Identify your skills and employment goals:
- Take a fresh look at your skill set and work with your Global Employment Advisor to develop an employment strategy.
- Start setting goals for future employment options. What do you need to do now (e.g. professional development, obtain new skills, update certifications) for future employment in the U.S. and/or at your next overseas assignment?
- What is your plan A, B and C? What skills do you need to focus on while in the U.S. to make you more marketable in the future?
Conduct pre-departure research:
- Begin searching for job opportunities before you leave post.
- Visit the Family Member Employment page for employment resources.
- Watch FLO’s employment webinars. They cover topics such as qualifying on paper and understanding the federal job application process.
Sign up to receive The Network job postings:
- The Network is an email subscription service designed to connect family members with federal hiring managers and private sector employers.
- To subscribe to The Network, send an email with your personal email address and employee sponsor’s name and agency affiliation to FLONetwork@state.gov.
Prepare for your job search:
- Before leaving post, identify your post (e.g. CLO and HRO), bureau, and former employment contacts. Reach out to them when you begin your job search.
- Contact your regional Global Employment Advisors (GEAs) who can provide private sector and federal employment resume support and guidance.
- Print off copies of all of your employment documents from your electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF) on HR Online before you leave your position, if working at an embassy or consulate.
- EFMs not employed directly by the Mission, should ensure that they obtain copies of relevant documents related to their position. Some examples are: performance reviews, employment contract, references, and the equivalent of an SF-50 showing length of employment. These documents will be helpful when applying for another position and may be difficult to obtain after departing post.
- Consider using social media such as LinkedIn to expand your network and job opportunities.
- Explore private sector contractors and non-government organizations to broaden your employment options.
Learn about non-competitive eligibility (NCE) and the federal hiring process:
- NCE is a special hiring authority through which Appointment Eligible Family Members (AEFMs) can be appointed to federal positions without competing with the general public.
- FLO’s NCE webpage contains information about eligibility, regulations, and the NCE Registry.
- Ensure that you have the necessary documents for verifying your NCE: personnel actions (first and last SF-50s), the most recent EPR (Employee Performance Report, JF-57) and NCE verification letter from HR.
The federal hiring process is markedly different from private sector hiring due to the many laws, executive orders, and regulations that govern federal employment. Applying for federal positions is very competitive, and it is essential for the applicant to demonstrate their eligibility and qualifications. Following are a few of the resources available for learning about the federal hiring process and employment in the Civil Service.
Preparing for Federal Employment
- Understand the basics about the Civil Service: and .
- Develop a federal resume and seek the help of your Global Employment Advisor. Overseas DOS direct hire employees and his/her EFM spouses or partner are also eligible to use the Career Development Resource Center.
- Gather necessary documents such as: Notification of Personnel Actions (SF 50), Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD-214 in order to demonstrate veteran’s preference), federal resume, transcripts, etc.
- Subscribe to The Network, FLO’s email subscription service for Foreign Service family members seeking employment in the Washington DC area.
- Create a profile on .
Determining If You Have Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE)
Family members seeking federal employment should first determine if they earned non-competitive eligibility (NCE) while working at a U.S. Mission overseas. Executive Order 12721 enables certain eligible family members (EFMs) to be appointed non-competitively to a position in the competitive service once they return to the United States.
Applying for Federal Employment
Most, but not all, federal agencies post their job vacancies on so it is essential that individuals applying for federal employment understand the process and follow the instructions that are provided in the vacancy announcement. Most Civil Service positions are in the competitive service, but read the vacancy announcement carefully as some advertised positions might be for a limited time appointment in the excepted service or might be a temporary or term appointments. Jobs advertised on The Network can also be any of the aforementioned appointments types.
- The Civil Service Hiring Process and
- Jobs Available at the U.S. Department of State
- Most importantly, ensure that you submit all the required documents at the time of application. Incomplete applications will not be referred to a hiring specialist.
- If you are hired into a federal appointment, be sure to carefully review your offer with the HR specialist. In some cases, Highest Previous Rate (HPR) and Superior Qualification Rate (SQR) can apply.
The Family Liaison Office (FLO) resources do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any particular organizations by FLO or the Department of State.
- Email FLO for Federal Contractors List
- FLO’s Working on the Local Economy Resources
- State and local government websites
- Training and Workshop Opportunities, including those at the Transition Center, for Foreign Service family members
- Adult Education Programs
Job Fair Websites