I Want To Work In … the Diplomatic Service
So do very many other graduates! The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) regularly appears in the top ten in surveys of “employers graduates would most like to work for” and its Fast-Stream recruitment scheme receives almost 100 applications for every position.
So the competition is fierce, but there are a number of myths about the Diplomatic Service that put many people off applying:
- You don’t need to have a degree in languages, international relations or politics – any degree subject is acceptable.
- You don’t need to have been to public school and/or Oxbridge – several Kent graduates have joined the FCO in the past and the FCO is keen to promote diversity
- You don’t need to join straight from university – time spent working, studying or travelling, particularly abroad, can help you to develop the skills that you need in the Diplomatic Service and thus increase your chances of success
- Diplomacy: the art of letting someone have your own way.
- Diplomat: A person who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.
- After all is said and done, more is usually said than done.
You do need to be a British citizen
The main entry route for graduates is through the Civil Service Fast Stream.
Applications are accepted between September and November each year – see http://faststream.civilservice.gov.uk/the-different-streams/generalist/diplomatic-service for further details and closing dates
For other opportunities, see www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/working-for-us
Almost all posts require you to be willing to work abroad for up to two-thirds of your career.
The FCO website also includes detailed outlines of the work in the various roles above, case studies and information on how to apply.
For vacancy updates, follow FCOcareers on Twitter http://twitter.com/FCOcareers
Some Kent graduates in the FCO include:
- Shan Morgan, Deputy Permanent Represenative to the EU https://www.gov.uk/government/people/shan-morgan
- Victoria Dean, High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean www.linkedin.com/pub/victoria-dean/3a/412/284
Recruitment through the Fast Stream is competency-based: relevant experience is not required and is, in fact, not easy to obtain.
The key competencies are listed at http://faststream.civilservice.gov.uk/about-fast-stream/what-are-we-looking-forand can be gained through all kinds of experience – part-time and casual work, extra-curricular activities and study.
Civil Service Fast Stream Applications and Assessment Centre Information http://fast-stream.info
Last fully updated 2013