Foreign Commercial Service Officer

Washington, D.C
Jun 02, 2019
Jun 08, 2019
Full Time


The U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service (US&FCS) is one of four official Foreign Affairs Agencies under the Foreign Service Act of 1980. The US&FCS of the U.S. Department of Commerce is comprised of approximately 1,600 American and Foreign employees operating a domestic network of more than 100 Export Assistance Centers throughout the U. S. and are present in over 75 international countries.

Learn more about this agency


As a member of the Commercial Section at a U.S. Embassy, you will report to a Senior Commercial Officer and you will be assigned a range of responsibilities that may include:
  • Assessing the host country trade environment and developing U.S. Government export promotion and commercial diplomacy strategies.
  • Developing, implementing, and supervising market research, counseling, trade events, business matchmaking, outreach and other programs and services to help U.S. companies enter or expand their presence in the market and to promote investment into the United States.
  • Supporting government-to-government advocacy, dispute resolution and commercial diplomacy to "level the playing field" for U.S. companies and protect U.S. commercial interests.
  • Developing business contacts and partnerships (e.g., with state trade offices, trade event organizers, the American Chamber of Commerce, local associations and chambers of commerce).
  • Providing analyses and recommendations on advancing export-related policy issues.
  • Working with the State Department administrative and program offices.
  • Supporting other agencies as they execute their responsibilities overseas, such the U.S. Export Import Bank, the Trade Development Agency, and the Bureau of Industry and Security.
  • Overseeing performance reporting, administrative, budget, and office management operations.
  • Supervising local staff

For more detailed information about the duties of a Commercial Service Officer, please visit the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service website, .

Travel Required

75% or less - Incumbents will be in travel status for 75% of the time.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential
04 - Yes, the Foreign Service has a competitive promotion process with promotion potential to the Senior Foreign Service (SFS) level.


Conditions of Employment

  • U. S. Citizenship
  • Must be available for worldwide assignment.
  • Must maintain rigorous medical, security and suitability clearance.
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance.
  • Must receive a negative result on a drug test.
  • Must be at least 21 years old, but not older than 59 years old upon entry.
  • Male applicants must be registered with the Selective Service System.
  • Must complete initial online questionnaire and additional assessments.


WORLDWIDE AVAILABILITY: Worldwide availability is an essential qualification for appointment to the Foreign Service. Worldwide availability is defined as domestic and international. It is common for a Foreign Commercial Service Officer to be assigned to a domestic U.S. Export Assistance Center for his/her first tour of duty. Tours of duty generally last two to four years and require a global relocation. Overnight travel is also part of the job of a Foreign Commercial Service Officer.

SECURITY AND DRUG CLEARANCES: You are applying for a national security position, which means that a comprehensive background investigation will be conducted to develop information to show whether you are reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the United States. Candidates who are found unsuitable for the Foreign Service, or who cannot be granted a security clearance, are ineligible for appointment. It is the policy of the Department of Commerce to test selected applicants and employees for illegal drug use prior to employment or appointment to a Testing Designated Position (TDP).

MEDICAL CLEARANCE: Foreign Service employees must be able to serve at a wide variety of overseas posts, some of which are remote, located in cities with health and sanitation concerns, or have limited medical support. Therefore, each candidate must meet fitness standards that are often more rigorous than those of other professions. Medical disqualification renders a candidate ineligible for Foreign Service appointment. Regardless of who administers the medical exam, The Department of State's Office of Medical Service determines whether a candidate is available for assignment to all Department of Commerce posts worldwide. While medical clearance for overseas duty is an essential qualification for prospective Foreign Service employees, the Department of Commerce does not consider the medical condition of eligible family members for pre-employment purposes. However, the Department requires medical clearances for family members before they can travel overseas to accompany an employee on assignment at U.S. Government expense. Family members who, for medical reasons, are unable to accompany an employee on an overseas assignment may be eligible for a separate maintenance allowance.

AGE: The Foreign Service has a mandatory retirement age of 65. To retire under the Foreign Service retirement system, one must have at least five years of service credit under the system.

Minimum Qualifications: You must have three years of specialized experience. Specialized experience is described as experience performing duties such as:
  • Assisting with the production of market analyses that form the basis of international business-related decisions.
  • Assisting with the development or implementation of an international trade and marketing strategy for a U.S. product or service which includes identifying target foreign markets, analyzing the potential of these markets, developing a business plan to successfully establish business operations, and promoting the product or service domestically or internationally.
  • Assisting in the planning and implementation of trade promotion events such as trade fairs or trade missions.
  • Assisting in the identification of market impediments or barriers to international sales and developing strategies to overcome them.
  • Actively participating in contacts with foreign governments or other organizations to influence the outcome of business activities between U.S. companies and foreign contacts.
  • Contributing to the analysis of commercial issues requiring trade, economic, or business knowledge of one or more geographic or political regions.
  • Legal casework focused on international business issues.
  • International finance in support of American companies.
  • Business development work related to international trade and economic capacity building.

Note: Applicants who were previously separated from the Foreign Service under sections 607, 608, 610, or 611 of the Foreign Service Act as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions, will not be considered. In addition, applicants who were previously separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu thereof will not be considered.

Once the application process is complete, a review of your resume and supporting documentation will be made and compared against your responses to the assessment questionnaire to determine if you are qualified for this job. If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, you may lose consideration for this position. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your eligibility. Your qualifications for selection will be evaluated on the following competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics):
  • Accountability
  • Business Promotion/Advocacy
  • Decision Making
  • Flexibility
  • Influencing & Negotiating
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership
  • Cross-cultural
  • Managing Human Resources
  • Managing Trade Events
  • Oral Communication
  • Planning & Evaluating
  • Problem Solving
  • Teamwork
  • Written Communication


You must have a Bachelor's degree. (Transcripts must be submitted to verify this requirement.)

Foreign Education: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, visit:

Your resume MUST include the following information and it is subject to verification by your references. Failure to do so may disqualify you from consideration for the position for which you are applying.
  • Full name, mailing address (including zip code), and day and evening telephone numbers.
  • U.S. Citizenship.
  • If you are registered for Selective Service if you are a male born after 12/31/59.
  • Work experience including the specific dates (mm/yy) of each employment ALONG with THE NUMBER of hours worked per week. Include paid and non-paid job-related work experience.
  • For each job listed you are to provide: a) Job title b) Duties and accomplishments c) Employer's name and address d) Supervisor's name and phone number e) Starting and ending dates(mm/yy) f) Salary g) For Federal jobs also include the position title, series, and grade/pay band.
  • References.

Additional information

APPOINTMENT TO THE FOREIGN SERVICE - GRADE: This is an entry-level position in the Foreign Service as a career-candidate Foreign Commercial Service Officer leading to career status. Starting Foreign Service grade and salary are commensurate with experience. The current base salary range for FS-04 is $56,711 - $83,282 per year, plus additional locality pay determined by duty location. For example, an officer serving in Washington, D.C. would have a salary range of $73,338 - 107,700.

TENURE: Employees entering the Foreign Service will have up to five years to become career officers, according to the provisions of the Foreign Service Act. The Commissioning and Tenure Board will review individuals in accordance with the Commissioning and Tenure policy. During the five-year period, the employee will be required to attain proficiency in a foreign language at a level prescribed by and tested at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center. If an employee does not receive tenure, he/she may not continue with the US&FCS.

LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY: While not required for initial appointment as a career candidate, applicant's proficient in foreign languages, especially Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Russian are highly desired. Proficiency in foreign languages may enhance the competitive standing of applicants who pass the assessment process and are selected for the Rank Order Register. Proof of language proficiency will be required. Additional information will be provided to those candidates who pass the assessment process.

VETERANS' PREFERENCE: Candidates who can document creditable veterans' service by submitting form DD-214 will be given additional points on the Rank Order Register if they pass the assessment process. Documentation will be collected at a later stage in the process.

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY (EEO) EMPLOYER: The Department of Commerce 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.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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


The highest-ranking applicants who pass Phase I as determined by scores on the Occupational Skills Questionnaire, Situational Judgment Test, Writing Exercise, and an evaluation of applications and resumes will be invited, at their own expense, to participate in an Assessment Center in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, in August 2019. Invitees will be notified in advance of the specific date and location for the Assessment Center.

Phase II

The Assessment Center is a day-long testing process that takes place in person in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, consisting of an oral and written examination on subjects of general and commercial interest, including individual and group exercises. The Assessment Center measures competencies, including: Accountability, Business Promotion/Advocacy, Decision Making, Flexibility, Influencing & Negotiating, Interpersonal Skills, Leadership, Cross-cultural, Managing Human Resources, Managing Trade Events, Oral Communication, Planning & Evaluating, Problem Solving, Teamwork, and Written Communication. Candidates who are invited to the Assessment Center will receive more detailed information on the assessment process with their invitation. Successful candidates will be placed on a rank-order register. Offers of appointment are made as vacancies become available based on the needs of the Service.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Top Secret

Drug test required

Required Documents

Guidance for requesting a reasonable accommodation for the Project Management Assessment will be provided in the email invitation you will receive if you are invited to complete this assessment.

If you need to request a reasonable accommodation for the Assessment Center, please notify the contact identified in this vacancy by the closing date of this announcement.

Complete application consists of the following:
  • Complete online application, including responses to personal information, and Occupational Skills Questionnaire.
  • Resume describing relevant experience. Experience described in resume must be adequately detailed to determine if you meet the qualifications. For this reason, you are encouraged to give specific and detailed descriptions of the work they performed in each position and the projects you completed with an extensive description about what the work entailed.
  • Transcripts, official or unofficial.

  • IMPORTANT: FAILURE TO SUBMIT (VIA FAX OR UPLOAD) THE APPLICABLE DOCUMENTS MAY EXCLUDE YOU FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION. You may submit required and/or supplemental documents through any of the following methods: 1. Upload your file(s); 2. Download from your USAJOBS account; and 3. Fax using the fax cover sheet.

    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.

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