Foreign Service Office Management Specialist

U.S. Department Of State
  • Location
    Overseas and Domestic, D.C.
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Mar 02

Position description

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.)

Job Overview


About the Agency

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


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.

Travel Required

  • 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.

Relocation Authorized

  • Yes
  • 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.).

Job Requirements

Key Requirements

  • 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

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 [email protected]. 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 and
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Interpersonal: Skill in working positively with colleagues in order to promote harmony, cooperation, and good morale.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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).

Education Requirements

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.

Application instructions

*Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position on*

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