Continued from yesterday ...
But you've done nothing but visas for three years. How will you show what you can do out in the world of grownup FSOs?
Let's count up a few possibilities:
- You interviewed an average of X visa applicants per day for Y days, with patience, courtesy, and efficiency, never losing sight of the importance of your work.
- During six months in ACS you met with police, immigration and local officials, speaking The Language exclusively during all these encounters.
- You were an integral part of a team (not "led the team" unless you did) of officers and local employees.
- You referred Z cases for investigation. Q percent of those proved to actually be fraudulent, a higher percentage than any other officer's.
- You tweaked the appointment system to save every visa applicant at least 30 minutes at the embassy.
- You handled the case of an American citizen's suicide with sensitivity and tact. The family wrote a letter to the Ambassador thanking you by name.
- You rearranged the intake/221g/reapplication process to save time by reducing the passing of paperwork back and forth from four times to two.
- You faced every crowd every day with energy and professionalism, knowing that you represented the US to these people, and were in a large part responsible for their opinion of your country.
- You knew that consular work, for all its stress, repetitiveness, and apparent lack of direct relationship to that senior political counselor job you covet, was an essential part of your apprenticeship, and you welcomed the rigor, the discipline and the challenge as well as the reward of knowing you did your job well.
- Add specific, personalized, true details as you can. Find a balance between clarity and modesty, and stick to it.
- Remember that the quiet girl with whom you share a cubicle could be Bill and Hillary's niece who just wants to be loved for herself but will remember every Hillary joke she heard, and who told it.
- As in a resume', if you find yourself writing lots of "I" sentences, go back and edit for the "understood I": drop the "I" and start the sentence with an action verb. Such as, solved the long-standing case of a missing American; worked with PD to introduce the I-160 through press releases and TV spots; was an integral part of the NIV team that processed the most NIVs in 2009 with the fewest system rejections ... you get the idea. And you can probably write them to make them more catchy and compelling.
For the diehards who still dare to scoff at the work they have done for the past few years, final advice: shut up about that, and get a clue. Did you really miss the entire point of your baptism by fire?
Remember, you don't know which office director, which DAS, which COM is a consular-coned officer, or just loved his own baptism by fire in Addis or Manila, remembers it with delight, and will be permanently put off by any hint of a sneer.
And remember that word gets around. A second tour officer who shows that she thinks she is too good for the visa line will be remembered by those she least wants to be remembered by, probably permanently.
Now go forth and conquer the world.