Office Management Specialist
United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer
Announcement No.: OMS-2017-0003
Position Title: Foreign Service Office Management Specialist
Open Period: 3/1/2017 – 3/14/2017
Series/Grade: FP – 0318 07/07
Salary: $35,718 – $52,453
Promotion Potential: 03
Position Information: Work Schedule is Full-time – Permanent after tenure granted by a Foreign Service Specialist (FSS) Tenure Board.
Hiring Agency: U.S. Department of State
Duty Locations: MANY vacancies – Department of State Posts – Overseas and Domestic, United States
Who May Apply
Must be a U.S. citizen. Potential applicants should read the entire announcement to ensure that they meet all of the requirements and understand a Foreign Service career.
Applicants may not reapply for one year after the previous application for the same positon.
If a State Department Suitability Review Panel denied suitability in the last two years, you may not apply (except Diplomatic Security Special Agent (SA) candidates whose denial was based solely on the unique requirements for SAs.)
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.
An OMS must adhere to the highest standards of integrity, dependability, attention to detail, teamwork and cooperation while accepting the need to travel, to live overseas, and when necessary, to live away from family.
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 https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/career-tracks#.
Duties vary greatly depending on the size of the post and the particular position to which assigned. A strong command of the English language, superior office management skills, and in-depth knowledge of office computer software are essential for this position. The following list is neither exhaustive nor in priority order; however, basic duties may include the following:
- Supporting Department personnel and offices – tracking meetings, external event invitations, courtesy calls, visitors, phone bills, preparations for meetings, arranging travel, and processing expense vouchers.
- Supporting official events – planning events, tracking event budget and expenses, requesting or monitoring event supplies, coordinating event attendance, maintaining event guest lists, receiving and recording visitors, and serving as event control officer.
- Preparing written materials – preparing briefing materials, drafting documents, facilitating agendas and follow-up from meetings, processing meeting notes, processes information requests, and maintaining procedure manuals.
- Supporting management of office staff – editing position descriptions, supervising staff, tracking performance reviews, participating on committees, maintaining databases on office issues, reporting time and attendance, maintaining leave information, and supporting temporary duty staff.
- Supporting information technology and records – providing computer software support, maintaining tasking and other document tracking systems, using travel systems, using an electronic message delivery system, maintaining biographic data, maintaining files, and supporting other electronic record systems as needed.
- Managing the office – supporting emergency response processes, ensuring security of classified and sensitive information, tracking office equipment maintenance, requesting supplies, answering phone, and distributing mail.
- Integrating with local culture – learning cultural norms, developing professional relationships, and participating in local organizations.
- It is not uncommon for an OMS to regularly perform duties outside of the normal business hours of the office due to needs of the post, official visits, or as part of a regular after-hours duty rotation.
- At small posts, OMSs may also be required to provide additional services as back-up Information Management Specialists (handling official telegraphic messages and diplomatic pouches), training provided.
- Occasional Travel
- An FSS generally spends the majority of his/her career assigned to our 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.
- 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.).
- 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 and at least 21 years old to be appointed.
- Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).**
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.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
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).
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.
You must submit a copy of your high school diploma, high school equivalency or your college/university transcript(s) with your application. If you do not submit this documentation to demonstrate your educational achievements, you will not be given credit. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.
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 be considered and your candidacy ended.
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education 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.
How to Apply
You should submit your application early, not waiting for the deadline, as application packages must be complete, submitted, and received by the closing date/time to be considered. There are no exceptions.
- From this Vacancy Announcement, click on “Apply.” Go to the USAJobs Log In screen and log into your USAJobs account or follow the link and instructions to create an account.
- Follow the USAJobs Application Process and provide your required USAJobs resume. USAJobs will transfer you to the State Department online application site, Monster Government Service (MGS). Follow the instructions and answer the online questions. Your Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest responses must be completed in the online application. You may save your work and can return to the application from USAJobs at any time prior to the deadline.
- Follow the instructions to attach the required documentation to your application.
- After you attach all of your required supporting documentation, answer all the required application questions, and complete the application steps, please review the entire application packet, including your documents.
- Submit your application package, which will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this position.
Application Submission Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date of this announcement to complete the application process and successfully submit any documentation required in this Vacancy Announcement.
You should submit your application early, and may make changes as often as needed, up until the closing date of the announcement. We strongly recommended that you go back into your application and verify that your documents are attached.
If you are having technical difficulty with the application process, please contact the Monster Help Desk by calling 1-866-656-6830 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Monster Help Desk is available Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm Eastern Time.
For more information on the FSS hiring processes, please visit our FAQs at https://careers.state.gov/faqs. If you have any questions regarding FS careers, please visit our Careers.State.Gov site and post your question(s) on the appropriate Forum in the Connect section: https://careers.state.gov/connect/forums.
How You Will Be Evaluated
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.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required documents are uploaded and the application is fully completed before the closing deadline of this announcement. Any missing required documents or incomplete applications will result in the application not being considered further.
- Completed online application which contains the completed required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest.
- Transcripts or other educational documents as stated in the Education Requirements section.
- Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted for the application process. It is essential that your transcript include your name, the school’s name, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of the key elements above 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.
- Additional required documents such as certifications or professional licenses as stated in the Qualifications Required section.
- For applicants who are age 60 to 65, you must provide your Veteran’s Preference documentation at the time of your application. If claiming a 5 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214. If claiming a 10 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214.
Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest
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 an FSS. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. The information you give may be used in your oral assessment should you be invited and is an important factor in the competitive evaluation of applicants. Responses are 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 an FSS is the ability to write clearly and concisely. All of the items in the Accomplishments Questionnaire and the Statement of Interest must be completed in the online application, not as attachment.
- Give an example of a situation where you had to find an innovative solution to a practical problem.
- Describe your experiences that demonstrate you have proficiency in performing administrative duties like managing files/records/databases, proofing text, processing documents, and maintaining office equipment.
- Give an example of a situation where you had to plan, organize and prioritize your own work, particularly where you had to meet tight deadlines or work long hours.
- Give an example of a situation where you had to handle several different tasks at once and where it was important to ensure that the quality of your performance was maintained at a high standard.
- 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 solve a problem.
Statement of Interest
Required narrative Statement of Interest which discusses your:
- Motivation for joining the Foreign Service,
- Comments about your work experience, including special skills (e.g. computer), current licenses, 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 U.S.
What To Expect Next
Once the vacancy announcement closes, your application status on USAJobs will change from “received” to “referred to hiring agency only”. Within a few days of closing, all “referred” applicants will be notified via e-mail from the U.S. Department of State of the status of their applications.
Please note that the “referred” status on USAJobs will not be updated throughout the entire evaluation process.
Due to the high volume of applications, we ask all applicants to remain patient and await communication. It is not uncommon for several months to pass before you are informed of the results of your applications.
We recommend adding the Department of State domain (@state.gov) as an approved sender.
For more information, please visit https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/selection-process.
Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, and an unprecedented chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Overseas benefits include tax-free housing overseas and tax-free education allowance for dependent children between K-12 overseas.
For information on FS Salary, please visit https://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/foreign-service-salary-matching-pay-tables-danger-pay-overseas-moving-expenses-and-taxes.
*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: https://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.
This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/464879000. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.