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Comment by Adam Race on October 16, 2013 at 9:00pm

Sandra, once again, thanks for your quick response! I've certainly heard to stick to the 13-Ds in other blog sites as well and will do just that. Thank you again and I'm excited to get going, if it comes!

Comment by Sandra Yeaman on October 16, 2013 at 11:59am


This is now my personal advice, not to be viewed as anything more than that, although I spent a year as an assessor back when the process was slightly different - the reason I reached out to my colleagues to answer your first question.

If your score on the written exam is sufficient for you to advance to the oral assessment, you will be scored against 13 dimensions. If you spend too much of your time emphasizing one or more of those dimensions and fail to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and abilities in the others, you will not score highly. If you score well on all the dimensions, no one will think you are in it just for the free travel.

Comment by Adam Race on October 16, 2013 at 11:54am

Sandra Yeaman, thank you very much for the invaluable information! I will be sure to integrate examples from my time overseas into the PNs and after.

Another question since I have a live person (or anyone): in addition to my 4 yrs abroad with the Navy, I've spent in total a year independently traveling to 26 countries (W. Europe/E. Africa/Mexico) to see the sites, wildlife viewing, and learn Spanish. My question is: should I mention (maybe more to what degree?) this because in a way it could sound like I'm a wanderer/wanderlust/non-committal and my interest in State may look like a free ride to "wherever land?" Common sense would dictate me to say as much about my experience abroad as possible, but a good friend of mine raised the issue and I would rather be sure than not. Again, any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Comment by Sandra Yeaman on October 16, 2013 at 10:37am

Adam Race, I just got this response from my colleagues in the office at State that handles the Foreign Service Oral Assessments:

"You will not be asked to provide a copy of your DD-214 until you reach the Oral Assessment stage. However, we hope you took the opportunity to mention your overseas military experience in the employment section when you registered for the FSOT. As a participant in the October FSOT you will receive notification on October 30 advising whether or not your candidacy will continue. If you are invited to submit Personal Narratives (PN) for the Qualifications Evaluation Panel (QEP) you will have the opportunity to use examples in your responses to the PNs. If you pass the QEP and are invited to the Oral Assessment (FSOA) you will have the opportunity to mention your military overseas experience in the statement you will submit regarding your desire to join the Foreign Service. During the structured interview you can also draw on that experience. If you are eligible for Veterans preference points those are added after an applicant passes the FSOA."

Comment by Adam Race on October 15, 2013 at 9:08pm

Hi, I just applied in July to be a Foreign Service Officer and took the FSOT a week ago. I am a vet that spent almost 4 yrs abroad but I just noticed a pretty glaring error on my DD-214--the section for Foreign Service, are all 0's. I should have somewhere close to 4 yrs in that box (#12-f.) My question is: when does State pull my DD-214? Because I just put in for a correction to the Navy and it could take literally months, with or without a gov shutdown. PS: I think this is very important because it demonstrates my ability to live/work abroad. Any help/info please. Thanks!

Comment by Steve Cottle on July 24, 2012 at 10:39am

Richard Boly, Director of the Office of eDiplomacy, sat down for an interview with Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER. You can check it out here:

Comment by Jeff Ribeira on November 8, 2011 at 10:43am

David Eaves just wrote a pretty interesting post about bringing new tech to foreign affairs organizations that I thought everyone here might want to read. One of the things he suggests is a TripIt-esque app for citizens traveling abroad. Good idea/bad idea?

Comment by Jim Jones on October 26, 2011 at 11:20am

Hopefully, somebody who is with this group can help me. I think that the Department of State would really like to use this expertise of mine.

I advertise Mandarin Coaching, remote (Twitter: @han4yu3, I think that experts at the DOS might really like to utilize me for this service. I am in the Midwest, in a large city.

Am also available for longer term engagements as described at

My accent when I speak in Mandarin is an outstanding natural, authentic and very standard mild Beijing and I am good at getting others to 'mimic' it. I do possess Linguistics knowledge but I still do not quite understand why my Mandarin has such an uncannily 'good' sound. I have spoken the language very well for almost 30 years.

I would work with people who speak Mandarin in order to help them make specific and agreed-upon improvements/enhancements in Mandarin accent, fluency, confidence and expression. It would be via Web and phone. I offer a free 20 minute no-commit session. I am also available for language practice and for beginners/learners but I am specifically looking for advanced users of the language.

An example of a person who I could help: a charge d'affaires who speaks the language well but who still retains a trace of an accent.

Slide 11 of the slide show on my site characterizes the sound of my Mandarin. The various pages of my Web site all focus on this Mandarin Coaching. The rates that I quote are only suggestive and I do offer special deals to government and non-profits.

Translation is a different kind of thing; I am also actively seeking clients for that. describes my written communication services.

Comment by Tommye Grant on October 11, 2011 at 2:41pm

Mac, this is what a friend in HR at State said: talk to whoever hired you about this and/or their supervisor.

Comment by Jeff Ribeira on October 10, 2011 at 11:32am

Anyone in this group have some advice for Mac? He's making the transition from active military service to working with State and has some salary questions. Check out his question here:


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