Public Affairs Specialist

Arlington, Virginia
Sep 13, 2021
Sep 21, 2021
Full Time


This position is part of the U. S. Trade and Development Agency. The incumbent serves as a senior staff person in the USTDA's Office of Public Affairs with responsibility for developing strategic communications plans highlighting Agency programs, milestones, deliverables, and for identifying new and innovative ways to provide important information on Agency objectives and initiatives to the public and key national and international stakeholders.
Learn more about this agency


  • Develops strategic communications plans that provide important information on Agency programs and objectives to key national and international stakeholders.
  • Directs public affairs programs integrating social and digital media, written communications, multimedia and other visual information, stakeholder relations, communications planning, media relations, contingency/crisis response, etc.
  • Participates in the formulation and implementation of short-term and long-range strategies, program objectives, procedures, budget requirements, work priorities, and scheduling for the public affairs program.
  • Provides authoritative advice, guidance, and recommendations to senior officials on the formulation of national and international programs and the external interpretation of decisions and strategies.
  • Develops and implements proactive media engagement strategies and public relations campaigns, including drafting speeches for Agency officials, informational materials for the press, press releases, fact sheets, talking points, and other materials.
  • Represents the Agency and senior officials at external events, conferences, interagency meetings and seminars, reverse trade missions, and in other activities requiring authoritative representation.
  • Coordinates and collaborates with U.S. government entities to include the State Department, U.S. Embassies, and the White House to ensure approved and coordinated media responses.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • US Citizenship is required.
  • Suitable for Federal employment, determined by background investigation.
  • Direct Deposit of pay is required.
  • Selective Service registration required for male applicants, unless exempt.
  • Background and security investigation for Secret or Top Secret Clearance.


Applicants must meet the qualification requirements described below.

GS-13 Qualifications
Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience that is equivalent in difficulty and complexity to the GS-12 level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is defined as experience that is in or directly related to the line of work of this position and has equipped you with the knowledge and competencies to successfully perform the duties of this position. More specifically, this requirement involves experience:
  • developing materials and messaging designed to reach targeted audiences using the appropriate communication vehicles, including digital/social media;
  • drafting public statements for public release of information, and engagement with public and news media in addition to preparing speeches, slide presentations, and talking points;
  • implementing integrated communication plans for projects assigned to facilitate media coverage, increase public awareness, and nurture overall positive public sentiments about an organization, and;
  • preparing and/or reviewing written communications, including news releases, media alerts, talking points, speeches, reports, briefings, and correspondence; and participating in media events, conferences, workshops, training, to include the presentation of briefings to a wide variety of audiences.
GS-14 Qualifications
Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience that is equivalent in difficulty and complexity to the GS-13 level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is defined as experience that is in or directly related to the line of work of this position and has equipped you with the knowledge and competencies to successfully perform the duties of this position. More specifically, this requirement involves experience:
  • providing counsel and advice to senior officials on communication implications and external interpretation of decisions and strategies;
  • planning and implementing external and internal communications efforts and materials designed to inform and educate targeted constituencies, the media, and the general public about an organization's mission and programs, including creating strategies for social and digital content;
  • participating in the development and establishment of long range and short-term public affairs goals and priorities that integrate organizational priorities, and;
  • developing and implementing proactive media engagement strategies and public relations campaigns, including drafting press releases, speeches, fact sheets, talking points and other background materials.
Only experience and education obtained by the closing date of this announcement will be considered.

A written test is not required.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.


This job does not have an education qualification requirement.

Additional information

Telework Suitability:
The duties of this position are suitable for occasional telework and the selectee may be allowed to telework with supervisor approval and if they meet the eligibility criterion in the 2010 Telework Act , as well as agency policy.

Stipulations of Employment:
Selection may require completion of a 1-year probationary period.

If selected, you will be required to file a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 450).

Applicants must be eligible to obtain and keep a security clearance. Appointment is subject to the successful completion of a background investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.

Work Schedule:
This position allows for a flexible work schedule.

TDA uses E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit .

This position is being advertised concurrently with vacancy announcement # TDA-21-MP-11218326JS using Merit Promotion procedures. If interested, refer to that announcement to determine if you meet merit promotion requirements and can apply to that announcement. NOTE: You must apply separately to each announcement in order to be considered under both.

This vacancy announcement may be used to fill similar positions within 90 days.

If selection is made below the full performance level, promotion up to the full performance level may be made without further competition. However, promotion(s) will depend on the performance of the incumbent and are not guaranteed.

If you are unable to apply online or need to fax a document you do not have in electronic form, view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application:

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

For Category Rating: Once the application process is complete, qualified candidates will be assigned to a quality category. The category assignment is a measure of the degree in which your background matches the competencies required for this position. The categories for this announcement are defined as: Best-Qualified, Well-Qualified, and Qualified. Your resume and supporting documentation will then be used to determine if you are qualified for this job. If you rate yourself higher than is supported by your application materials, your responses may be adjusted and/or you may be excluded from consideration for this job. If you are found to be among the top candidates, you will be referred to the selecting official for employment consideration.

Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics):

  • External Awareness
  • Influencing / Negotiating
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Oral Communication
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Written Communication

The Category Rating Process does not add veterans' preference points or apply the "rule of three," but protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-preference eligible within each category. Preference eligibles who meet the minimum qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent must be listed in the highest quality category (except in the case of scientific or professional positions at the GS-09 level or higher).

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Top Secret

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Critical-Sensitive (CS)/High Risk

Trust determination process
Suitability/Fitness , National security

Required Documents

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

1. Your Resume listing work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment mm/yy and duties performed.
2. Other supporting documents:
  • College transcript(s), if qualifying based on education or if this position has a basic education requirement
  • Veterans' Preference documentation, if applicable (e.g. DD-214 Member Copy 4 showing type of discharge/character of service, SF-15 Form and related documentation, VA letter, etc.)
  • Career Transition Assistance Program/Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program Documentation: If you are applying under CTAP or ICTAP, you MUST submit proof of eligibility under 5 CFR 330.602(a) for CTAP and 5 CFR 330.704 for ICTAP. This includes a copy of the agency notice, a copy of your most recent performance rating, and a copy of your most recent SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action) showing your position, grade level, and duty location. Please annotate your application to reflect that you are applying as a CTAP or ICTAP eligible
  • Cover Letter, optional
If you are a veteran with preference eligibility and you are claiming veterans' preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 or other proof of eligibility. If applicable, you must also submit an SF-15, "Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference" plus the proof required by that form. Failure to provide this documentation may result in a non preference determination. For more information on veterans' preference (see ). It is your responsibility to ensure all required documents have been submitted prior to the closing date of the announcement.

Career Transition Assistance Programs: CTAP/ICTAP provides placement assistance to permanent Federal employees who are surplus, displaced, or involuntarily separated. Applicants claiming CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit a copy of their most recent performance appraisal, proof of eligibility, and most current SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with their application. To be considered under CTAP/ICTAP, applicants must be well-qualified (i.e., meet the minimum qualification requirements, including any selective placement factors; education, and experience requirements), score at least 85 on the assessment questionnaire, and be able to perform the duties of the position upon entry. For information on CTAP and ICTAP visit:

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