Monday, October 18, 2010

GENERAL SERVICES OFFICER $53,003 - $77,837 per annum

Announcement No: GSO 2010-0003
Opening Date: October 13, 2010
Closing Date: November 1, 2010


Grade and Starting Salary Range:
FP-4, $53,003 - $77,837 per annum

Additional Benefits: Tax Free Housing Overseas, Tax Free Educational Allowance for eligible dependents, etc. (See Compensation and Benefits for more information)

Number of Vacancies: The Department of State maintains a rank-order list of eligible candidates to fill entry-level Foreign Service General Services Officer vacancies. The specific number to be hired depends on the needs of the Foreign Service.

Area of Consideration: All Sources. Applicants must be U. S. citizens between the ages of 21 and 59, able to qualify for a top secret security clearance, and available to serve world-wide.

Location: Initial assignment will be to the Department of State in Washington, DC, 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.

For more information, please contact HR/REE at 202-203-5161 or

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

Applicants must be American citizens and at least 20 years old to apply and 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.


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 General Services 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:

Contracting – manages contracts, develops acquisition documents, coordinates contracting at post, and coordinates contracting with the State Department in Washington.

Procurement & supply, including warehouse management – monitors support services standards, identifies procurement support needs, prepares budgets, manages procurement of supplies, manages procurement of documents, determines warehousing needs, procures and manages warehouse space, ensures warehouse security, and manages freight handling.

Property & space management – develops property requirements, manages property utilization policies, coordinates property with others, accounts for properties, and manages maintenance.

Travel & transportation – manages travel and transportation, serves as transportation liaison, and manages motor pool.

Customs & clearances – obtains clearances, informs others about import-export regulations, and serves as customs liaison.

Supervision of staff – supervises American direct hire personnel, manages locally employed staff, encourages staff training, and ensures equal employment.

Waste, fraud, & mismanagement program – maintains internal controls, and manages purchase cards for acquisitions and for official travel.


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. A career in the Foreign Service involves uncommon commitments and frequent hardships, as well as unique rewards and opportunities. As a member of a diplomatic team, you will help to accomplish the mission of the Department of State and also be a representative of your country to the people of other nations. A decision to enter this career must involve unusual motivation and a firm dedication to public 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.

Many overseas posts are in small or remote countries where harsh climates, health hazards, and other discomforts exist and where American-style amenities frequently are unavailable. Personal security frequently becomes an area of concern, particularly in countries where there is political unrest or terrorist activity. Family members are not permitted at an increasing number of posts. 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 in the representation of gender, geographic region, race and ethnicity within its work force.


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 on 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.


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 have acquired 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.


Applicants for the position of General Services Officer must have a minimum of six years of experience in the last 10 years, 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 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:

Responsibility for scheduling large shipments of domestic or overseas freight and managing customs clearances.
Experience in negotiating contracts.
Experience in procurement practices and procedures.
Supervision of inventory of supplies and equipment.
Supervision of contractual services for utilities and equipment.
Experience in negotiating for the purchase and leasing of real property.
Supervision of maintenance, repair and services of office and residential buildings.
Supervision of motor pool operations, including management and servicing of vehicles.
Experience in managing a pool of housing, developing space assignments and maintaining individual units.
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.


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

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 general experience.

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.

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 visit


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 possibly 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.

In cases where education is substituted for experience, copies of college transcripts, diplomas, etc. must be presented at the time of oral assessment. These materials become the property of the Department of State and will not be returned. Failure to adequately substantiate education and work experience by virtue of documentation and verification will result in termination of your application for the position of General Services Officer.


Please note: the Gateway to State online application system will be unavailable during the weekend of October 23-24, 2010. Applications-in-progress will be accessible and available for submission after that weekend. Please subscribe to receive email updates about this vacancy.

Applications must be submitted electronically through the "Gateway to State" system. To access this system please click here, or on the Gateway to State icon at the top of the page. Please note that the deadline to submit completed applications is November 1, 2010.

As part of the online application, applicants will be asked to submit the following required documents:


A. Supplementary Questionnaire

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 various aspects of the work of General Services Officers. The information you give will be used to help structure your oral examination/interview should you be invited to one.

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.

Demonstrated experience in management and supervision of staff involved in general services work outlined in the Description of Duties and Responsibilities. (Management Skills)

Ability to plan and organize work under pressure of tight deadlines and rigid time frames in difficult circumstances. (Planning and Organizing Skills)

Demonstrated skill and experience in contracting, evaluating, negotiating, and awarding contracts. (Substantive Knowledge)

Experience living and working in a multicultural environment, either overseas or in the U.S. (Cultural Adaptability)
B. A Narrative Autobiography (two-to-three page typed equivalent – no more than 5,000 characters) which discusses your:

personal background,
general comments on your work experience,
personal interests, travel and hobbies, and
motivation for joining the Foreign Service.
C. Fax College Transcripts

All applicants with college degrees must fax their college transcripts. These documents must be faxed before the closing date of this announcement, which is midnight eastern time.

Applicants will be prompted to print out a fax coversheet once they have successfully submitted their application.

If you are selected for an interview, you will be asked to bring your official college transcripts to your oral assessment.

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.

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. 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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