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How to Apply

United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer

Announcement No:   FSOMS-98-1
Opening Date:  September 01, 1998
Closing Date:  Indefinite


Grade and
Starting Salary Range:   FP-07  --   $27,462 - $40,329

Number of Vacancies:      The Department of State is continuing to develop a rank-order list of
eligible candidates to fill entry-level Foreign Service Office Management Specialist vacancies.  The specific number to be hired will depend on the needs of the Foreign Service.

Area of Consideration:    All sources

Location:      Initial assignment will be to the Department of  State in Washington, DC for training and orientation, followed by an overseas assignment of two years. Additional training in language or other required skills (depending on onward assignment) may further extend the time spent in Washington.  Foreign Service Office Management Specialists normally spend most of their careers abroad, moving to new assignments at intervals of 2-4 years.



Foreign Service Office Management Specialists are appointed as Foreign Service Specialist career candidates with the Department of State.  Duties vary greatly depending on the size of the post and the particular position. Computer skills are an essential element of this career.  Foreign Service Office Management Specialists are frequently called upon to perform a variety of special duties in addition to regular functions.



Foreign Service Office Managers not only serve at embassies and consulates abroad but also at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, the Department of State in Washington, D.C., and the Florida Regional Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Assignments can vary from working in a Political or Economic Section in one mission to working in the Administrative or Executive Office in another.  Positions of increasingly higher responsibility are achieved as a result of competing for promotions which are earned through quality performance.

All newly-hired Office Management Specialists enter at the junior level and are expected to follow a structured career path extending over a period of years.   Duties may vary greatly depending on the size of the post and the requirements of the position.  Knowledge of office computer software is essential.  Foreign Service Office Management Specialists are frequently called upon to perform a variety of administrative functions and secretarial functions, e.g.  at small posts Foreign Service Office Management Specialists may also be required to serve as  Information Systems Administrators, as back-up Communicators--handling official telegraphic messages and diplomatic pouches--or, along with their colleagues, to assume "co-host" responsibilities at U.S. diplomatic social functions, e.g., 4th of July receptions.



Newly-hired Office Management Specialists are notified of their assignment after reporting to Washington.  A typical first assignment would be as a junior Office Management Specialist in a large office overseas.  Assignments at higher levels require incumbents to assist one or more individuals by performing general office secretarial and administrative work in support of the substantive work of the office.  Subsequent assignments are made by a panel working with a list of preferences which have been received from each Office Management Specialist.



Foreign Service Office Management Specialists are an essential part of an overseas mission.  It is not uncommon to work extensive overtime because of the political climate of the host country, official visits or any unexpected event.  On a rotating basis, Office Management Specialists may also be required to serve as "duty Office Management Specialist" (on call after hours for a week at a time).  Knowledge of a foreign language may be required at some of our overseas posts and Office Management Specialists may be given language training in Washington, DC prior to an assignment.



As a Foreign Service Office Management Specialist proceeds along a career path, future assignments can lead to the "executive office" as Office Managers assigned to an ambassador or a high-ranking official in Washington.  Whatever the position or nature of duties, Office Management Specialists will have a rich opportunity to make valuable contributions to their country while leading professionally and personally fulfilling lives.



Salaries within the starting ranges for new employees will be determined at the time of a conditional offer of employment.  The entry-level salary for Federal Civil Service candidates appointed to the Foreign Service without a break in service will be set at the rate, within the Foreign Service grade to which they are appointed, that is nearest to the salary rate of their previous grade.

Performance is evaluated in writing annually by a supervisor. 

Due to the limited number of yearly promotions available, panels select candidates based on published criteria and quality performance.

Foreign Service Career Candidates are considered for tenure by a Tenuring board after they  acquire a minimum of two years experience in the Foreign Service as a Specialist Career Candidate.

In general, persons with good performance will receive a within-grade increase annually up through step 10 and biennially from step 10 through step 14 if they have not received an equivalent increase during that period.



An applicant must be a high school graduate or equivalent; be able to pass a timed, 5-minute typing test on a typewriter or a computer/word processor at a minimum of 50 wpm with no more than five errors; have word-processing proficiency; and be able to pass a proctored proofreading test which will be provided by the Department of State after the initial review stage.  The ability to demonstrate a knowledge of Word computer software in Windows and a command of English grammar, spelling and punctuation will be important considerations in the competitive process.

Grade Level

Specialized Experience


2 Years of experience acquired in a position designated as a secretarial AND 1 Year of experience acquired in a position designated as an administrative assistant.
AA degree or 2 years (60-89 semester hours or 90-134 quarters hours) or college study from an accredited institution AND 1 Year of experience acquired in a position designated as secretarial.






All specialized experience, whether acquired as a secretary or an office manager, must be of a progressively responsible nature.  Positions which have secretarial, administrative assistant or office management responsibilities should be described with percentages attributed to the amount of time devoted to the various duties.



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

A.  Study successfully completed above the high school level may be substituted for the required year of administrative assistant experience on the basis of one full-time academic year for nine months of experience.

B.  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.



All secretarial experience must have been under the direct supervision of one or more support individuals.  The following kinds of duties are considered secretarial: updating and maintaining  appointment calendars, setting up appointments and meetings, opening office incoming mail and routing it to appropriate individuals, organizing and maintaining filing systems, making travel arrangements, escorting  visitors to the office, final proofreading and editing of the material of others, developing and implementing office procedures, composing letters for signature,  assembling information for reports, etc.  In the Civil Service these duties are represented by the GS-318 job series.    



All office management experience must be of a professional nature and must have been acquired from supporting one or more individuals.  The experience must have been acquired in a position which required utilization of the knowledge of specific administrative functions in the employing organization and which required a minimum of direct supervision.



Purpose:  The purpose of the Supplementary Questionnaire is to allow an opportunity to describe examples of your experience which relate to the skills listed below and best show your ability to handle the various aspects of secretarial/administrative assistant work.  The information you provide will be used to help structure your oral examination/interview.

Instructions:  Using plain white paper and either a typewriter or computer, individually address each of the numbered items listed below limiting responses to 200 words or less for each item.  Describe how you have used the following 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 Office Management Specialist is the ability to write clearly and concisely.

1.Solving a Practical Problem:  Describe what you consider to be the best example of a situation where you had to find an innovative solution to a practical problem.  Indicate who was affected by the problem and in what way, and the nature of the difficulties faced.

2.Organizing Your Own Work:  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.  Indicate the complexity of the task you were organizing and the consequences if you had failed to meet your deadline.

3.Handling Conflicting Priorities:  Give one example which best illustrates a situation where you had to handle several different tasks at once and where it was important to ensure the quality of your performance was maintained at a high standard.  Indicate any resources you had to organize and the pressure you were under to change the order of priority.

4.Using Computers and Office Technology:  List the experience you have of using technology like word-processing, databases and spreadsheets, electronic mail, graphics packages, etc.

5.Mixing Easily With Other People:  What experiences have you had which suggest that you mix easily with people both within and outside your social or cultural group and with colleagues?  Include information about your social and/or community activities.



Submission of the following materials is required.  This application package becomes the property of the U.S. Department of State:

1.A completed DS-1950 Application for Federal Employment (attached).

2.A completed Employment Data Form (attached).  (This is an optional form which requests information to be used for statistical purposes only.)

3.The completed Supplementary Questionnaire.

4.A two-to-three page, typed (double-spaced) narrative autobiography which discusses your:

5.A copy, no older than one year, of the results of a 5-minute typing/keyboarding test.  A minimum speed of 50 wpm with a maximum of 5 errors is passing.  This test can be taken through a local high school, business college, employment agency, State Employment Service office, the Library of Congress or the personnel office of an overseas embassy or consulate.  If administered by other than a state or federal employment service, the candidate's actual test must be submitted attached to a signed certification by the test administrator affirming on their letterhead the speed in words per minute, the total number of errors, and that the test was of 5 minutes' duration.

Applicants who wish to be considered for the January and February Office Management Specialist orientation classes should submit their completed application packages by November 1.

All application materials  should be submitted to:

U. S. Department of State
Application Evaluation Branch - OMS
2401 E Street, NW, 5th Floor
Washington, DC  20522

Applications which are received through State Department's inter-office mail system
or mailed in Government-franked envelopes will not be processed.

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.

The Department of State is committed to equal opportunity and fair and equitable treatment for all without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, disabling condition, political affiliation, marital status, or prior statutory, constitutionally protected activity.

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