How to become a diplomat in the country

Diplomat

How do I become a diplomat?

also known as ambassador

As a diplomat, you represent the interests of a country in front of international bodies and organizations such as the UN or OSCE. You try to implement both country-specific and global concerns in cooperation with people all over the world. As a representative of a country, you take part in international meetings, delegations or conferences. Your job is to establish contacts around the world and to maintain relationships with the country that sends you. In addition to activities abroad, e.g. as an ambassador, there are also employment opportunities in Germany at the Foreign Office or the Foreign Ministry. The range of topics in your work is extremely diverse - from education and science to trade relations to securing human rights, depending on which committees and delegations you are sent to. In your area of ​​responsibility you are responsible for the planning and organization of missions abroad, regular reporting on the (political) situation in your host country, foreign affairs and consular activities on site. This also means, among other things, that you are the contact person for nationals abroad, for example for VISA matters or in emergencies. Throughout their careers, diplomats have worked in different locations and in different fields.

Characteristics

Required degrees


University / technical college

Recommended training


Political science, law, transcultural communication, technical or economic studies

Important school subjects


other foreign languages, history, social studies, economics and law, German, English

Starting salary as a diplomat


€ 2.780 – 3.416

Important skills as a diplomat

A basic requirement for working as a diplomat is the citizenship of the respective country for which you work. Foreign language skills are also compulsory. English and French are standard requirements, if you speak (one) other language (s) - especially the official languages ​​of the UN, i.e. Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish - this is a great advantage. At the very least, you should be interested in learning (one) more. You also have to be prepared to be in one place for an average of only four years and to be deployed both domestically and in many different other countries over the course of your career. For this, you are expected to have a high degree of flexibility, psychological stability and intercultural (communication) competence on the one hand. The broadest possible interest and the necessary portion of curiosity will help you to find your way in new countries and cultural areas again and again. In diplomacy you also have a high level of political responsibility. You must therefore always stay up to date on political developments and also report regularly. As the official representative of a state, good demeanor, negotiating skills and discretion have top priority.

Important hard skills

International experience

Important soft skills

Expressiveness, both spoken and written, authenticity, perseverance, resilience, discretion, intercultural skills, good contact, language skills, strategic thinking

How do I become a diplomat?

The basic requirements for training as a diplomat include a bachelor's and master's degree. Many diplomats have degrees in political science, law, history, sociology, communications, or economics. After completing your studies, you can apply for the legally regulated selection process of the Federal Foreign Office or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In Germany, an online test - the prescreening - takes place before the actual procedure. If you also pass the next levels of the entrance exam and the extensive written and oral test, a committee will decide on your admission to the higher service. After starting work, the two-year basic training (Austria) or preparatory service (Germany) follows. During this time you will receive intensive training in areas such as legal and consular affairs, international law and international politics. You will also complete stays abroad. You start as a candidate and as you gain experience in the service you can reach higher ranks, e.g. if you work as an ambassador.

Advanced training and specializations

As a diplomat, you will be employed in various specialist areas in the course of your career. A specialization on a single one is therefore not provided. Ultimately, however, you will develop extensive expertise in several areas through your professional experience. In addition, you will take advantage of further training measures if you are appointed to a new position and hold a new position. Because you have to familiarize yourself intensively with each new area of ​​responsibility in order to be able to take responsibility for important decisions on an international level. You also have opportunities to advance in this profession, for example to become an ambassador.

Future prospects as a diplomat

As a diplomat you are a civil servant and therefore your employer is the state. In this employment relationship you have a high degree of security and predictability. For one thing, you cannot simply be terminated. Dismissal against your will is only possible in serious cases, and disciplinary proceedings must be initiated for this purpose. In principle, you can assume that you will be employed at the Federal Foreign Office for life. However, your options for planning far ahead are limited to the extent that you have to reckon with being transferred to another place in the world on average every three to four years. The legal regulation of your salary offers you further financial security. Depending on your rank, marital status and place of employment as well as your professional experience, you fall into a certain salary group, which guarantees you the amount of your income. In general, diplomacy will continue to play an important role in the future - in the course of globalization and the increasing interdependence of international relations.