APPLICATION PROCESS

The application submission timeframe for cohort seven (Class of 2021) was October 15-23, 2020, and is currently closed. Each position’s job announcement link was deactivated 1-2 days early because the Department received the maximum of 250 applications. 

To apply for the next cohort, veterans must have the following information ready for when job announcements links go live on USAJobs:

  • A current two page resume.  Use your resume to highlight your education, expertise, achievements and honors, extracurricular activities/community service, language skills, and any leadership experience.  The resume should not exceed two pages.  Selection criteria includes: outstanding leadership and life experiences, as well as demonstrated excellence in academic, cross-cultural, and communication skills.  Please provide the most comprehensive assessment of your skills, leadership qualities and achievements in a limited and to-the-point format when applying.
  • A cover letter not to exceed 450 words.  In your cover letter, please include your areas of focus (i.e. economics, regional affairs, technology) and indicate your job position preference as Foreign Affairs Officer and/or Program Analyst.  This program is highly competitive due to the limited spaces available, therefore we suggest taking this opportunity to discuss your experience and background in more detail, while also indicating your openness, interests and aspirations.  On USAJobs.gov this is shown as optional, however consider this as a requirement.
  • Declaration of Graduate Degree Grade Point Average (GPA).  An official transcript verification may be required at a later time. Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order to be credited towards qualifications. If you are scheduled to finish a Master’s Degree by the projected start date, but have not yet graduated the program, provide a Certified Letter of your current GPA with important dates (i.e., date of course completion and graduation), signed by a senior official or formal registrar in student records.
  • All latest educational transcripts.  It is recommended to include any available transcripts from your current and/or past educational degrees.  It is preferred to have official documents, but unofficial copies will be accepted.  Please merge all documents into one for uploading as a PDF, and use a descending order, allowing for highest education to be seen first.  All transcripts should be in English or English translation.  Official transcripts may be required at a later date.
  • A DD-214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from the United States Armed Forces.  This program is for U.S. Veterans and Transitioning Military only, therefore this document must be included (and/or a DD-215, if applicable).  If you do not yet have a DD-214, but are scheduled for discharge by the projected program start date, please provide a Certified Letter with a Statement of Credible Service including important dates (i.e., scheduled end date of service).

If applicable, education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States.  It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying.

If applicable, provide your Veterans Affairs (VA) Service Connected Disability Rating Letter.  This alerts the U.S. Department of State that the VA has declared you eligible for veteran’s compensation and benefits, to include Veterans Employment Preference at a Federal institution, such as Noncompetitive Eligibility (NCE), 30% or More Disabled, and Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA).

If applicable, your United States Armed Forces Reserves or National Guard official member documentation (i.e., Verification of Military Status).  Active reservists and guard members are eligible to apply provided they have two years of time in service.  Please confirm your assigned duty station and military point of contact, for confirmation as necessary.

2020 Job Announcement Links

2019 Job Announcements Links:

More About the Process

Important items of note:

  • Applications are accepted during certain time frames of the year and any received outside of these dates will not be eligible for consideration.
  • By applying for cohort seven; Class of 2021, an applicant can anticipate on boarding to occur as early as January, 2021, however this is subject to individual situations. A security clearance most commonly takes between 2-3 months to be adjudicated and in some cases, it has taken up to 6 months or more.
  • Be prepared to check-in monthly by emailing VIPFellowship@state.gov to show you are still interested in the position and then, wait patiently for the ‘clearance was granted’ and tentative offer letter with potential start dates notification from program managers.
  • After being selected into the program, each VIP Fellow receives a Temporary Appointment (TA) for one year as a Civil Service (CS) Full Time Employee (FTE) assigned to the Washington DC Metro Area, which lasts for 365 days from their individual start date. Fellows often arrive on a rolling basis and complete orientation separately.
  • It is not standard operating procedure for the U.S. Department of State to send status updates outside the USAJobs.gov system alerts. As a next step after applying, please be on guard for direct phone call and/or email interview requests by potential host offices.
  • The timeline as described above and below is subject to change due to delays necessitated by COVID-19 pandemic precautions. We ask that all veterans remain patient and flexible regarding communications.

What happens next?

  • Within 4-6 weeks of applying, select veteran applicants will receive a direct phone call and/or email from an interested U.S. Department of State host office to schedule a one on one interview. At this point, the USAJobs.gov application status will also change to ‘referred’ if a veteran has passed basic qualifications.
  • If an applicant is missing any information, an email will be sent to collect it as soon as possible for completing submission requirements. Disregarding these messages may result in disqualification from cohort programming.
  • A veteran who is selected will receive a ‘temporary appointment letter’ requesting confirmation of acceptance. Upon receipt, human resources will formally initiate the Diplomatic Security clearance process.  An offer may be sent one or more times depending on how many offices made the request.
  • Applicants may have a choice of host office and some may only receive one offer. This depends upon the matching process after all initial interviews are conducted.
  • Those who do not receive a direct phone call and/or email notification requesting an interview within approximately 6-8 weeks will remain on standby as matches are made and vacancies are filled. These individuals are unlikely to receive a tentative offer letter as well.
  • The entire pool of applicants will remain open and available for interviewing and/or matching to fill vacancies until the end of the year, in case a spot becomes available later. The USAJobs.gov status will not change until this time has passed, all vacancies are filled and the security clearance process has begun for all individuals selected.
  • Once the application is formally closed, the USAJobs.gov system will send an alert regarding a change in status. This serves as a regrets letter and may not occur until January, 2021 or later.
  • Details on start date logistics, ‘reports to’ information, access and credentials, and new employee orientation (virtual or in person) will be provided after security clearance adjudication and as a part of the final offer letter attachment. At this point, Fellows will be assigned a “sponsor” to assist with welcoming and on boarding and will receive a direct email message prior to starting for introductions and coordination.

Any other questions about this process may be sent to:  VIPFellowship@state.gov.

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