Careers App
General Services Officer

United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer
How to Apply

Announcement No: GSO-2014-0002
Position Title: General Services Officer
Open Period: 02/26/2014 – 03/12/2014
Series/Grade: FP - 1640 - 04
Salary: $53,534 - $78,616
Promotion Potential: FP-01
Duty Locations: MANY Vacancies Throughout the World
For More Info: HR/REE, 202-203-5161,

Who May Apply

All potential applicants are strongly urged to read this entire Vacancy Information to ensure that they meet all of the requirements for this position before applying.

Applicants must be United States Citizens and at least 20 years old to apply. They must be at least 21 years of age to be appointed. By law, all career candidates must be appointed to the Foreign Service prior to the month in which they reach 60.

NOTE: Individuals who have been found unqualified for employment by a Department of State Final Review Panel within the previous two years are ineligible to apply (unless the individual was a candidate for a Special Agent position with the Diplomatic Security Service and the decision to deny eligibility was based on the candidate’s inability to fulfill the unique duties of that position).

Duration Appointment


Marketing Statement

The Department of State is developing a rank-order list of eligible hires to fill a limited number of Foreign Service General Services Officer vacancies. The specific number to be hired will depend on the needs of the Foreign Service.



General Services Officers serve at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. Candidates must agree not only to serve at any U.S. diplomatic or consulate post abroad, but also at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., in New York at the United States Mission to the United Nations, and at the Florida Regional Service Center in Ft. Lauderdale, according to the needs of the Foreign Service.

Upon entry into the Foreign Service, and after completion of formal training, usually in the Washington, D.C., area, General Services Officers will normally be assigned overseas. Both the first and second overseas assignments, which are directed, will be two years in length. Subsequent assignments will be made through an open process based on the needs of the Foreign Service, career development requirements and individual preferences, and will normally be either two or three years in length.

The Foreign Service is more than a job - it's a career. As a member of a diplomatic team, you will not only help to accomplish the mission of the Department of State, but also represent your country to the people of other nations. A Foreign Service career involves uncommon commitments and occasional hardships, as well as unique rewards and opportunities. A decision to enter this career should be based on extraordinary motivation and a firm dedication to public service.

Many overseas posts are in small or remote countries where harsh climates, health hazards and other discomforts exist and where American-style amenities and the latest in technological advances often are unavailable. Personal security frequently becomes an area of concern in countries where there is political unrest or terrorist activity. However, careers in the Foreign Service offer special rewards, including the pride and satisfaction of representing the United States and protecting U.S. interests abroad.

The Foreign Service strives for diversity to show the best face of America abroad. Diversity is one of America's greatest strengths. In representing the United States to the world, the Foreign Service aims to reflect and respect our rich heritage and varied backgrounds in its workforce.


All applicants, in order to be considered for selection, must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be at least 20 years old to apply and at least 21 years of age to be appointed. By law (Foreign Service Act of 1980), all career candidates (except for preference-eligible veterans) must be appointed to the Foreign Service prior to the month in which they reach age 60. If you are 59 1/2 years of age or over and claiming a 5 point veteran's preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 with your application. If you are claiming a 10 point veteran’s preference, in addition to the DD-214, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15 with your application. (This is required if you are preference eligible.)
  • Be available for worldwide service.
  • Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain an appropriate medical clearance for Foreign Service work.
  • Obtain a Suitability Clearance, based on a review of the candidate's record for conduct in accordance with suitability standards as defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual.

    For more details see or

Major Duties

Foreign Service General Services Officers (GSOs) serve at many of the approximately 265 Foreign Service posts throughout the world, at Department of State locations in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area; in New York at the United States Mission to the United Nations; and at the Florida Regional Center in Ft. Lauderdale. Primary responsibilities include the management of physical resources and logistical functions at United States embassies and consulates, and service to other U.S. Government agencies. GSOs are responsible for the overall management of acquisition and supply chain operations (or some portion of these operations), the supervision of the subordinate staff, and the actual performance of some or all of the following functions. The GSO normally works under the direction of the Management Officer/Counselor and is a service provider to the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) Council at post.

GSOs are responsible for:

  1. Contracting - conducts procurement planning, manages contracts, develops acquisition documents, coordinates contracting at post, and coordinates contracting with the State Department in Washington.
  2. Procurement & supply chain, including warehouse and inventory management - monitors support services standards, identifies procurement support needs, prepares budgets, manages procurement of supplies, manages procurement documents, determines warehousing needs, procures and manages warehouse space, ensures warehouse security, and manages freight handling.
  3. Warehouse, property & space management - develops and manages real property requirements, negotiates leases (commercial and residential), manages property utilization policies, coordinates property with others, accounts for properties, and manages maintenance.
  4. Travel & transportation - manages travel and transportation requirements and programs, serves as transportation liaison, and manages vehicle fleets/motor pool.
  5. Customs & clearances - obtains clearances, informs others about import-export regulations, and serves as customs liaison.
  6. Supervision of staff - supervises and manages American direct hire personnel and locally employed staff, encourages staff training, and ensures Equal Employment Opportunity rules are followed.
  7. Waste, fraud & mismanagement program - maintains internal controls, and manages purchase cards for acquisitions and travel cards for official travel.



Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, awards, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Part-time work experience will be prorated. Candidates will be evaluated through a file review, a personal interview, a writing exercise and an on-line subject matter test. Those who have successfully gone through the selection process and obtained their medical, security and suitability clearances are put on a rank order register. Candidates can improve their standing on the register by obtaining additional points for qualifying military service and/or proven language ability as determined by the Foreign Service Institute. More information on these two points, as well as on the clearance process, is available on our web site, Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications.


Applicants for the position of General Services Officer must have a minimum of six years of experience, broken down as follows:

  • General Experience - three years
  • Specialized Experience - three years

General experience must demonstrate that the applicant has worked at the professional, technical or administrative level and that the work has been progressively more responsible in nature. General experience includes obtaining and providing a variety of services to an organization, managing a multifaceted operation and supervising a multidisciplinary workforce or other similar work.


Specialized experience is that professional work which demonstrates that the applicant has acquired and is able to apply specific knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to a Foreign Service General Services Officer position. Examples are:

  1. Responsibility for scheduling large shipments of domestic or overseas freight, and managing customs clearances.
  2. Experience in negotiating contracts.
  3. Experience in procurement practices and procedures.
  4. Supervision of inventory of supplies and equipment.
  5. Supervision of contractual services for utilities and equipment.
  6. Experience in negotiating for the purchase and leasing of real property.
  7. Supervision of maintenance, repair and services of office and residential buildings.
  8. Supervision of motor pool operations, including management and servicing of vehicles.
  9. Experience in managing a pool of housing, developing space assignments and maintaining individual units.
  10. Experience in managing an employee travel program encompassing a wide variety of types of travel and destinations.

All such experience must have been of a progressively responsible nature in the general services specialty. This experience must include three or more of the ten general services areas listed above and must have been gained within the last ten (10) years. Experience working and/or living in a multicultural environment is desirable.


The education, work experience, and other qualifications evaluated for evidence of the following knowledge, skills, abilities and other requirements have been identified as important to successful job performance as a General Services Officer 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.

  1. Knowledge of travel regulations, procurement and contracting laws, property management and warehousing, transportation of materials, space utilization, common computer applications, finance and accounting, construction, motor vehicle maintenance and repair requirements, and health and safety procedures and duties.
  2. Skills in reading comprehension, analyzing complex written information, written communication, oral communication, active listening, instructing, active learning, leading a multinational workgroup, time management, project management, service orientation, computers, monitoring, coordination, management of personnel resources, management of financial resources, management of material resources, persuasion, negotiation, social perceptiveness, critical thinking, complex problem solving, judgment and decision making, systems evaluation, and mathematics.
  3. Other - a curiosity about peoples and cultures other than one's own, and an interest in living in such cultures.



Applicants may substitute educational achievements for general and specialized experience according to the following formula:

  1. Study successfully completed above the high school level may be substituted for some or all of the required three years of general experience. A full-time academic year would substitute for nine months of experience, up to the maximum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in such fields as public administration, business administration, industrial engineering or industrial management. A bachelor's degree in the above-mentioned fields only could therefore be substituted for the required three years of general experience.
  2. Graduate courses in such fields as public administration, business administration, industrial engineering or industrial management may be given some credit for specialized experience as follows: one full year of study may substitute for six months experience; a master's degree may substitute for one year of experience.
  3. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet Federal job requirements for this position if the applicant can show that foreign education is comparable to education received in the United States. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide such evidence when applying for Federal jobs. To view how foreign education is evaluated for federal jobs please CLICK HERE.
  4. If substituting education for experience, it is essential that your transcript include your name, the school, the date and degree awarded as appropriate. Any transcript missing the key elements above may disqualify you from substituting education for experience to meet the minimum qualifications and the candidacy will be ended.

How to Apply

We are not currently accepting applications for this position. Please subscribe to receive email updates regarding this vacancy.

To apply, applicants must first register on USAJOBS at and create an online federal resume. Your online resume must be typed or you may cut and paste an existing resume into the space provided. Once you have completed the registration process select the 'apply-online' button to the right. That button will transfer you to Gateway to State.

Follow the 'apply online' instructions at Gateway to State by answering self-assessment questions for the specific job to which you are applying. When completed, the information you provided at USAJOBS and the answers to the Gateway to State questions will become your application. Your registration, resume, and responses to questions will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this job. In addition, you must fax or upload some information to complete your application package.

Please note: Your application is automatically saved as you proceed through it. You may interrupt your application process and return to it until you submit it.

You have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the closing date of this announcement to complete the application process and supply the required documentation outlined in this vacancy announcement. Application packages MUST be complete and received by the closing date to receive consideration.

Due to the volume of applications, fax lines can become jammed and documents may not successfully attach to your application on the final days/hours of the application announcement. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CANDIDATE TO VERIFY THAT REQUIRED DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY ATTACHED TO THE APPLICATION PRIOR TO THE CLOSING DATE.
Applicants can do so by going back into your application and verifying that documents have been attached. Applications received without required documents will be deemed ineligible. You are encouraged to submit your application early, and to go back into your application to confirm that your documents have been attached.

If you are having technical difficulty with the application process, please contact the helpdesk by calling 1-866-656-6830 or by emailing

Required Documents

Applicants will be asked to submit the following required documents:

  1. A Completed Online Questionnaire and Autobiography.
  2. Your College Transcripts (but only if using education to substitute for experience).
    Both official and unofficial transcripts are acceptable as part of the application process. Therefore, it is essential that your transcript include your name, the school’s name, the degree and date awarded. Any transcript missing any of the key elements above will not be considered as qualifying education.

    Applicants have the option to upload or fax their transcripts or certifications. To submit the transcripts or certifications by fax, applicants will be prompted to print out a fax coversheet once they have successfully submitted their application. Instructions for submitting these forms are included in the online application. The transcript must be faxed before the closing date of this announcement, which is 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time. Important: Whether you upload or fax, please submit all your documents at the same time. If you must send any additional documents after your first submission, be sure to include your first group of documents along with the additional documents. This is because subsequent submissions erase prior submissions.

    For additional information, please refer to our web site at
  3. If you are 59 1/2 years of age or over and claiming a 5 point veteran's preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 with your application.

    If you are claiming a 10 point veteran’s preference, in addition to the DD-214, you must submit your VA letter and approved SF-15 with your application. (This is required if you are preference eligible.)
  4. Copies of Certificates, Diplomas and relevant proof of relevant training, if applicable.

    If faxing, it is extremely important that only these system-generated cover sheets, and the phone number included on them, be used for faxing these documents. The cover sheets are coded to insure that your documents are automatically attached to your online application. Please ensure that each document is faxed separately with the appropriate system generated cover sheet.

    These documents must be either faxed or uploaded before the closing date of this announcement, which is midnight eastern standard time.

The Supplementary Questionnaire in the application provides an opportunity to describe examples and accomplishments from your education and life and work experience that relate to the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities listed above and best show your ability to handle various aspects of the work of General Services Officers. The supplementary questions are included inside the online application and are an important factor in the competitive evaluation of applicants.

Instructions: Individually address each of the four numbered items listed below limiting responses to 300 words or fewer (no more than 2000 characters) for each item. Describe how you have used these abilities and/or knowledge, referencing the source from which the work-related experience was acquired. Your examples can be drawn from any part of your experience but they must describe things that you, personally, have done. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills required of an experienced General Services Officer is the ability to think logically and to write clearly and concisely.

  1. Demonstrated experience in management and supervision of staff involved in general services work outlined in the Description of Duties and Responsibilities. (Management Skills)
  2. Ability to plan and organize work under pressure of tight deadlines and rigid time frames in difficult circumstances. (Planning and Organizing Skills)
  3. Demonstrated skill and experience in contracting, evaluating, negotiating, and awarding contracts. (Substantive Knowledge)
  4. Experience living and working in a multicultural environment, either overseas or in the U.S. (Cultural Adaptability)

(maximum 5,000 characters, equivalent to two or three typed pages) which discusses your:

  • Personal background
  • General comments on work experience
  • Personal interests and hobbies
  • Motivation for joining the Foreign Service

Space for the narrative autobiography is included inside the online application.

What to Expect Next

All applicants will be notified via email of the outcome of their applications. Selected candidates will be invited to come for an oral assessment at the Department of State, Washington, D.C.

Selected candidates: Please note all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the oral assessment are the responsibility of the candidate.


Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, generous paid leave, and an unprecedented chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Overseas benefits include paid housing or a housing allowance and paid education for dependent children between K-12.

Additional Benefits: Tax free housing overseas, tax free educational allowance, etc. (See Compensation and Benefits details are on our website at for more information.

Other Information


Newly hired General Services Officer career candidates are assigned at the FP-04 level. Specific step (or salary) within that level will be determined at the time a firm offer of employment is made. Steps may be awarded based upon such factors as the level of graduate education and directly related specialized experience.

Current Federal Civil Service employees (or former employees) will also be assigned at the FP-04 level. Specific step (or salary) within the FP-04 level will be set at the nearest possible salary rate of the current (or previous) grade, provided the work performed is relevant to general services activities.

Any Foreign Service Specialist hired after October 1, 2013, who demonstrates FSI-tested Arabic language ability, will receive a one-time recruitment bonus.


General Services Officer career candidates are eligible to compete for promotion to FP-03 in line with Department of State policies. Subsequent promotions are also competitive. The highest possible competitive promotion is to grade FE-OC. Due to the limited number of yearly promotion opportunities, promotion panels select promotees based on published criteria and quality of performance. Performance is evaluated annually, in writing, by the supervisor.

In general, Foreign Service employees with documented satisfactory performance are eligible to receive a within-grade step increase annually up through step 10 and biannually from step 10 through 14.


General Services Officer career candidates are considered for tenure (career status) after they acquire a minimum of two years experience in the Foreign Service. A Tenuring Board determines suitability based on a number of factors. If tenure is not granted during the first review, a second review will be made one year later. Failure to achieve tenure in the prescribed time frame of four years is grounds for separation.


Initial assignment will be to the Department of State in Washington, D.C., for orientation and training, generally followed by an overseas assignment of two years. Additional training in language or other required skills (depending on onward assignment) might further extend the time spent in Washington. Foreign Service General Services Officers normally spend most of their careers stationed abroad, moving to new assignments at intervals of 2-3 years.


Please note all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the oral assessment are the responsibility of the candidate.

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 310, sons and daughters 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 that 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 provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process should so advise the Department. All decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.

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