Foreign Service Office Management Specialist

Montevideo, D.C
Sep 16, 2021
Sep 24, 2021
Full Time


The U.S. Department of State is developing a rank-ordered list of eligible hires for a limited number of Foreign Service Office Management Specialist (OMS) positions. To learn more about the Department of State and a career in the Foreign Service, visit .

There is more to the Foreign Service than just salary . Refer to the Benefits section for more information on total compensation.

This is a 9017 Foreign Service position equivalent to the 0301 CS Series.

Learn more about this agency


Foreign Service Office Management Specialists (OMSes) serve key roles in U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, as well as some domestic locations, leading and performing a wide range of administrative, operational, and technical program support functions to facilitate the overall efficiency and effectiveness the organization. The primary responsibilities of an OMS vary greatly depending on the size of the post and the particular position to which assigned. The work requires knowledge of administrative, operations, and program support principles; a strong command of the English language; superior interpersonal skills; and, in-depth knowledge of office computer software.

The following list is neither exhaustive nor in priority order; however, basic duties may include the following:
  • Managing the office: Develops, updates, and implements administrative and operations policies for the office/section. Develops, maintains, and tracks budgets for the office/section. Drafts project proposals and interprets and adapts guidelines for application to specific program support functions and/or problems. Conducts analysis of technical, operational, and administrative functions to make recommendations on process improvement and program effectiveness. Coordinates the acquisition of supplies, property, and office space in support of employees in the office/section. Ensures sensitive information is managed properly. Advises management on protocol matters. Coordinates emergency response efforts on behalf of an office/section and applies knowledge of security policies and procedures. Formulates and implements knowledge management and records management policies for the office/section. Develops and coordinates responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act requests. Maintains and certifies time and attendance records for employees in the office/section.
  • Supporting Department personnel: Manages the schedule of the principal and arranges meetings, conferences, and VIP escorts/visits/events. Advises on transportation policies, prepares travel arrangements, and finalizes travel/expense vouchers. Makes and receives calls on behalf of the principal and other employees in the office/section. Facilitates effective and efficient contact with key stakeholders, meeting participants, and internal/external officials. Speaks for the principal on administrative and operational matters, or programmatic areas within the assigned area of responsibility. Serves as a proxy for the principal in meetings or in the approval of administrative documents requiring the principal's approval or attention.
  • Preparing written materials: Reviews, drafts, and responds to correspondence for approval within the area of authority, routing official communication to the appropriate points of contact. Proofreads and edits documents for accuracy, formatting, clearances, style, and compliance with regulations. Prepares and enhances documents, presentations, reports, memos, emails, and other forms of official communication.
  • Supporting official events: Organizes and conducts special events and functions on behalf of the section or post. Serves as control officer for official visits and manages visitor access to government events and facilities.
  • Supporting management of office staff: Provides advice on human resources issues, to include providing input and support for performance appraisals. Trains staff on the full scope of administrative and operations issues in the office/section. Supports mission objectives by identifying the requirements for money, manpower, facilities, and services needed to support a program or achieve policy results. Evaluates program requirements and policy goals in order to ensure program plans, schedules, and support are provided at the right time and place. Conducts special projects and/or manages a programmatic portfolio for the office/section.
  • Supporting information technology and records: Troubleshoots IT issues and resolves basic IT problems, to include hardware and software support. Maintains office equipment and ensures these resources are functioning as expected in order to accomplish the mission. Responsible for working with and troubleshooting issues with various internal and external software programs, including the full range of Microsoft Office applications.
  • Integrating with local culture: Plans and attends representational events and establishes relationships with host country personnel and other embassy interlocutors.

  • It is not uncommon for an OMS regularly to perform duties outside of normal business hours due to needs of the post, official visits, or as part of a regular after-hours duty rotation.

    At small posts, OMSes also might be required to provide additional services as back-up Information Management Specialists (handling official telegraphic messages and diplomatic pouches), with training provided.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - A Foreign Service Specialist 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.

    Supervisory status

    Promotion Potential


    Conditions of Employment

    • Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.*
    • Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
    • Be able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
    • Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.**
    • Be at least 20 years old to apply; at least 21 years old to be appointed.
    • Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).***

    An OMS must adhere to the highest standards of integrity, dependability, attention to detail, teamwork, and cooperation while accepting the need to travel, live overseas, and when necessary, live away from family.


    Specialized Experience

    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 supporting one or more senior individuals . To qualify as Specialized Experience, the duties must have a combination of office management or administrative components of at least 60% of the work duties. All experience must have been performed within the last 10 years.

    Examples of Specialized Experience include, but are not limited to:
  • Developing and implementing administrative and operations procedures.
  • Conducting analysis of technical, operational, and administrative functions to recommend process improvements or program effectiveness.
  • Formulating and implementing knowledge management and records management policies, such developing and maintaining databases and records management, capturing information, and conducting research.
  • Managing schedules and calendars for one or more senior staff, arranging meetings, conferences, events, and travel.
  • Planning and assisting with events and visitors, including tracking budgets and expenses, building and managing guest lists, submitting and monitoring supply requests, and tracking guest attendance.
  • Troubleshooting IT issues and providing basic computer support to include maintaining office equipment. Providing support on internal and external software programs, including the full range of Microsoft Office applications.
  • Preparing written materials, documents, handouts, or computer presentations (e.g. PowerPoint) for meetings, including proofing and editing documents.

  • Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Other Characteristics

    The applicant's experience, education, and training must show that they have an in-depth knowledge of their field and possess the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) to successfully perform OMS duties worldwide.
  • Interpersonal skills, including team work: Interacting effectively with others, including developing and maintaining constructive and cooperative working relationships and resolving conflicts. Working with teammates, customers, and others from widely diverse backgrounds, views, priorities, knowledge, and needs in order to cooperate to get the work done.
  • Customer service skills: Gathering information regarding customer requirements, assessing underlying needs, finding optimal solutions, and providing effective customer service.
  • Communications skills: Applicants must demonstrate a strong command of the English language, both written (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling, and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity, and succinctness).
  • Cross-cultural skills: 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. Acceptance of peoples and cultures other than your own and interest in living in such cultures.
  • Planning, organizing, and project management skills: Skill at organizing multiple and varied tasks into an achievable system quickly and accurately with minimal supervision in order to complete duties on time. Identifying resources, making use of limited resources, correcting or preventing known problems, anticipating challenges, establishing milestones.
  • Time management: Skill in time management and prioritization of work, often under conditions of tight deadlines. Utilizing time efficiently, handling multiple priorities simultaneously, judging how to prioritize and delegate work appropriately.
  • Problem solving and decision making/judgment: Skill in using logic and reasoning to evaluate facts, identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems, including creative and resourceful solutions, and present the alternatives in an unbiased way to others. Professional judgment and maturity 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.
  • Management and supervision skills: Coordinating, scheduling, tracking, managing information flow, negotiating work priorities, supervising locally employed (LE) staff and interns. Taking initiative and showing leadership to proactively identify issues and tasks, motivate others, give guidance, and serve as a role model.
  • Record management skills: Creating archives, saving documents, searching, tracking paperwork, and creating and managing databases.
  • Computer skills: Assists and trains others on office and specialized department software and helps resolve computer-related problems as first line of support, including proactively learning new systems and changes. 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.
  • Adaptability and flexibility: Changing one's behavior to adapt to the situation and recover from setbacks and extreme job demands in a timely and positive manner to ensure effectiveness under any circumstances.
  • Dependability and integrity: Reliable, responsible, dependable, and conscientious at fulfilling obligations in order to perform work and assist customers. Honest and ethical in all aspects of performing the responsibilities of one's job, regardless of the demands of the situation.
  • Tolerance for international career: Tolerance of worldwide availability, including intensive world travel and sometime living away from family, and tolerance for working overseas.

  • Note: Candidates who successfully pass the Oral Assessment (OA) must provide within 30 days of passing the OA a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification in Word 2013 or more recent. Certifications are obtained from an authorized testing center. Information about Microsoft MOS certification can be found at It is the responsibility of the candidate to locate a testing center. All costs incurred in connection with qualifying for this position are the responsibility of the candidate. If the MOS certificate is not received within 30 days of passing the OA, the candidacy will not be continued.


    At the time of application, applicants must have one of the following:

    • A High School diploma or equivalent and three years of Specialized Experience in the last 10 years; or
    • An Associate's degree in Office Management or Business Administration and two years of Specialized Experience in the last 10 years; or
    • A Bachelor's or higher degree in any major and one year of Specialized Experience in the last 10 years.

    If your OMST results qualify, you will be asked via email to submit documentation demonstrating your educational achievements. You must submit a copy of your high school diploma or equivalency certificate, or your university transcript(s). If you do not submit this documentation to demonstrate your educational achievements, your candidacy will not continue.

    Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted. Your transcript must include your name, the school's name, and, if applicable, the degree and date awarded, and have no missing pages. A transcript missing any of these elements will not pass the minimum qualifications and your candidacy will not continue. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.

    Education from a program or institution within the United States must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education,, in order to be credited towards qualifications or your candidacy will not continue.

    Education completed in foreign high schools, 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. Only accredited organizations recognized as specializing in the interpretation of foreign education credentials that are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE) are accepted. If documentation from an accredited organization is not provided, your candidacy will not continue.

    For further information on the evaluation of foreign education, please refer to the Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Department of Education. The U.S. Department of State neither endorses nor recommends any individual evaluation service.

    Additional information

    *EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION PROGRAM (E-Verify) - Verification of employment eligibility in the United States is required.

    U.S. law requires organizations to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States - either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. This agency utilizes E-Verify to compare information from the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm employment eligibility. If the employee's information does not match DHS and/or SSA records, the employee is given an opportunity to resolve the problem. If eligibility cannot be verified, employment will be terminated.

    **The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit:

    ***For more information about Veteran's Preference and how it is applied in the selection process, please visit:

    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.

    A Foreign Service Specialist separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be a Foreign Service Specialist 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 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, within one week of receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    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 .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Top Secret

    Drug test required

    Required Documents

    Submit your application and register to take the Office Management Specialist Test (OMST) at Please do not apply through USAJobs. See How to Apply for more information.
  • Visit .
  • Create a web account.
  • Follow the instructions to complete the Office Management Specialist Test (OMST) online application. (Note: Your application is automatically saved as you proceed through it. You can interrupt the application process and return to it until you submit it.)
    • Answer all the self-assessment questions;
    • Include work history for the past ten (10 years); and,
    • Complete the Personal Narrative questions and Statement of Interest (see below for more information).
  • Complete, review, and submit the application.
    • Your OMST online application will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this position.
    • You have six months to complete the application process outlined in this announcement and take the OMST. If you have not taken then OMST within six months, you must restart the application process.
    • Application packages must be complete before you can register for the OMST.
    • We strongly recommend that you go back into your application and verify that everything is completed properly.

  • Personal Narrative

    These required questions provide an opportunity to describe examples and accomplishments from your education, life, and/or work experience that demonstrate your qualifications for becoming a Foreign Service Specialist. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. Each response is limited to 300 words or fewer (maximum length 2,000 characters) for each item. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as a Foreign Service Specialist is the ability to write clearly and concisely. Answers to the all of the items in the Personal Narrative and Statement of Interest are required and must be completed in the online application.

    1. Substantive Knowledge: Describe your skills, knowledge, and experience in managing office policies and procedures, such as developing and implementing project proposals, budgets, or knowledge management procedures.

    2. Intellectual Skills: Describe an example of how you used your proficiency in computer technology and programs, such as those in the Microsoft Office Suite or similar programs, to collect, interpret, and/or analyze data. Comment on the technology you used and how your skill with the program helped to solve a problem.

    3. Interpersonal Skills: Describe a situation where you used your interpersonal skills to resolve a conflict or provide effective customer service.

    4. Communication Skills: Describe an example of how you used your proficiency in oral or written communication, including foreign language skills if appropriate, to further an aim or achieve a goal.

    5. Managerial Skills: Describe a situation where you had to plan, organize, and prioritize your own work, particularly where you had to handle several different tasks with close deadlines and it was important to maintain a high standard of performance. Comment on how you set priorities and allocated time, and indicate any resources you used to help prioritize tasks.

    6. Leadership Skills: Describe a situation where you took initiative to resolve a problem or proposed an innovative solution. Indicate who was affected by the problem and in what way, and the nature of the difficulties faced.

    Statement of Interest

    Required narrative Statement of Interest which discusses your:

    - Motivation for joining the Foreign Service;

    - Relevant work experience, including any unique strengths not described elsewhere such as special skills (e.g. computer), current licenses, certifications, honors, awards, special accomplishments, and/or training (with date completed) relating to this position; and

    - Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in the United States.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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