Which Career Track is Right for You?

The Foreign Service has five different career tracks: Consular Affairs, Economic Affairs, Management Affairs, Political Affairs, and Public Diplomacy. At the beginning of the hiring process, you must choose a track. We know that this can be a tough decision, so we’ve developed a questionnaire to help you match your interests to the career track that may be right for you.

You will be presented with 10 work activities from each of the five tracks (in random order), and asked to rate how interested you would be in performing each of the 50 activities. It only takes about 10 minutes to complete and your results will be tabulated into a useful bar chart. Please remember that this is just a guide. Trust your personal judgment, not solely the results of the questionnaire, in selecting the career track that is right for you.

Let’s Get Started

Rating Scale
Very Interested
Very Uninterested
  Question 1 2 3 4 5
1. Design professional development programs and opportunities, including programs to foster excellent working relationships and morale among a multinational labor force.
2. Create solutions to problems faced by American citizens when abroad (e.g., replacing passports, locating and facilitating legal and medical assistance, visiting an arrested American, helping in a disaster or evacuation).
3. Develop general information materials concerning economic conditions in the country of interest for U.S. businesses and the general public (e.g., web page content).
4. Write brief analyses of host country approaches to global issues (e.g., environment, famine, disease).
5. Identify sources of information on economic development in a foreign country.
6. Monitor host country foreign policy and compliance with laws, agreements, treaties, or standards (e.g., court orders, worker’s rights, child labor, human rights).
7. Advise the Mission, Ambassador, country team, or other members of the U.S. Government on public diplomacy issues.
8. Advocate the post’s interests and serve as a communication link to Washington on a wide-range of operational issues (e.g., management policy, bilateral reciprocity, staff and financial requirements, adequate and secure facilities).
9. Recommend actions (i.e., programs and projects) to influence the opinion of foreign governments on U.S. policy objectives.
10. Work with foreign government agencies to resolve issues and emergency situations (e.g., visa investigations, evacuations, arrests, fraud)
11. Manage the infrastructure of the Embassy and acquire the resources (e.g., financial, property, staffing) to meet U.S. policy objectives and achieve operational improvements.
12. Identify fraudulent or illegal activities (e.g., selling false passports, border crossings) and coordinate with FBI, Treasury, Customs, Immigration and Naturalization Service, and others to prevent entry of ineligible aliens into the U.S.
13. Provide input on alternative courses of U.S. Government action and economic policy directions in the host country.
14. Advise post leadership (e.g., Ambassador, Deputy Chief of Mission) on management issues and opportunities, and work closely to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of mission.
15. Develop recommendations for strategies and policy goals to advance U.S. political interests abroad.
16. Review U.S.-generated materials to determine their value for facilitating bilateral relations and identify those that should be disseminated in country of interest.
17. Determine potential sources, reliability and deficiencies in information relevant to making policy decisions.
18. Identify trends and develop solutions to improve consular operations (e.g., workload and staffing statistics, number of visas issued and rejected, number of refugees processed).
19. Provide assistance to local business communities and brief visiting American business representatives on economic developments in the host country (e.g., changes in the market, strength of currency, pending import/export policies, etc.).
20. Coordinate public diplomacy programs (e.g., speaker programs, international visitors programs) and cultural and educational exchange programs (International Visitor Program, Fulbright program).
21. Review foreign government economic policies, actions, and motivations to determine their impact on U.S. interests.
22. Communicate with American citizens, Congressional staff members, Customs, FBI, and other USG agencies concerning citizenship and visa issues and cases.
23. Create opportunities for interagency partnerships and innovative joint ventures in management operations in a Mission or Department setting.
24. Motivate local institutions (e.g., educational, cultural, media) to participate in exchange programs.
25. Review effectiveness of longer-term U.S. Government policy goals and strategies to suggest possible adjustments.
26. Create Mission opportunities and develop plans and solutions for a wide range of issues (e.g., Presidential, Secretary of State and other VIP visits; relocation of Embassy buildings; diplomatic immunities and privileges; leases, etc.).
27. Coordinate efforts on consulate matters with other agencies (e.g., Immigration and Naturalization Service, Department of Justice, FBI) on issues with broader foreign policy implications (e.g., refusal of visa to members of host country government).
28. Contact foreign government officials to support legislation and policies that are favorable to U.S. firms.
29. For public statements at post on key political issues, review text with other embassy sections and obtain Washington approval for publication.
30. Seek out new partners and explain the purpose and function of U.S. public diplomacy programs.
31. Strategically plan for and optimize the allocation of resources (i.e., real and personal property, financial, personnel) to improve operational efficiency of the Mission.
32. Verify and approve applications for passports, including passport renewals, extensions and amendments.
33. Give input on approaches for addressing restrictive business practices of foreign country.
34. Propose policy in collaboration with colleagues within Department of State, Congressional staff, non-governmental organizations, etc.
35. Review domestic and international press and other sources (e.g., foreign media, research reports, scholarly publications, etc.) to keep current on developments, check accuracy of reporting about the U.S., and correct misinformation.
36. Initiate action or policy changes, generate opportunities, resolve management issues and obtain resources through persuasive and informative directives and briefings.
37. Detect and prevent fraudulent or altered visa and passport documentation.
38. Explain U.S. policy objectives to government officials, members of organizations, and private sector representatives (e.g., clarify misunderstandings, identify relevant policy, attempt to influence, etc.).
39. Provide information on U.S. Government economic policy positions to other U.S. agencies and/or representatives from country of interest.
40. Coordinate press activities for VIP visits (e.g., determine type of press event, contact media representatives, draft press releases, etc.).
41. Recruit candidates for U.S. government cultural and educational exchange programs.
42. Communicate with the Department of State or other agencies to resolve interagency policy differences and coordinate positions on particular topics and issues.
43. Analyze and report on political developments in the host country (e.g., outcomes of political events, demonstrations, pending legislation, etc.).
44. Evaluate the ability of the U.S. Government to influence economic events in the country of interest (e.g., country’s dependence on U.S. goods and services, alternative sources, etc.).
45. Analyze developments in region of interest that may influence activities such as refugee and immigration flows, visa adjudication, increases in crime, etc.
46. Provide for the well-being of employees and families, through management of housing programs, oversight of medical and community services, and emergency and crisis management planning.
47. Pursue innovations and process improvements to improve the quality and reduce the costs of operations.
48. Approve or deny visas after reviewing applications, conducting application interviews, and verifying information presented.
49. Develop extensive reports on economic trends, compliance with multilateral agreements, and so on.
50. Generate opportunities to promote U.S. views and respond to foreign and domestic media inquiries.

Interpreting the Rating Scale

The rating scale is designed to indicate how well your general interest matches the work activities of each career track.

Score Rating
81 – 100 Excellent Match: You have the highest level of interest in this career track.
61 – 80 Good Match: You have significant interest in this career track.
41 – 60 Fair Match: You have some interest in this career track.
20 – 40 Marginal Match: You have little interest in this career track.