment, science, and technology policies. Management officers are responsible for embassy operations. Political officers observe the political climate at their foreign posts and decipher events as they relate to U.S. interests. Public diplomacy officers promote support for American policy abroad. Aspiring U.S. diplomats have to pass the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT), submit a personal narrative, take an oral assessment, complete medical and security clearances, and pass a final panel review. Candidates who successfully complete these steps are placed on the official register of successful candidates sorted by career tracks. Selected applicants undergo extensive orientation and specialized training based on their career track, and must complete at least one hardship assignment. The Foreign Service is a career like no other. It is more than a job. It is a way of life, which calls upon those who are curious about the world and prepared to dedicate themselves to its welfare.