Foreign Service Office Management Specialist

Montevideo, D.C
Jan 12, 2022
Jan 20, 2022
Full Time

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.


    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.

    U.S. Department of Education:

    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.