Not long ago, the Department formulated a list of the qualities it looks for in FSO candidates. No harm is done by an occasional review of this list by those who have succeeded in joining the service, and so Madam presents it here for your thoughtful consideration.
If Madam had to choose a personal favorite, it would have to be "Judgment," which she suspects falls in mid-group simply because the list is in alphabetical order. But no favorite you might choose can possibly be wrong. Enjoy. And let's always remember: this is why they hired us; it's what they pay us for.
• Composure. To stay calm, poised, and effective in stressful or difficult situations; to think on one's feet, adjusting quickly to changing situations; to maintain self-control.
• Cultural Adaptability. To work and communicate effectively and harmoniously with persons of other cultures, value systems, political beliefs, and economic circumstances; to recognize and respect differences in new and different cultural environments.
• Experience and Motivation. To demonstrate knowledge, skills or other attributes gained from previous experience of relevance to the Foreign Service; to articulate appropriate motivation for joining the Foreign Service.
• Information Integration and Analysis. To absorb and retain complex information drawn from a variety of sources; to draw reasoned conclusions from analysis and synthesis of available information; to evaluate the importance, reliability, and usefulness of information; to remember details of a meeting or event without the benefit of notes.
• Initiative and Leadership. To recognize and assume responsibility for work that needs to be done; to persist in the completion of a task; to influence significantly a group’s activity, direction, or opinion; to motivate others to participate in the activity one is leading.
• Judgment. To discern what is appropriate, practical, and realistic in a given situation; to weigh relative merits of competing demands.
• Objectivity and Integrity. To be fair and honest; to avoid deceit, favoritism, and discrimination; to present issues frankly and fully, without injecting subjective bias; to work without letting personal bias prejudice actions.
• Oral Communication. To speak fluently in a concise, grammatically correct, organized, precise, and persuasive manner; to convey nuances of meaning accurately; to use appropriate styles of communication to fit the audience and purpose.
• Planning and Organizing. To prioritize and order tasks effectively, to employ a systematic approach to achieving objectives, to make appropriate use of limited resources.
• Quantitative Analysis. To identify, compile, analyze, and draw correct conclusions from pertinent data; to recognize patterns or trends in numerical data; to perform simple mathematical operations.
• Resourcefulness. To formulate creative alternatives or solutions to resolve problems, to show flexibility in response to unanticipated circumstances.
• Working With Others. To interact in a constructive, cooperative, and harmonious manner; to work effectively as a team player; to establish positive relationships and gain the confidence of others; to use humor as appropriate.
• Written Communication. To write concise, well organized, grammatically correct, effective and persuasive English in a limited amount of time.