This position is located in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in the Office of the Undersecretary, in Silver Spring, MD.
This position is also announced under vacancy number SO-UNSEC-2018-0008, which is open to all status candidates. You must apply to both announcements if you want to be considered for both.Learn more about this agency
As a Public Affairs Specialist, you will perform the following duties:
• Serve as a junior level spokesperson for NOAA Communications with guidance from senior public affairs staff.
• Communicate daily with the news media about the agency’s science, services and operations by building relationships with journalists and arranging media interviews, news conferences, and pitching news stories about NOAA programs.
• Proactively develop news releases, talking points, communications plans, letters-to-the-editor, op-eds, and social media content for agency sites.
• Work with supervisors to provide feedback and public affairs advice to the NOAA Communications director and deputy director.
4 - If you are selected for a position with further promotion potential, you may be non-competitively promoted if you perform successfully and if recommended by management.
Job family (Series)
Conditions of Employment
This position will be filled under the DOC Alternative Personnel System (CAPS). This system replaced the Federal GS pay plan and
structure. Under CAPS, positions are classified by career, pay plan, and pay band.
The ZA-3 is equivalent to the GS-11/12.
The full performance level is at the ZA-4. The ZA-4 is equivalent to the GS-13/14.
*A one year probationary period may be required.
*Payment of relocation expenses is not authorized.
*This position is not in the bargaining unit.
This Job Opportunity Announcement may be used to fill other Public Affairs Specialist, ZA-1035-3 positions throughout NOAA. The position must be
alike (e.g.: within the same geographic locations, same grade/band and requires the same qualifications and specialized experience as
indicated in this vacancy announcement).
Applicants must meet ALL application requirements, to include a complete online resume, by 11:59 p.m. EASTERN TIME (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.
Qualification requirements in the vacancy announcements 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's website located at: http://www.opm.gov/qualifications.
EDUCATION: There is no positive education requirement for this position.
SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: Applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to the next lower grade level in the Federal Service. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies/knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position. This experience need not have been in the federal government.
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.
To qualify at the ZA-3 or GS-11 level:
SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: One full year (52 weeks) of specialized experience equivalent to the ZA-2 or GS-09 in the Federal service. Specialized experience MUST include all of the following:
- Communicating with the print, broadcast and web media on a variety of stewardship topics.
- Arranging media interviews and news conferences to pitch new stories about an agency/organization’s programs.
- Writing a variety of materials such as press releases, flyers, ads, scripts, speeches, and articles to enable the media to cover an organization’s activities and to increase public awareness of its programs and activities.
- Writing news releases, social media content, talking points, and op-eds to inform/educate the general public and targeted audiences.
SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION: Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree or LL.M., if related
COMBINATION OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE: A combination of education and experience. NOTE: Only graduate education in excess of two full years is qualifying for a combination of education and experience.
CTAP and 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 Silver (Well-Qualified). Information about ICTAP eligibility is on the Office of Personnel Management’s Career Transition Resources website at: Employee Guide to Career Transition
CTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents:
- A copy of your specific RIF notice; notice of proposed removal for failure to relocate; a Certificate of Expected Separation (CES); or certification that you are in a surplus organization or occupation (this could be a position abolishment letter, a notice eligibility for discontinued service retirement, or similar notice).
- A copy of your SF-50 “Notification of Personnel Action”, noting current position, grade level, and duty location;
- A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and
- Any documentation from your agency that shows your current promotion potential.
ICTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents:
- A copy of your RIF separation notice; notice of proposed removal for failure to relocate; notice of disability annuity termination; certification from your former agency that it cannot place you after your recovery from a compensable injury; or certification from the National Guard Bureau or Military Department that you are eligible for disability retirement;
- 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, etc;
- A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and
- Any documentation from your agency that shows your current promotion potential.
NOAA participates in e-Verify. E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that enables participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
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 the three pre-defined categories. The categories are “gold”, “silver” and “bronze”. However, your resume 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 eligible 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. For more information on Category Rating, please go to Category Rating.
The scored occupational questionnaire will evaluate you on the following competencies; please do not provide a separate written response:
- Ability to support an organization by effectively communicating with internal and external stakeholders.
- Ability to build relationships with media outlets to communicate about NOAA.
- Knowledge of oral and written communication.
- Ability to communicate feedback and provide advice.
To preview questions please click here.
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
- 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 must include information about your paid and nonpaid work experience related to this position including: job title, duration of employment (mm/dd/yy – mm/dd/yy), hours per week, duties and accomplishments, salary, and your education. For work in the Federal service, please include the grade level for the position/s. Your resume may be used to validate your responses to the scored occupational questionnaire.
- If you are a veteran with preference eligibility and you are claiming 5-points veterans' preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 stating disposition of discharge or character of service or other valid proof of eligibility (i.e., statement of service that shows service dates AND character of service). If you are claiming 10-point veterans' preference, you must also submit an SF-15, "Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference" plus the proof required by that form. For more information on veterans' preference see http://www.opm.gov/staffingPortal/Vetguide.asp#VeteransEmploymentAct1998.
- Active Duty Service Members-- You must submit a statement of discharge/certification of release or an official written document from the armed forces that certifies you are expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions no later than 120 days from the date the announcement closes. Enlisted Record Briefs and military identification do NOT qualify as official documentation. If the appropriate information is not submitted to confirm the discharge status, dates of service, etc., you will not be considered for this job opportunity under Veteran Preference procedures. To gain access to your DD-214 online please visit http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records
- Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) and 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. Special Instructions for Foreign Education: Education completed in foreign colleges or universities 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 by the closing date of the announcement will result in lost consideration.
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.
NOAA offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the benefits offered to most Federal employees at 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.
How to Apply
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 http://www.usajobs.gov. 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 http://www.usajobs.gov 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 e-mail at email@example.com 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 an alternate format, please contact the Agency email listed in this vacancy announcement.
Agency contact information
Office of Human Capital Services
1305 East West Highway
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
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 http://www.usajobs.gov and clicking on “Track Your Online Application.” The four points of notification are:
- Application Received or Application Incomplete
- Minimum Qualification Requirement Met or Minimum Qualification Not Met;
- Eligible (Application Referred to the Selecting Official) or Ineligible (Application Not Referred to the Selecting Official); and
- 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.).
Fair & Transparent
The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.
Reasonable Accommodation Policy
Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.
A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:
- An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.
You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Legal and regulatory guidance
This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/509880700. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.