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AO Officer to Third Secretary

  • 09-02-2012 1:33pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 12 ✭✭✭ josephotoole91


    Hi everyone

    Currently applying for an AO position (legal) in the Civil Service. The job looks really interesting. However my ultimate goal would be to become a Third Secretary at DFA. Just wondering what the level of mobility between different departments at the same grade is?

    Thanks


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 30 ✭✭✭ westham_irish


    Have you heard anything back for that civil service position other than the email to complete the questionnaire?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 12 ✭✭✭ josephotoole91


    No just the questionnaire test thing. From what I hear it's a fairly slow moving process.


  • Registered Users Posts: 38 datura


    As far as I know you can't move from AO to Third Secretary - although they're the same level DFA recruits Third Secretaries separately. You could move to DFA as an AO but you still wouldn't be in the diplomatic stream.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,374 ✭✭✭ InReality


    It might change in the future with the croke park "flexibility" idea.
    But thats pure speculation on my part


  • Registered Users Posts: 13 BainMarie


    Any update on this? I am on the current AO panel and getting ready to be cleared. But my goal would be to be third secretary.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 352 ✭✭ LegallyAbroad


    BainMarie wrote: »
    Any update on this? I am on the current AO panel and getting ready to be cleared. But my goal would be to be third secretary.

    If you want to be a Third Secretary you will have to do the open exam, like everyone else.

    You cannot transfer from AO to TS. They are different jobs and therefore different grades.


  • Registered Users Posts: 39 Ap2020


    You won't get from AO to Third Secretary on transfer. You will have to apply in the same way as anybody else must.

    However, it is a great way to prepare for the role. They are ultimately equivalent jobs - and if you take on responsibility as an AO you will be able to fulfil the competencies. That's ultimately what those competitions demand.


  • Registered Users Posts: 352 ✭✭ LegallyAbroad


    Ap2020 wrote: »
    You won't get from AO to Third Secretary on transfer. You will have to apply in the same way as anybody else must.

    However, it is a great way to prepare for the role. They are ultimately equivalent jobs - and if you take on responsibility as an AO you will be able to fulfil the competencies. That's ultimately what those competitions demand.

    This is very true, lot's of people do AO first as a stepping stone to Third Sec. As you say, very helpful for the interview if you have a year or two done as AO (especially if its in D/T or Finance).

    Obviously a foreign language is also helpful and if you have worked abroad that will also be in your favour.


  • Registered Users Posts: 71 ✭✭ Minifox


    I was looking through the Mobility Scheme and the Mobility Map. There do seem to be AO's in the DFA. I appreciate that they wouldn't be in a diplomatic stream but I wonder if they ever get the chance to go abroad.
    Does anyone know what AO's do in the DFA? Worried I might transfer and find myself in the Passport Office dealing with complaints from irate customers!


  • Registered Users Posts: 339 ✭✭ Wonderstruck


    Minifox wrote: »
    I was looking through the Mobility Scheme and the Mobility Map. There do seem to be AO's in the DFA. I appreciate that they wouldn't be in a diplomatic stream but I wonder if they ever get the chance to go abroad.
    Does anyone know what AO's do in the DFA? Worried I might transfer and find myself in the Passport Office dealing with complaints from irate customers!
    Minifox wrote: »
    I was looking through the Mobility Scheme and the Mobility Map. There do seem to be AO's in the DFA. I appreciate that they wouldn't be in a diplomatic stream but I wonder if they ever get the chance to go abroad.
    Does anyone know what AO's do in the DFA? Worried I might transfer and find myself in the Passport Office dealing with complaints from irate customers!

    I'm gonna take a wild guess and say they are Third Secs. They're the same grade and paid the same. The mobility map probably isn't going to drill down on the differences. If a Third Sec was on secondment to another Dept they would be treated like an AO for stuff like seniority etc.

    There may be some regular AO's on secondment from other depts in DFA but as far as I know every person appointed at AO grade in there is a Third Sec. Maaaaybe they have stuff like HR / Legal AOs these days. I doubt they travel as if they wanted to travel they would just apply for Third Sec?

    If you want a Third Sec job because you want to go abroad, just apply for Third Sec through the Open Comp, people go AO to Third Sec all the time and there's no pay cut involved (cos same grade).

    Third Sec as far as I can tell is very much a defined and specific path and to me, it makes much more sense to keep applying for that. Not to turn you off mobility, if that's your plan to get in there and understand the department but once you are in DFAT you will may have to combine it with still applying to Third Sec.

    I'm no Third Sec, but I transferred a bunch of times to get opportunities, but I just think if what you want is a specific competition, set your mind to acing that, if you go for mobility you'll have to accept whatever role you're given to get your foot in the door. Generally, AOs arent in those customer roles with staff but I have no clue how DFAT runs itself!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 71 ✭✭ Minifox


    Thanks for the feedback, Wonderstruck.
    You're right, of course. I'll just have to keep trying at the Third Secretary Competitions. But having narrowly failed to make the cut (twice!), I was just looking for another way in. I'm not an expert, but it seems to me that if they only take on 30 Third Secs a year, it must be the hardest of all grades to get in to.


  • Registered Users Posts: 251 ✭✭ luckyboy


    Minifox wrote: »
    I was looking through the Mobility Scheme and the Mobility Map. There do seem to be AO's in the DFA. I appreciate that they wouldn't be in a diplomatic stream but I wonder if they ever get the chance to go abroad.
    Does anyone know what AO's do in the DFA? Worried I might transfer and find myself in the Passport Office dealing with complaints from irate customers!

    General service staff (CO, EO, HEO, AO, AP etc) who work in DFA do get the odd opportunity to go abroad but not to the same extent as their colleagues in the diplomatic stream. At the moment there are a lot of Third Secs in HQ awaiting the chance of a posting abroad, so - whilst you could apply for these postings as an AO - you mightn’t necessarily get anywhere for the first couple of attempts.

    To maximise your chances of a posting if you are a General Service grade within DFA, I think you need to be prepared to take an opportunity to go somewhere at short notice. Spots can open up because of promotions etc whereby DFA suddenly needs to fill a spot in a hurry. If you are flexible and willing to go to some of what are considered “hardship” locations, you can get yourself posted regardless of your grade. I know of one particular CO who has been posted to Moscow, London and Brussels throughout his career. And he is not alone. There was a HEO posted to NY not so long ago, another to Canberra. But they were all flexible and willing to travel at short notice which can be difficult if you have family commitments ...


  • Registered Users Posts: 339 ✭✭ Wonderstruck


    luckyboy wrote: »
    General service staff (CO, EO, HEO, AO, AP etc) who work in DFA do get the odd opportunity to go abroad but not to the same extent as their colleagues in the diplomatic stream. At the moment there are a lot of Third Secs in HQ awaiting the chance of a posting abroad, so - whilst you could apply for these postings as an AO - you mightn’t necessarily get anywhere for the first couple of attempts.

    To maximise your chances of a posting if you are a General Service grade within DFA, I think you need to be prepared to take an opportunity to go somewhere at short notice. Spots can open up because of promotions etc whereby DFA suddenly needs to fill a spot in a hurry. If you are flexible and willing to go to some of what are considered “hardship” locations, you can get yourself posted regardless of your grade. I know of one particular CO who has been posted to Moscow, London and Brussels throughout his career. And he is not alone. There was a HEO posted to NY not so long ago, another to Canberra. But they were all flexible and willing to travel at short notice which can be difficult if you have family commitments ...

    Very interesting! I know in Dept of Justice general service grades can go for Visa Officer. Very much a right place right time! Another route is ofc go for a posting in the EU counterpart of your dept I've seen stuff like that (obviously very competitive and rarer).


  • Registered Users Posts: 75 ✭✭ Avenger2020


    You should contact DPER. If you are an AO you should be able to apply to the Third Secretary role via Civil Service Mobility. DFA should be taking a certain number of AOs on mobility each year and DPER should be enforcing this. There is a specific unit in DPER for mobility so contact them as DFA are going against the Civil Service mobility strategy.



  • Registered Users Posts: 266 ✭✭ HartsHat


    You can't apply for specific jobs under mobility. You apply for zones/organisations. DFA has general service grades as well as diplomatic grades (indeed the vast vast majority of people on DFA are from general service grades).



  • Registered Users Posts: 22,511 ✭✭✭✭ blanch152


    You can get promoted from AO to First Secretary in an interdepartmental promotion competition, or from AP to Counsellor.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,900 ✭✭✭✭ snoopsheep


    i have heard that roles in hr/it and the like can open up around the various embassies and foreign locations, and not even always through DFA - agriculture and education def send people around the place a bit every now and again too



  • Registered Users Posts: 266 ✭✭ HartsHat


    There is no interdepartmental competition for Counsellor, but there are open.

    This is good advice for OP.



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