Foreign Service Office Management Specialist
The U.S. Department of State, our country’s lead foreign policy agency, provides a rich international experience whether at home or abroad, and opportunities to become responsible leaders.
Each day, our employees make a difference as they contribute to our global society and defend and advance our country’s interests and values. They work on the business of diplomacy and high priority issues that impact the safety, security, and prosperity of our world – human rights, environment, energy, food security, public health, and technology – all while experiencing a unique career.
Our talented workforce reflects and champions all of our strengths and diversity – personal, professional, and educational. We offer a workplace that values and rewards leadership, collaboration and innovation, and personal and professional development.
Foreign Service (FS) Office Management Specialists (OMS) serve at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide and a few domestic locations. OMSs provide professional office management and administrative support at our posts in various embassy sections such as the Political, Economic, Management, Public Diplomacy, Consular or Security Sections.
Responsibilities include providing and managing a range of administrative and office management functions including:
- Managing the calendar(s) and schedule(s) for senior staff,
- Proofing, editing, tracking and filing documents,
- Preparing agenda and materials for meetings,
- Providing computer and mobile device support,
- Knowledge management,
- Planning and assisting with official events and visitors.
The Department of State is developing a rank-order list of eligible hires for a limited number of FSS vacancies based on the needs of the Department. To learn more about the Department of State and a career as an FSS, please visit us at http://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/career-tracks#.
Learn more about this agency
Occasional travel - An FSS generally spends the majority of his/her career assigned to the Department of State's overseas missions and at times, lives away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions. Selected applicants will be notified of an Oral Assessment (OA) requirement in Washington D.C. For the selected applicants, all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.
Relocation expenses reimbursed Yes After completing orientation and initial training in Washington, D.C., an FSS usually is assigned to two overseas tours, each two years in length, directed by the Department. After the initial two tours, assignments will be for periods of one to three years overseas or in the United States (U.S.).
At the time of application, you must have:
- A High school diploma or equivalent and three years of Specialized Experience;
- An Associate’s degree in Office Management, Business Administration, or other related field and have two years of Specialized Experience; or
- A Bachelor’s or higher degree in any major and one year of Specialized Experience.
Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted with your application. Your transcript must include your name, the school’s name, and, if applicable, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of these elements will not pass the minimum qualifications and the candidacy will be ended. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation, in order to be credited towards qualifications. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying. Click on the link for a list of accredited organizations recognized as specializing in interpretation of foreign education credentials. http://www.naces.org/members.htm.
Specialized Experience demonstrates that the applicant has acquired, and is able to apply, a combination of specific knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to this Foreign Service position.
All qualifying Specialized Experience must be of a progressively responsible nature in office management and/or administrative functions and must have been acquired from supporting one or more senior individuals.
All such experience must have been performed within the last 10 years. For the minimum required years of Specialized Experience necessary relative to the highest level of completed education, please see the Education Requirements section below.
To qualify as Specialized Experience, the duties must have a combination of secretarial, administrative assistant or office management components of at least 60% of the work duties.
Examples of Specialized Experience include, but are not limited to:
- Managing the calendar(s) and schedule(s) for one or more senior staff,
- Proofing and editing documents as well as tracking written materials and maintaining office files,
- Preparing documents, handouts, or computer presentations (e.g. PowerPoint) for meetings, including facilitating agendas and following up on commitments made at meetings,
- Providing computer support of all types (e.g., basic applications, specialized applications, troubleshooting, mobile devices, latest apps, tools and social media) and knowledge management (e.g., developing and maintaining databases, capturing information, and conducting research),
- Planning and assisting with official events and visitors, including tracking budget and expenses, building and managing guest lists, requesting and monitoring supply requests, and tracking guest attendance and official gifts.
The following knowledge, skills and abilities, and other requirements, have been identified as important to successful job performance as an OMS based on extensive job analysis research. Not all of these attributes need to be met by a candidate; the attributes will be used as a set to evaluate candidates.
- Knowledge of Organizational and Personnel Structures: Knowledge of organizational hierarchy and structure and the roles and responsibilities of key personnel or offices supporting the organizations goals and objectives, in order to quickly know who to contact for any given issue.
- Knowledge of Open Source Research: Knowledge of key issues within the organization and between the organization and outside entities, including researching information on web sites, social media and/or publications, in order to perform such tasks as examining reports or documents for items of interest to the organization and maintaining files.
- Knowledge of Office Computer Programs: Knowledge at the Microsoft Office Specialist level in Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Access or SharePoint, in order to perform tasks assigned and troubleshoot information technology issues. Note: Applicants who successfully pass the Oral Assessment must provide a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification in Word 2010 or more recent within 30 days of passing the OA to OMSCertiport@state.gov. If the MOS certificate is not received within 30 days of your passing the OA, your candidacy will not be continued. Information about Microsoft MOS certification can be found at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/mos-certification.aspx and www.certiport.com.
- Knowledge of Office Equipment and Troubleshooting: Knowledge of the use of and ability to troubleshoot standard office equipment including high speed copiers, fax, multi-line telephone systems, cellular or smart phones, tablet or lap top computers and digital senders and scanners.
- Cross-Cultural: Skill in working with people from varied backgrounds, educational levels, and cultural surroundings in order to create and maintain an amiable and success-oriented working environment.
- Interpersonal: Skill in working positively with colleagues in order to promote harmony, cooperation, and good morale.
- Decision Making: Professional judgment and experience to make decisions within appropriate areas of responsibility that move projects forward and enable timely achievement of section goals, including knowing when it is necessary to seek guidance from more experienced employees.
- Planning and Organization: Skill at organizing multiple and varied tasks into an achievable system quickly and accurately with minimal supervision in order to complete duties on time.
- Time Management: Skill in time management and prioritization of work, often under conditions of political unrest and tight deadlines, in order to perform assigned tasks.
- Oral and written communication: Applicants must demonstrate a strong command of the English language to include grammar, spelling and punctuation. FSS must consistently meet a high standard for English, both written (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity and succinctness).
*The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit: http://www.state.gov/m/a/dir/regs/fam
**For more information about Veteran’s Preference and how it is applied in the FSS Selection Process, please visit: http://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/are-veterans-given-hiring-preference-
No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections §607, §608, §610 or §611 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no applicant will be considered who has previously been separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section §306 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu thereof.
An FSS separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be an FSS in the same skill code, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service Generalist).
Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 US Code 3303 as amended from accepting or considering prohibited political recommendations and are required to return any prohibited political recommendations to sender. In addition, as mandated by 5 US Code 3110, relatives of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.
It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors.
The Department of State provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations for any part of the application or hiring process should so advise the Department at ReasonableAccommodations@state.gov , within one week of receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, awards, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.
To preview questions please click here.