Can knowing Persian and Arabic get me a job?
June 8, 2011 7:45 PM   Subscribe

What kinds of jobs can I get based on my military experience and knowledge of languages? Should I study more first?

I'm coming back soon from a deployment to Afghanistan. While here I've spent my spare time learning Dari (a dialect of Persian) and am lightly conversational about social topics. I can read and write. A long time ago I learned some Arabic.

I'm looking at applying to be an Army Foreign Area Officer, and also taking the Foreign Service Exam. I could also try to get into a University back home with a Persian/Arabic program, but that would take some time and I have a family to support. I'm forty-three, so I feel a time crunch.

What other programs or jobs are out there for someone with my experience? I've heard good and bad things about USAID, nothing about ICG, for instance.
posted by atchafalaya to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite Check out their career page.
posted by getmetoSF at 8:40 PM on June 8, 2011

It doesn't sound like you have enough proficiency in either language to attract the attention of the intelligence agencies as a linguist, but if you have any intel experience you could probably get a job as an analyst or (I'm sensing officer here) a supervisor. If not with the agencies themselves, then certainly with a contractor.

The university route could work -- especially if you've got GI Bill and could swing a teaching assistantship or something. I have a friend who's in the Reserves and ROTC and at times has actually made money as a student.

Also, Foreign Service Officer is a pretty great job, but since you mentioned that you have a family, I'd have some serious conversations with them about the lifestyle. It's an even bigger family commitment than the military, IMO.

Good luck!
posted by thehandsomecamel at 9:36 PM on June 8, 2011

You'll know yourself, Afghanistan is awash with civilians who not so long ago were in military uniform. If you were applying to do a job of that kind you could expect more time off, higher wages and less exposure to dangerous environments in country. Applying with military experience, having already spent time in country and also speaking the language to a degree, you would be in a position of strength.

Oh and for the purposes of clarification, I'm talking about a job with the State Dept or other such agency, not Blackwater or whatever they're calling themselves today.
posted by dougrayrankin at 1:36 AM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing intelligence agencies (both civilian and military) and DoS, although it seems that living outside (or being unable to move to) the DC/Baltimore/Richmond area makes it much more difficult to find those types of jobs.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:16 AM on June 9, 2011

Random job search for nonprofit jobs in the US that mention "Arabic" in the job description.
posted by brainwane at 7:53 AM on June 9, 2011

I don't know if it applies to veterans or all the jobs, but I was looking into jobs at the state department and it seems that for at least some positions there is an age limit of 35 or so.

Similar to brainwane, I'd go to USAjobs and search "Arabic". Most federal jobs give preference to veterans with the proper qualifications being equal with other applicants.
posted by kaybdc at 6:57 PM on June 9, 2011

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