Career as IFS Officer

  • Early Salary : 50 K - 1 L
  • Mid Level Salary : 4 - 5 L
  • Senior Salary : 7 - 8 L
  • Education level :
  • Category : Law

What is IFS Officer?


An IFS officer is supposed to project and protect national interests in a range of spheres, including bi-national economic and political cooperation, trade promotion, cultural links, media relations, as also multilateral issues, domestic as well as overseas. An officer begins his career abroad as a third secretary and is promoted to second secretary as soon as he is confirmed in service. Subsequent promotions are to the levels of first secretary, counsellor, minister and ambassador/high commissioner/permanent representative. Officers can also be posted to Indian consulates abroad.

Typical work schedule
Average day of an undersecretary for country X, when parliament is not in session:
8am: Drive to work
9-9.30am: Reach office. Check mail and country X’s media reports. Attend meeting to discuss events taking place over the weekend 11.30am: Do groundwork for the visit of a delegation from X 
1pm: Lunch 
2pm: Summarise reports from the Indian embassy
4pm: Meeting with embassy officials 
6-6.30pm: Leave for home

What are the steps i should take?

Skills Needed

. Good communication and inter-personal skills 
. Interest in international relations, expert in global affairs
. Knowledge of your country’s politics, culture and economy
. Analytical skills
. Diplomatic approach to issues
. Decision-making ability
. Leadership quality 
. Physical stamina and poise
. Ability to adapt to different environments and cultures (e.g. you might be posted to a mission in a country with limited healthcare facilities)  
. Loads of patience
. The polish and intelligence to be aware and respectful of the host country’s culture

Job Aspects How do I get there?

Entry to the IFS is through the Union Public Service Commission’s civil services examination, open to graduates in any discipline, though an international relations background would help.

The exam includes a written preliminary test and a main exam, followed by an interview. After a foundation course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, entrants are sent to the Foreign Service Institute for specific training.

For more details, check



Pros about this career

    . You represent your country and work to achieve national objectives . You have to travel the globe and rub shoulders with celebrities and big names in the course of your work and during leisure time . Enjoy diplomatic immunity

Cons about this career

    . Your foreign posting might at times not allow you to take your family along . Insular service – there’s not much public dealing at the HQ . Work can get terribly strenuous

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