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How to become a Diplomat

by Minoas Vitalis
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Becoming a UK diplomat is not as easy as one might think. There are various steps that need to be followed in order to even be considered for the job. In this article, we will outline the process and provide some tips on how to make yourself the best possible candidate.

What do diplomats do?

The work of diplomats has been described as representing their governments abroad in order to promote and protect their interests. Another way to think about what diplomats do is that they engage in international relations on behalf of their governments.

What does this mean in practice? Diplomats represent their governments in foreign countries. They work to promote their country’s interests and to protect its citizens abroad. They also work to resolve international disputes.

In order to do all of this, diplomats must have a deep understanding of the history, culture, politics, and economics of the countries where they are posted. They must be excellent communicators and have the ability to build relationships with people from other countries.

Examples of day-to day tasks

As a diplomat, your day-to-day tasks will vary depending on your posting. If you’re posted to an embassy, you’ll spend most of your time meeting with officials from the host country, representing your country at various events, and working on reports. If you’re posted to a consulate, you’ll primarily focus on issuing visas and helping citizens of your country who are travelling abroad. In addition,  all diplomats spend a significant amount of time researching the countries they are posted to, in order to stay up-to-date on current events and better understand the culture.

No matter what your posting, though, some of your day-to-day tasks will always include:

  • Attending meetings: Diplomats are constantly meeting with officials from other countries, whether it’s to negotiate deals, discuss global issues, or simply build relationships.
  • Writing reports: Diplomats are expected to write detailed reports on their meetings and observations, which are then used to inform decision-makers back home.
  • Giving speeches: As a diplomat, you’ll be called on to give speeches at various events, both to represent your country and to promote your country’s policies.
  • Doing paperwork: Like any other job, being a diplomat means dealing with a lot of paperwork. This can include everything from filing visa applications to writing diplomatic cables.

No matter where you’re posted, you’ll need to be able to speak fluently in at least one foreign language.

What skills do you need to become a diplomat?

If you are interested in becoming a diplomat, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of being successful.

  1. Get a good education. A degree in international relations or political science will give you the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in this field. Of course, a degree in political science is not required but will give you an advantage.
  2. Learn a foreign language. Diplomats must be able to communicate with people from other countries, and being able to speak a foreign language will make this task much easier. You usually need to speak the language of the  country you will be posted in, but if you can speak multiple languages, that is even better.
  3. Gain some work experience. You can volunteer with organisations that engage in international work, or you can intern at an embassy or consulate. This will give you valuable experience and help you to build the necessary skills for a career as a diplomat.
  4. Pursue a graduate degree: Getting a master’s degree in international relations or another related field can also help you to be more successful in this field. A graduate degree will give you advanced skills and knowledge that will be helpful in your career.

The skills you need vary  depending on the country you want to work in. However, some skills are universal and will help you to be successful no matter where you are posted. These skills include:

  • Excellent communication skills: You need to be able to communicate effectively with people from other countries. This includes being able to speak a foreign language, as well as being able to write well.
  • Critical thinking skills: You need to be able to analyse information and make decisions quickly. This is important in times of crisis, when you may need to make decisions that could have serious consequences.
  • Intercultural skills: You need to be able to work with people from other cultures and backgrounds. This includes understanding and respecting different cultures, as well as being able to build relationships with people from other countries.

Becoming a diplomat is a challenging but rewarding career. Those who are successful in this field are passionate about promoting their country’s interests and engaging in international relations. If you have the necessary skills and qualifications, pursue this career and make a difference in the world.

What are the steps to becoming a British diplomat?

The process of becoming a diplomat is not an easy one, but it is possible to achieve

if you follow the right steps.  Here is a guide on how to become a British diplomat:

  1. Join the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)

The first step to becoming a diplomat is to join the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). You can do this by applying for a role within the organisation. Two of the most common entry routes are the Diplomatic and Development Civil Service Fast Stream and a direct application, depending on your skills and experience, if you’re already a Civil Servant.

  1. Serve in a diplomatic posting

After your admission to the Diplomatic Service,  you will be ready to serve in a diplomatic posting or policy role. This could be in the United Kingdom or anywhere in the world, so be prepared to travel.

  1. Advance your career

Once you have served in a diplomatic posting, you can start to advance your career by taking on more responsibility or moving to a more senior position.

Becoming a diplomat is not an easy process, but it is possible to achieve if you follow the right steps. By joining the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, you will be on your way to a successful career as a diplomat.

What are the working conditions?

The working conditions of a diplomat can be extremely varied, depending on their posting. In some cases, they may be posted to an embassy in a large city, where they will have access to all the amenities that the city has to offer. In other cases, they may be posted to a smaller town or even a rural area, where they will have to make do with what is available. Diplomats posted in war-torn countries or those with unstable governments may have to work in difficult and dangerous conditions. On the other hand, diplomats posted to more stable countries may have better working conditions.

However, no matter where they are posted, diplomats always have to be prepared for the possibility of being called upon to represent their country at a moment’s notice. This means that they often have to work long hours, and may not have much time for a personal life.

General eligibility requirements

In order to be eligible for the role of diplomat, there are a few requirements that you will need to meet. Firstly, you must be a British citizen or have a dual nationality. Secondly, you will need to have achieved at least a 2:2 in your undergraduate degree from a recognised university. Existing civil servants, though, can apply without a degree. Thirdly, you will need to have resided in the UK for at least 5 of the previous 10 years including at least 12 continuous months. Finally, you will need to pass a security clearance.

If you meet all of these requirements, then you may be eligible for the role of diplomat. However, it is important to note that competition for this role is extremely high, and only the most qualified candidates will be successful.


Becoming a diplomat takes years of hard work and dedication. It’s not an easy job, but it is one that can be immensely rewarding. As with anything in life, there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of becoming a diplomat. We’ve outlined some of the most important ones in this article. Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to a career in diplomacy.