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Department of State

The Department of State's mission is "Advance freedom for the benefit of the American people and the international community by helping to build and sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world composed of well-governed states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce widespread poverty, and act responsibly within the international system."
--From the FY 2009 Agency Financial Report, released December 2009

Perhaps you are working for the DOS or interested in working for the DOS. Here is a forum to share your experience with the DOS.

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Varianz  
#61 Posted : Friday, January 9, 2015 9:00:05 AM(UTC)
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I applied to Portsmouth and a few other locations throughout the Northeast. Fingers crossed. I'm hoping that the Recent Grads/Limited to 200 apps combination gives me a decent shot.
Kiernyc  
#62 Posted : Friday, January 9, 2015 9:08:58 AM(UTC)
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Yeah, maybe they can actually look at more of them instead of having a dumb computer throw out people who didn't claim they were masters in everything (recent grad, how could they be anyway...)
Varianz  
#63 Posted : Friday, January 9, 2015 9:20:11 AM(UTC)
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We'll see! I'm hoping there's a relatively quick turnaround, considering that there would be a very long wait for Secret clearence to come through if offered.
Grad09  
#64 Posted : Friday, January 9, 2015 9:25:29 AM(UTC)
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I applied too, but I never heard anything when I applied to the same position back in October. Good luck everyone!
fed2b  
#65 Posted : Saturday, January 10, 2015 5:50:41 AM(UTC)
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I also applied to few locations....keeping my fingers crossed because applying to fed jobs can be so soul-sucking sometimes lol.
Formerdi  
#66 Posted : Friday, January 30, 2015 9:36:06 AM(UTC)

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Your milage may vary, but a bunch of people told me that the skill set you develop as a passport specialist is simply not valued that much in the foreign service.

I thought that just having my foot in the door would be a great first step and help me eventually get over to the foreign service, but people warned me over and over again that there is no real value of having your foot in the door unless you are on the policy making side. They mentioned that the program to transfer over to the foreign service from the civil service (mustang) was an absolute joke - with only a handful of people converting every year and none of them coming from passport specialist or other administrative roles.

What you don't understand about the DoS CS is: Anyone who told you what you posted is obviously in the Foreign service and has never worked the civil side.
The skill sets you develop as a PPT SPC are indeed valued on the FS side. PPT SPC learn and apply all about Fraud, Diplomacy, issing Visa'a, passports, Federal, State, International law, detecting fraudulent documents, etc;. They are the ones who bring that experience to overseas embassies and consulates.

One reason civil service stay where they are at is due to promotional/postion opportunity. the FS is very competitive and political, land in an area/position which you are not 'liked'and your career could be short lived.

No, I'm not a Passport Specialist, I oversee their daily operations. I work with Civil and FS folks daily.

If you need or have further questions, feel free to PM me..

Good Luck!
Formerdi, U.S.Army(Ret) <br /><br />
someoldguy  
#67 Posted : Friday, January 30, 2015 10:49:52 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Formerdi Go to Quoted Post
One reason civil service stay where they are at is due to promotional/postion opportunity. the FS is very competitive and political, land in an area/position which you are not 'liked'and your career could be short lived


The other thing about the Foreign Service is that first word... "Foreign." Some GS folks do one or two tours overseas but choose not to convert because they don't want to keep moving around the world. Not that there aren't FSOs who don't homestead in DC, but that usually only works toward the end of your career, not when you are first starting out as a junior officer or "JO" (though I think they have a new term for that now).

I also met a guy who didn't want to convert because all his seniority in the Civil Service wouldn't transfer to the FS track. Not sure what he meant...

Question for Formerdi: If you go from Civil Service to Foreign Service Specialist (not Generalist), is that also considered the "Mustang" program? I think if you want to become a GSO or an HRO or some other kind of "Specialist" it is not so hard to convert.

Edited by user Friday, January 30, 2015 10:52:29 AM(UTC)  | Reason: clean up grammar, typos, fluff

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someoldguy  
#68 Posted : Saturday, April 11, 2015 6:43:38 AM(UTC)
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I see a new posting for a Passport Specialist position. The good news? It says "Many Vacancies." The bad news? It is listed as a GS-5/7 (maybe you can get the seven). Why is that so bad? It's in New York City, probably at the federal building downtown. Yow.

Oh yeah and it is also only open to status candidates.

I suppose if you can handle living or near downtown New York as a GS-5 it's a good opportunity. Within a few years you should be a GS-11. But it must be tough to make ends meet even at that grade in The Big Apple-- GS-11 Step 1 is about $66K which can't go too far in that region (don't forget your city and state taxes which are not trivial).

Maybe that's why there are "many vacancies."
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ISO121  
#69 Posted : Tuesday, May 26, 2015 3:42:37 PM(UTC)
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Has anyone received any updates on Passport Specialist vacancy in Houston?
HuskerFan84  
#70 Posted : Saturday, June 6, 2015 3:51:11 PM(UTC)

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Hello Everybody,

I am new to this forum and the information has been helpful. A little information about myself, I am a former Peace Corps Volunteer and I have a couple certificates in Immigration Law, and I am now working on my Master's Degree in Public Administration. I also have experience working with Passports and Visas with the TSA. I applied to the HRSC/PATH-2015-0037 Student Trainee (Passport) IEP on May 19. Is there any information on the hiring process?
HuskerFan84  
#71 Posted : Tuesday, June 9, 2015 6:55:16 AM(UTC)

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I saw that I was not eligible for GS-7, still hoping for GS-4 or 5.
someoldguy  
#72 Posted : Wednesday, July 1, 2015 2:29:03 PM(UTC)
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I see there's another one of these student trainee announcements for Charleston SC. Probably a better-than-average shot to get hired as I think that is a larger passport center than most. Plus Charleston is some kind of regional State Dept support site so there are likely to be other positions there.

Just looked at the posting (I originally saw an alert on my phone) and this is for a JOB FAIR HIRING EVENT in Charleston. BUT it also says there are 60 vacancies!!! Oh yeah and it is the night shift...

Edited by user Wednesday, July 1, 2015 3:05:08 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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GWPDA  
#73 Posted : Wednesday, July 1, 2015 2:33:09 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: HuskerFan84 Go to Quoted Post
Hello Everybody,

I am new to this forum and the information has been helpful. A little information about myself, I am a former Peace Corps Volunteer and I have a couple certificates in Immigration Law, and I am now working on my Master's Degree in Public Administration. I also have experience working with Passports and Visas with the TSA. I applied to the HRSC/PATH-2015-0037 Student Trainee (Passport) IEP on May 19. Is there any information on the hiring process?


You do know that as a former Peace Corps volunteer you have hiring priority, right? It's not just for veterans....
HuskerFan84  
#74 Posted : Wednesday, July 1, 2015 4:04:28 PM(UTC)

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Yeah, my eligibility expired in 2014. They only give a year.
someoldguy  
#75 Posted : Wednesday, July 1, 2015 4:39:57 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: HuskerFan84 Go to Quoted Post
Yeah, my eligibility expired in 2014. They only give a year.


I think it still looks good on an application, particularly for Foreign Service.
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someoldguy  
#76 Posted : Friday, December 4, 2015 4:51:22 AM(UTC)
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Just saw an announcement for Passport Specialist. That happens all the time, but this one was a little different: GS-11 opening at the National Passport Center in Portsmouth NH (not too far from Boston). Also, there are 20 openings.

I found this interesting for a few reasons. For one thing, it is only open to current State employees, and you have to have one year of experience at the GS-9 level. So why would somebody who is already a passport specialist someplace else, who already has promotion potential to GS-11, want to take this job? Also, there are TWENTY OPENINGS!!! Are they expecting a surge of passport applications? There was a big surge a few years ago when they started requiring passports to go to Mexico and Canada, maybe those are starting to expire.

I downloaded some files from Fedscope, will have to look and see what the overall staffing profile is for New Hampshire (it is listed by state, but I don't think State Dept has any other facilities in NH). Maybe there are better opportunities to go past GS-11 there. But still, this one was a little out of the ordinary for passport specialist announcements that I have seen.

---
Just looked at the announcement again and it says MANY openings. Not sure where I got the number 20, or maybe they changed it. Anyway, they are still looking for a lot of current State Dept folks to move to the greater Boston area. Guess they want people who are already cleared and ready to start right away?

Edited by user Friday, December 4, 2015 8:01:18 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Updated to correct the number of openings

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daddythedonkey  
#77 Posted : Thursday, June 7, 2018 7:05:55 AM(UTC)
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Up until 5 years ago or so I used to see postings for passport specialist regularly. Since then, almost never. And when I do see them now, it seems like it's always a recent grad thing. Anyone know what the deal with the passport specialist position is these days? Are they not hiring anyone or just looking for recent grads? And if so, why?
ringslider  
#78 Posted : Thursday, June 7, 2018 7:11:59 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: daddythedonkey Go to Quoted Post
Up until 5 years ago or so I used to see postings for passport specialist regularly. Since then, almost never. And when I do see them now, it seems like it's always a recent grad thing. Anyone know what the deal with the passport specialist position is these days? Are they not hiring anyone or just looking for recent grads? And if so, why?



My wife works as a passport specialist. To them as long a you have an BA or working towards one they don't really care. Is about attitude and attention to detail.

When she went to the hiring event there was a guy that had 2 BAs, 3 MAs and working on a PhD, but had zero work experience nor veteran status. He thoight he could just get by with education, he was gone within the first week.

If you are a veteran and working towards a degree you have better chances to get hired.
dippydog21  
#79 Posted : Thursday, June 7, 2018 9:56:59 AM(UTC)
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Two words: Donald Trump

Once Trump took office, he stopped external hiring for the Dept of State. They mostly just do internal hiring now.
daddythedonkey  
#80 Posted : Thursday, June 7, 2018 12:39:32 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: dippydog21 Go to Quoted Post
Two words: Donald Trump

Once Trump took office, he stopped external hiring for the Dept of State. They mostly just do internal hiring now.


I know DOS hiring in general has been affected by Trump. But the lack of passport specialist postings started years before he even declared his candidacy. And it still doesn't explain why the occasional postings are always for recent grads.
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