Communication Specialist, GS-0301-11/12 MP

Alexandria, Virginia
Oct 22, 2021
Oct 29, 2021
Full Time


The employee serves as a Communication Specialist in the Office of the Assistant Director(OAD), in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE). The employee liaises closely with the directorate's program staff to help ensure credibility, clarity, and consistency of SBE's communications effort with the research community and internally within NSF.

Learn more about this agency


Copy Editing and Writing
  • Reviews and performs AP style copy editing and proofreading of all programmatic content and other web or mass email content, such as announcements and events.
  • Performs AP style copy editing for various documents including Congressional inquiries, research highlights, annual reports, and presentations.
  • Incorporates feedback and edits from SBE's lead communications specialist and SBE leadership.
  • Drafts copy for mass emails, internal announcements, events, and other outlets.

Content Management and Clearance Coordination
  • Utilizes NSF's web content management systems to facilitate corrections, updates and other content changes to programmatic information published on public-facing or internal-facing NSF websites.
  • Ensures content authored and submitted by SBE staff is properly routed, assigned, and reviewed.
  • Serves as a resource for staff in SBE divisions who are drafting and submitting programmatic information for publication on NSF websites.
  • Serves as a resource for SBE staff on the preparation and clearance of official NSF documents, such as program descriptions and solicitations.
  • Oversees the programmatic content review process as SBE's clearance coordinator. Works to ensure edits and other changes are reviewed promptly by stakeholders.
  • Reviews, edits, and publishes events submitted by SBE staff for publication on NSF's public events calendar.
  • Reviews, edits, and publishes internal-facing announcements submitted by SBE staff.

Mass Email Communications
  • Performs layout and schedules of mass email messages aimed at researchers utilizing NSF's mass email platform, including resizing, and cropping images, writing descriptive text, and effectively utilizing various message layout templates.
  • Maintains and monitors subscriber lists for SBE-specific email topics in NSF's mass email platform.

Content Analytics and Metrics
  • Analyzes and reports on metrics and analytics for web pages and mass email messages.
  • Utilizes analytics and metrics to maximize the effectiveness of SBE's communications products and recommend changes.

Performs other duties as assigned.

  • Writing and Editing
  • Digital Content Management
  • Teamwork/Collaboration
  • Oral Communication
  • Attention to Detail

  • Travel Required

    Not required

    Supervisory status

    Promotion Potential


    Conditions of Employment

    • Background investigation.
    • Selective Service registration required for male applicants, unless exempt.
    • US citizenship.

    It is NSF policy that NSF personnel employed at or IPAs detailed to NSF are not permitted to participate in foreign government talent recruitment programs. Failure to comply with this NSF policy could result in disciplinary action up to and including removal from Federal Service or termination of an IPA assignment and referral to the Office of Inspector General. Foreign Talent Definitions

    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). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    Time in Grade Requirement: Applicants who have held a General Schedule (GS) position within the last 52 weeks must have 52 weeks of Federal service at the next lower grade or equivalent.

    You must meet eligibility and qualification requirements within 30 days of the closing date.

    You must answer all job-related questions in the NSF eRecruit questionnaire and any external assessment that is included.

    All online applicants must provide a valid email address. If your email address is inaccurate or your mailbox is full or blocked, you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.

    This position is in the bargaining unit.


    To qualify at the GS-11 level, you must have one of the following:

    1. At least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-9 level in the Federal service. Examples of specialized experience include: writing, copy editing and proofreading articles, press releases or other content covering scientific or other complex technical topics in lay language. Assisting in authoring and publishing web content using a modern content management system.
    2. A Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree.
    3. Three full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree.
    4. A combination of post high school education and experience that combined meet the qualification requirements for this position.

    To qualify at the GS-12 level, you must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 level in the Federal service. Examples of experience include: Writing, copy editing and proofreading articles, press releases or other broadly accessible content covering scientific or other complex technical topics in lay language. Performing digital content management, including overseeing the authoring and publication process in a multi-user environment using a modern content management system.

    In addition to meeting the specialized experience requirement described above, all candidates must meet the following selective factor. Candidates who do not show in their resume that they meet the selective factor will not receive consideration for the position.

    Selective Factor:
  • Has demonstrated professional experience writing and copy editing articles, press releases or other written content describing complex scientific or technical topics using lay language for a general audience using the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook.
  • I. If yes, attach two samples of scientific and/or technical written content you have copy edited for lay audiences using AP style, with tracked changes clearly indicating the content before and after copy editing. Scientific and/or technical written content must include material that uses lay language to describe the results, process and/or impacts of complex research in one or more science or technology field. Please note, applications without two copy editing samples attached will not be considered.

  • Education

    Education may be substituted for experience as described in "Qualifications."

    Additional information

    Relocation Expenses will not be paid.

    Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP):
    ICTAP and CTAP provide eligible displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. If your agency has notified you in writing that you are a displaced employee eligible for ICTAP or CTAP consideration, you may receive selection priority if: 1) this vacancy is within your ICTAP or CTAP eligibility; 2) you apply under the instructions in this announcement; and 3) you are found well-qualified for this vacancy. To be well-qualified you must meet the following: OPM qualification requirements for the position, all selective factors, where applicable; special OPM approved qualifying conditions for the position; is physically qualified with reasonable accommodation, where appropriate, to satisfactorily perform the duties of the position upon entry; and receives a rating of at least "Very Good" on the questionnaire. You must provide proof of eligibility with your application to receive selection priority. Such proof may include a copy of your written notification of ICTAP or CTAP eligibility, or a copy of your separation personnel action form.
    Additional information regarding ICTAP or CTAP eligibility is available from OPM's Career Transition Resources

    Veteran's Preference:
    If you are entitled to veterans' preference, you should indicate the type of veterans' preference you are claiming on your resume. Your veterans' preference entitlement will be verified by the employing agency. For 5-point veterans' preference, please provide your DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), official statement of service from your command if you are currently on active duty, or other official documentation (e.g., documentation of receipt of a campaign badge or expeditionary medal) that proves your military service was performed under honorable conditions. For 10-point veterans' preference, please submit a Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, DD-214, and the required documentation as specified on the SF-15.

    NSF has determined that all of its positions are eligible for telework. Work suitable for telework depends on job duties; therefore, employees must receive approval from their supervisor for telework and have a telework agreement in place. Entering into a telework agreement is voluntary.

    For additional information on the NSF eRecruit system, please visit our NSF eRecruit Applicant Guide .

    This announcement may be used to fill like positions in other organizations within the National Science Foundation.

    The Selected Candidate(s) may be subject to a background investigation.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

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

    Ratings will be assigned based on your responses to the occupational questionnaire. In some cases, additional assessment processes may be used.

    Review your resume and responses carefully. Responses that are not fully supported by the information in your application package may result in adjustments to your score. A Human Resources Representative will validate the qualifications of those candidates eligible to be referred to the selecting official.

    Applicants eligible for selection preference under the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) must meet the agency definition of "well qualified." At NSF, this means a score of 90.0 or higher.

    In the merit promotion selection process, formal performance appraisals may be considered if voluntarily submitted by the applicant.

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

    Position sensitivity and risk
    Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

    Trust determination process

    Required Documents

    If you are an NSF employee on or eligible for a permanent, competitive service position or you are an NSF employee who is reinstatement eligible based on prior Federal permanent, competitive service, you need not submit documents to confirm status. All applicants are required to provide a resume, in any format they choose. Cover letters are optional.

    If you are not an NSF employee as described above, but you are eligible under merit promotion , under an Interchange Agreements , under a non-competitive authority , or under a similar authority , you will be required to submit supporting documentation. This will typically require the submission of one or more of the following documents:

    1. Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50s) or comparable federal agency forms to verify your eligibility for reinstatement and/or grade/step/salary if you are a current or former permanent federal civil service employee.
    • SF-50 must indicate that appointment is/was to a competitive service position with permanent tenure or conditional tenure within the last three years; OR, to a similar position in the excepted service at an agency that has an Interchange Agreement.
    • An example of a comparable agency form is a personnel action from a DOD Non-appropriated Fund organization or from the US Postal Service for a current and continuing appointment without a break in service.
    • Documents that are NOT comparable and NOT acceptable substitutes for a SF-50 include a SF-52, a Performance Appraisal form, a Personnel Action Request (PAR), or a Request for Personnel Action (RPA).

    2. Performance appraisals and awards may be considered during the evaluation process if voluntarily submitted.

    3. DD-214 (Member-4 copy); and if applicable, the Department of Veterans Affairs Notice of Compensable Disability Rating from applicants requesting consideration under the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA), Veteran Recruitment Act (VRA), or the disabled veterans appointing authority.

    4. Schedule A Certification - from applicants requesting consideration under the Schedule A appointing authority for disabled applicants.

    5. Other - Documentation which verifies you are eligible to be appointed to a permanent position in the federal competitive civil service.

    If you are requesting consideration under a Special Hiring Authority listed below, you must submit the required documentation as outlined in the regulation or Executive Order. Please also annotate your application to reflect that you are applying under a special hiring authority. If you are requesting consideration under a Special Hiring Authority not listed below, please email or reach out to the point of contact listed on the vacancy announcement.

    • Returned Peace Corp Volunteers
    • Certain Military Spouses (Executive Order 13473)
    • Former Overseas Employees
    • Foreign Service Employees
    • Career Service Employees
    • Postal Rate Commission Employees
    • Government Accountability Office (GAO) Employees
    • Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Employees

    If you are requesting special employment consideration under the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) or
    CTAP, you must submit documentation provided by your current or former employing agency verifying your eligibility for that program. 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.

    If qualifying based on education, you must submit TRANSCRIPTS (unofficial copies are acceptable) or a DIPLOMA that verifies that the requirement is met.

    All uploading must be completed before 11:59 PM Eastern time on the vacancy closing date.

    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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