Staff Assistant

U.S. Federal Government - Cambridge, MA4.3

This is the position of Staff Assistant in the John G. Wolbach Library, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The purpose of the position is to provide administrative support to the Division’s staff.

Provides administrative, accounting, budgeting, and reporting support to the Library department. These duties include preparing and maintaining a variety of administrative documents, entering requisitions, purchase orders, petty cash reimbursements, and maintaining databases related to expense tracking and reporting.
Manages calendars and schedules associated with library services and resource renewals. Maintains office supply inventory.
Reviews and budget checks Library purchases for accuracy of accounting classification and budget status in online systems.
Submits requests for personnel actions; maintains staff database. Provides orientation and administrative help to new staff, visitors, and students.
Manages mailings by sorting incoming/outgoing mail and print subscriptions. Manages communications with vendors who provide services to office and library equipment (e.g. printers, shelving).
Maintains and certifies time and attendance submission for employees within the Library. Must be knowledgeable of regulations to assist employees in adhering to proper accounting of one’s time.
Reviews and certifies the Library’s Travel Authorization in Concur systems for accuracy of accounting information and required supporting documents.
Performs other duties (e.g. circulation desk staffing) in collaboration with Library staff as required.
Travel Required
Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential

Job family (Series)
0301 Miscellaneous Administration And Program


Conditions of Employment
Pre- and post-appointment background
May be required to serve a one-year probationary period.
Direct Deposit/Elect Funds Transfer required for salary payment.
Qualification requirements are derived from the Office of Personnel Management's Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions.

Additional qualification information including education substitution can be found from the following Office of Personnel Management website:


Grade 9: One year of full-time experience equivalent to the grade 7 in federal service that is close or similar to the work of this position. The experience includes activities such as budget, office administration and support, experience working in a Library and interacting with patrons and vendors.
Education: master's or equivalent graduate degree or 2 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree relevant to the position qualifies for grade 9.


Equivalent combination of education and experience is qualifying for grade 9.

Additional information
The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses.
The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity.

How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above. The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

Knowledge of office and scholarly communication practices in order to keep accurate records, communicate clearly and succinctly, and handle a large workflow in a timely, expeditious manner.
Knowledge of business management principles and ability to employ those principles to support library staff in a research setting.
Demonstrated knowledge and skill in applying the principles, practices, methods and techniques of preparing budgets and monitoring expenses.
Demonstrated knowledge of web-based systems, business software applications such as MS Office, and electronic communication systems.
Ability to use integrated financial and travel systems.
Excellent interpersonal, writing and organization skills. Knowledge of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and standard business correspondence to ensure accuracy of documents and professionalism in communication.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance
Security clearance
Public Trust - Background Investigation

Drug test required

Required Documents

Required Documents
Your application package should include the following documents:
Detailed resume
Transcripts (if qualifying through education)
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.


A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits .

Review our benefits

Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.