How to become a Diplomat



estimated salary
What do they do?

Diplomacy: The art of letting someone else get your own way…

Foreign Office Diplomats are appointed members of state, who help protect and promote a nation’s interests abroad.

Working as part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the majority of Diplomats are posted to work overseas, and can often be found with a nation’s embassies abroad, playing an incredibly important role in maintaining their international relations.

Typical responsibilities for a Diplomat may include:

  • Reporting information which may affect national interests
  • Responding to diplomatic requests and responding on behalf of their home government
  • Implementing foreign policy changes
  • Updating travel advice and information
  • Overseeing embassy staff and managing their performance
  • Dealing with members of the public, and answering any questions they may have
Is it right for me?

Aside from diplomacy (see: the name), a passion for foreign affairs and a love of travel are absolutely vital attributes for anyone looking to become a Diplomat.

However, it is a common misconception that fluency in other languages are considered pre-requisites. You may be working away from your home country and home comforts for a period of three of four years, but although having prior knowledge of a language may help, it is by no means essential.

Other key skills for a Diplomat include:

    • Excellent negotiation skills
    • Interpersonal and communication skills
    • Initiative
    • Flexibility
    • An analytical approach to your work
    • Did we mention diplomacy?
Career Progression?

Administrative Officer

Up to 20,000

Fast Stream entrant

Up to 25,000

Diplomatic Services Operational Officer

Up to 50,000

What's it really like?

I became a Diplomat through the Civil Service Fast Stream programme, which is essentially the main entry point into the FCO. That was about three years’ ago. I've worked predominantly in Europe, although I could be posted anywhere around the world as part of my role, which is one of the things I love most. It’s not all champagne and Ferrero Rocher though. The hours can be long, and the work can be stressful. But getting to represent and protect our national interests, not to mention rub shoulders with some of the planet’s most powerful people? You can’t beat it.

Get qualified

You will need a degree in order to become a Diplomat. However, this can generally be in any discipline, although you will need to be a British citizen, and pass a series of exams to qualify to represent the UK as a Diplomat.

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