As described on the State Department's website, the application has two parts:
- an Application Form in which you convey factual background information including school and work history; and
- a Personal Narrative in which you answer questions describing the knowledge, skills, and abilities you would bring to the Foreign Service.
What that simple little summary fails to mention is that you have to list all jobs you've had over the past ten years. Ten years. And the 'Personal Narrative' comes in the form of six different essays. I've applied to state bars with less hoopla.
I would be inclined to just rush through this, but starting in 2007 the Foreign Service began using this application as another measure in deciding whether to invite a prospective candidate to the oral assessment stage of the application process. It's best to take this as seriously as possible, and make this a great looking application.
I read somewhere that the application is supposed to take 3 hours. I expect it will take me more like 30. Luckily, I plan to take the test in November, so I imagine I will be ready to register by mid-July.