This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Public Affairs Specialist-DEU

Department:Department Of Commerce

Agency:Minority Business Development Agency

Job Announcement Number:MBDA-OND-2013-0012

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$62,467.00 to $97,333.00 / Per Year


Monday, January 28, 2013 to Monday, February 04, 2013




Competitive Service: Career or Career-Conditional - Full-time Permanent




Few vacancies in the following location(s):
Washington, DC, USView Map
20230View Map


All qualified United States citizens. This vacancy is being advertised under Delegated Examining procedures & is open to all U.S. citizens. This vacancy is being concurrently advertised under merit promotion procedures for status candidates (those currently serving on a career/career-conditional appointment, reinstatement eligibles, or those eligible under special appointing authorities) under vacancy announcement# MBDA-OND-2013-0011.


Come be a part of the only federal agency solely dedicated to promoting the growth and global competitiveness of the Nation's 5.8 million minority-owned firms. The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is addressing the challenges and opportunities faced by these firms by developing programs that provide the keys to entrepreneurial success. You will join an entrepreneurially focused and innovative organization committed to building a new generation of minority-owned corporations for the purpose of job creation and economic prosperity.

The mission of Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce is to foster the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned firms in the United States. This is accomplished primarily through a nationwide network of MBDA Business Centers staffed with business experts who provide minority entrepreneurs with strategic business consulting services designed to assist with access to contracts, capital and markets. The efforts of the agency cross public, private, state and local governmental, business and institutional interests. The programs impact heavily on job creation, economic revitalization, community sustainability as well as regional, national and global competitiveness. This position is located in the Office of Legislative, Education and Intergovernmental Affairs (OLEIA) and fulfills critical role in support of the Agency's advocacy and outreach efforts. This office serves as the focal point for all MBDA communications, marketing, public affairs and legislative activities. The incumbent will serve as a Press Secretary and is relied upon to perform a full range of communications, marketing, and public affairs assignments by coordinating, advising and collaborating with other Agency units and Departmental organization. A one-year probationary period may be required.


  • Relocation expenses are not authorized.
  • Must be suitable for Federal employment.
  • Must be a United States Citizen.
  • Registered for Selective Service if applicable (
  • One year of specialized experience at the next lower grade.
  • One year probationary period may be required.


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Writes, edits, and manages news releases, media advisories, public statements, opinion-editorials, guest columns and other material for distribution externally to MBDA. Works with MBDA and Commerce public affairs staff on coordinating draft material and responses to media queries. Writes, researches, develops and pitch story ideas to media representatives. Develops and executes tactics to take advantage of alternative media outlets including specialty media, social media, and other emerging opportunities.

Drafts and coordinates responses to news media inquiries about MBDA functions, policies, programs and activities as directed by senior public affairs staff and advise senior public affairs staff on press related activities.  Researches, prepares, and presents analysis of media coverage, news releases, and public service program effectiveness and impact.  Prepares press relations material for distribution and coordinates the posting of news releases to MBDA Web site, e-mail distribution lists, and news release distribution services.

Maintains press relations media contact data; develops and maintain local and specialized lists of media outlets and representatives.  Plan and coordinates logistics for press events and media interviews with MBDA officials, including the preparation and presentation of press briefing materials to MBDA officials.  Keeps abreast of federal policies and procedures concerning press relations activities and advises MBDA officials on implications on media strategies.   


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This position is being advertised at the GS-11/12 levels. You must possess 1 year of specialized experience at the next lower grade level as follows: For the GS-11, one year of specialized experience at the GS-09 or equivalent pay band. Specialized experience is defined as experience assisting in implementing programs designed to inform the public and special interest groups; planning and assisting in executing public information programs and public relations campaigns; working with radio, television or printed media and editors of online news sources; drafting talking points or other types of multi-media presentations; writing, designing, or editing brochures, news releases, booklets, or newsletters; and assisting in planning press conferences. For the GS-12, one year of specialized experience at the GS-11 or equivalent pay band. Specialized experience is defined as experience implementing programs designed to inform the public and special interest groups; planning and executing public information programs and public relations campaigns; working with radio, television and printed media and editors of online news sources; drafting and editing speeches, talking points, and other types of multi-media presentations; writing, designing, and editing brochures, news releases, booklets, and newsletters; and planning press conferences and other media events. You will be required to provide two writing samples (i.e., press release, article, speech, or blog content). Applicants must meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement. Qualification requirements in the vacancy announcement are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook, which contains federal qualification standards. This handbook is available on the Office of Personnel Management website located at

GRADE 11  

EDUCATION:  Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or 3 full years of progressively higher-level graduate education leading to such a degree that provided you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the work of a Public Affairs Specialist. 

GRADE 12 Education cannot be substituted for experience at this grade level.

You will be required to provide proof of U.S. citizenship if selected for this position. Applicants must meet requirements by 11:59pm EASTERN STANDARD TIME on the closing date of this announcement. Security Clearance: This position will require a security clearance. Any required investigations and clearances must be completed before the selectee can be placed in the position.


We will review your resume, optional cover letter and supporting documentation to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for the position.  If you meet the minimum qualifications stated in the vacancy announcement, we will compare your resume, optional cover letter and supporting documentation to your responses on the scored occupational questionnaire (True/False, Yes/ No, Multiple Choice questions) and place you in one of three pre-defined categories.  These categories are “gold,” “silver,” and “bronze.”  However, your resume and/or optional cover letter must support your responses to the scored occupational questionnaire, or your score may be lowered.  Candidates placed in the “gold” category will be identified for referral to the hiring manager and may be invited for an interview. 

How you will be evaluated for preference eligibility: Within each category, those entitled to veterans’ preference will be listed at the top of the pre-defined category for which they are placed.  Preference eligibles with a service-connected disability of 10% or more will be listed at the top of the highest quality category (gold) depending on the position and grade level of the job.  The scored occupational questionnaire will evaluate you on the following competencies; please do not provide a separate written response: 1. Knowledge of media relations, public affairs, communications, marketing and branding programs. 2. Skill in executive level speech-writing and presentations, drafting business and industry talking points, and journalistic writing capabilities. 3. Ability to design and edit promotional materials, brochures, event flyers, newsletters and other printed materials. 4. Skill in Web 2.0 technologies and creation of multi-media content. 5. Knowledge of Minority Business Development program activities and materials to elevate minority business development issues to achieve the highest public awareness. 6. Ability to plan, coordinate and implement press conferences and similar events.  

For more information on category rating, please go to:

To preview questions please click here.


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The Department of Commerce offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the benefits offered to most Federal employees at


ICTAP candidates will be eligible if it is determined that they have exceeded the minimum qualifications for the position by attaining at least a rating of 85 out of 100.  Information about ICTAP eligibility is on the Office of Personnel Management’s Career Transition Resources website at:

ICTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents:

  1. A copy of your RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for failure to relocate, notice of disability annuity termination, or certification from the National Guard Bureau or Military Department that you are eligible for disability retirement.
  2. A copy of your SF-50 “Notification of Personnel Action”, documenting your RIF separation, noting your positions, grade level, and duty location, and/or Agency certification of inability to place you through RPL.
  3. A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and
  4. Any documentation from your agency that shoes your current promotion potential.

The following links provide information on how you may be eligible for various hiring authorities:


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Your complete application, including required documents, must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement. To apply on-line, you must complete and submit an application by accessing the USAJOBS website at To begin, click the Apply Online button near the bottom of this screen and follow the prompts to register into your USAJOBS account, answer the questions, and submit all required documents. To return to your saved application, log in to your USAJOBS account at and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select Apply Online to continue. If you have problems completing your on-line application, including problems submitting your supporting documents, please contact the Help Desk by email at or by phone at 866-656-6831. The help desk is available Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. For instructions on submitting your application in another format, please contact: Christine Covington, at 202-482-3041 or email at


A complete application consists of the following:


  • Resume showing relevant experience; cover letter optional.  Your resume must indicate your citizenship and if you are registered for Selective Service if you are a male born after 12/31/59.  Your resume should also list your educational and work experience including the dates (mm/dd/yy) of each employment along with the number of hours worked per week.  Your resume may be used to validate your responses to the scored occupational questionnaire.
  • Veterans’ Preference documentation.  Please indicate on your resume the type of veterans’ preference you are claiming and provide the appropriate supporting documentation (DD-214 stating disposition of discharge or character of service, VA letter, SF-15, etc.) to validate your claim.  For more information regarding eligibility requirements, please go to:
  • Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) documentation, if applicable (see other information).
  • Education.  If this position requires proof of higher education, you must submit an unofficial transcript or a list of courses that includes the following information:  name of accredited institution, grades earned, completion dates, and quarter and semester hours earned.  Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the requirements.  Please refer to for more information.
  • Two writing samples (i.e., press article, speech, or blog content.) 

You are not required to submit official documents at this time; copies are sufficient.

Special Instructions for Foreign Education:  Qualifying education from colleges and universities in foreign countries must be evaluated in terms of equivalency to that acquired in U.S. colleges and universities. Applicants educated in whole or in part in foreign countries must submit sufficient evidence, including transcripts, to an accredited private organization for an equivalency evaluation of course work and degree. A listing of these accredited organizations can be found on the Department of Education's website - You must provide a copy of the letter containing the results of the equivalency evaluation with a course by course listing along with your application. Failure to provide such documentation when requested will result in lost consideration.


Christine Covington
Phone: 202-482-3041
Fax: 571-258-4052
Agency Information:
1401 Constitution Ave NW
Rm 7417
Washington, DC
Fax: 571-258-4052


You will be notified of your application status through USAJOBS at four points during the hiring process, as applicable. You can check the status of your application by accessing the USAJOBS website at and clicking on "Track Your Online Application." The four points of notification are: 1. Application Received or Application Incomplete; 2. Minimum Qualification Requirement Met or Minimum Qualification Requirement Not Met; 3. Eligible (Application Referred to the Selecting Official) or Eligible (Application Not Referred to the Selecting Official); and 4. Selected or Not Selected By submitting your application, you are certifying the accuracy of the information contained in your application. If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; you may be terminated after you begin work; or, you may be fined or jailed. After making a tentative job offer, we will conduct a suitability/security background investigation. You will be required to submit official documentation prior to appointment. The agency will then verify the information provided on your application (i.e., degree, veterans' preference, disability, etc.).

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