6/30/15 – Office Management Specialist
United States Department of State, worldwide positions
Sarah P’s comments: For US librarians without a MLIS and/or those who would like to break into the Foreign Service, here is an opportunity which calls for librarian skills and experience.
Open Period: 06/17/2015 — 07/07/2015
Salary: $35,014 – $51,419
Promotion Potential: FP-03
Hiring Agency: U.S. Department of State
Duty Locations: MANY Vacancies throughout the World
Who May Apply
Applicants must be American 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 age 60.
The U.S. Department of State is the lead foreign affairs agency formulating and implementing the President’s foreign policy and representing U.S. interests throughout the world. Foreign Service Office Management Specialists (Administrative Assistants) serve at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide as well as a few domestic locations. Assignments can vary from working in a Political or Economic Section in one mission to working in the Management or Security Section in another. Future assignments can lead to the Executive Office and the position of Office Manager to an Ambassador overseas or to a high-ranking official in Washington, D.C. 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.
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 will be a representative of 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 to maintain diversity in the representation of gender, geographic region, race and ethnicity within its work force.
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.
- 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 defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more details see http://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/selection-process or http://www.state.gov/m/a/dir/regs/fam
** If 59 1/2 years of age or over and claiming 5 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214. If claiming 10 pt. veteran’s preference, in addition to the DD-214, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15. (Required if preference eligible.)
NOTE: Individuals who have been found ineligible for employment by a Department of State Suitability 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.
Foreign Service Office Management Specialists (Administrative Assistants) serve at U.S. embassies, consulates and other U.S. missions abroad as well as at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, and the Florida Regional Center in Ft. Lauderdale.
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 Foreign Service Officers and Specialists, i.e. the Political, Economic and Regional Security Sections and, with sufficient experience, senior officials and ambassadors – tracks and supports meetings, event invitations, courtesy calls, visitors, phone bills, preparations for meetings; arranges travel, processes expense vouchers, etc.
- Supporting representational events and visitors – helps plan events, tracks event budgets, monitors cash for events, monitors event supplies, coordinates event attendance, maintains event guest lists, receives and records visitors, serves as control officer, etc.
- Preparing written materials – prepares briefing materials, drafts documents, facilitates agendas and follow-up from meetings, processes meeting notes, produces weekly activity reports, reviews newsletters, processes information requests, maintains procedure manuals, facilitates required reports, etc.
- Supporting management staff – edits position descriptions, trains staff, supervises staff, tracks performance reviews, participates on committees, maintains databases on office and/or management issues, maintains databases on job bidders, supports time and attendance reporting, maintains leave information, supports temporary duty staff.
- Supporting information technology and records – provides computer software support, maintains tasking system, maintains diplomatic note tracking system, supports the message tracking system, supports travel systems, uses electronic cable system, supports the embassy website, maintains biographic data, maintains files, supports funding systems, and supports other electronic record systems as needed.
- Managing office – supports emergency response processes, ensures security of classified information, tracks office equipment maintenance, procures supplies, answers phone, distributes mail, etc.
- Integrating with local culture – learns culture, develops relationships, participates in local organizations, etc.
- Assisting other offices as necessary.
Foreign Service Office Management Specialists are frequently called upon to perform a variety of special duties in addition to regular functions. They 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 an unexpected event. On a rotating basis, Office Management Specialists may also be required to be on call after hours for a week at a time to provide urgent support to any office in the mission. At small posts, Office Management Specialists may also be required to serve as Information Management Specialists (handling official telegraphic messages and diplomatic pouches). Appropriate training is provided.
All Office Management Specialist candidates must meet one of the following requirements:
- A high school diploma or equivalent and three years of office management experience; OR
- a two-year college degree in Office Management, Business Administration, Computer Technology, Web Development or other related field together with two years of office management experience; OR
- a four year college degree together with two years of office management experience.Note: In all cases, the qualifying work experience must be strongly administrative in nature.
Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet Federal job requirements for this position if the applicant provides a Foreign Evaluation Report, certifying that the 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 visit http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/policy/ApplicationOfStds-04.asp.
All qualifying work-related experience must be of a progressively responsible nature in the office management specialty. All such experience must have been performed within the last 10 years 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(s) and which required a minimum of direct supervision. Positions that have a combination of secretarial, administrative assistant or office management components should be described with percentages attributed to the amount of time devoted to the various duties. (Failure to do so may delay application processing.)
Applicants must demonstrate a strong command of the English language to include grammar, spelling and punctuation. Applicants must have a demonstrated proficiency in commonly used Microsoft Office programs (such as Outlook, Word, Excel and Power Point). A Microsoft Office Specialist certification in Word 2010 is mandatory and must be received within 30 days after passing the oral assessment for a candidacy to continue.
The following knowledge, skills and abilities, and other requirements, have been identified as important to successful job performance as an Office Management Specialist 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 – administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files/records/databases, transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology; office computer programs such as Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and SharePoint; structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar; and office equipment such as copiers, faxes, scanners, telephones, including Blackberry usage, basic computer hardware, as well as familiarity with social media platforms, etc. Basic knowledge of the U.S. Government including its structure and responsibilities is useful but not required.
Skills and Abilities – organizational, time management, problem solving, decision making, human relations, reading comprehension, service orientation, active listening, instructing, writing, persuasion, speaking, coordination, critical thinking, social perceptiveness, active learning, adaptability, professional standards, and cross-cultural.
Other requirements – worldwide available, tolerance of intensive world travel, living away from family, and working and living in difficult and/or isolated conditions. Professional-level speaking ability in a foreign language, especially a world language or a critical need language (see careers.state.gov web site for a list of critical need languages), while desirable, is not required for entry. However, it may be required for advancement to required for advancement to the highest ranks in the office management specialty.