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Public Affairs Specialist

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Falls Church City, Virginia, US
Closing date
May 21, 2022

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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Full-time $89,834 - $138,868 a year 2 days ago
  • Health insurance
  • Editing
Full Job Description

As a Public Affairs Specialist your duties will include, but are not limited to, the following:

Serving as a senior Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) spokesperson with reporters and the media about sensitive, complex, highly visible, and controversial matters, some of which may have international significance;
Responding to inquiries for information and interviews from national and international wire services, television and radio networks, nationally and internationally circulated newspapers and magazines, the legal community, interest groups, consultants, and the public;
Establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with representatives of the news media, representatives of non-government organizations (NGOs), and with FWS employees in the headquarters, regional and field offices; Department of the Interior public affairs specialists; and employees of other agencies, bureaus, and offices;
Authoring and producing a wide variety of FWS media advisories, news releases, official statements, talking points, announcements, letters, internal memoranda, and related materials concerning assigned program areas; and
Assisting regional program managers with communications strategy, planning and implementation focusing on regional and national conservation priorities and long-term proactive goals.

Conditions of Employment
Must be a U.S. Citizen or National.
Individuals assigned male at birth after 12-31-59 must be registered for Selective Service. To verify registration visit
Resume and supporting documents (See How to Apply).
Suitability for employment, as determined by background investigation
Probationary Period: Selectees may be required to successfully complete a probationary period.
Only experience and education obtained by 05/26/2022 will be considered.

In order to qualify for this position you must meet minimum qualification requirements:

Minimum Qualification [GS-13]
At least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-12 grade level in the federal service. Examples of specialized experience include: implementing communication plans and outreach strategies to improve understanding by various audiences; writing and editing briefing materials and talking points for senior officials for media interviews, public speeches, or employee broadcasts; preparing speeches, news releases, opinion pieces, feature stories, letters to the editor, and other materials for public distribution; building or establishing partnerships with partners who may have opposing points of view; developing multimedia information products (podcasts, blogs, slide shows and other interactive media) and effectively utilizing web, text, graphics, photos, audio, video, and other social media to convey information.
Minimum Qualification [GS-12]
At least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the federal service. Examples of specialized experience include: developing, reviewing and editing outreach and communication plans and associated outreach materials, such as news releases, briefing papers, media advisories, and FAQs on science and conservation issues and topics; writing and producing a wide variety of other informational products for print, video, web and multimedia, such as web and social media posts, feature stories, blogs, fact sheets, and newsletter and magazine articles.

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.

PROOF OF EDUCATION: All applicants who are using education or a combination of education and experience to qualify must submit copies of official or unofficial transcripts which include grades, credit hours earned, major(s), grade point average or class ranking, institution name, and student name. If any required coursework is not easily recognizable on transcripts, or if you believe a portion of a particular course can be credited toward meeting an educational requirement, you must also provide a memorandum on letterhead from the institution's registrar, dean, or other appropriate official stating the percentage of the course that should be considered to meet the requirement and the equivalent number of units. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable; however, if you are selected for the position, you will be required to produce the original official transcripts.

PASS/FAIL COURSES: If more than 10 percent of your undergraduate course work (credit hours) were taken on a pass/fail basis, your claim of superior academic achievement must be based upon class standing or membership in an honor society.

GRADUATE EDUCATION: One academic year of graduate education is considered to be the number of credits hours your graduate school has determined to represent one academic year of full-time study. Such study may have been performed on a full-time or part-time basis. If you cannot obtain your graduate school's definition of one year of graduate study, 18 semester hours (or 27 quarter hours) should be considered as satisfying the requirement for one year of full-time graduate study.

FOREIGN EDUCATION: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education. For further information, visit:

Additional information

Telework: This position is suitable for telework and may be allowed to telework with supervisory approval.

Additional Vacancies: One or more positions may be filled from applications received under this announcement in the advertised office or other U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service offices in the local commuting area.

Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP):Department of Interior (DOI) Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) procedures apply in filling this vacancy. 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 click here


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. Opens in a new windowLearn more about federal benefits.

Review our 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 You Will Be Evaluated

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

You will be evaluated based on how well you meet the qualifications listed in this vacancy announcement. Your qualifications will be evaluated based on your application materials (e.g., resume, supporting documents), the responses you provide on the application questionnaire, and the result of the online assessments required for this position. You will be assessed on the following competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics):

Knowledge of conservation issues, Federal wildlife law and regulations, and natural resource and wildlife management topics in order to convey in layman's terms, complex technical information in a clear, accurate, interesting, and engaging manner that captures the attention and meets the needs of the news media and the public.
Comprehensive knowledge of and skill in developing, planning, and executing communication plans and outreach strategies for the dissemination of information for a wide variety of target audiences, including members of Congress, regional and national Service officials, officials of state and local government, NGOs, and a culturally diverse public to improve public understanding of Service and wildlife issues.
Expert writing ability and skill in order to author news releases, public service announcements, presentations, feature articles, opinion pieces, speeches, and web-based multimedia products designed to convey complex information in a clear, accurate, interesting, and engaging manner to publics with varying levels of comprehension of agency programs and policies, or opposition or indifference to the agency's program objectives.
Skill in establishing and maintaining working relationships with a variety of individuals, some of whom have opposing points of view.
Mastery level knowledge of communication principles, methods, practices, and techniques in order to function as a communications authority for a wide variety of complex, sensitive, and highly visible Service activities and initiatives and to develop and disseminate written and oral information to the news media, partners, stakeholders, Congress, NGOs, and the general public.
Attention to Detail, Customer Service, Flexibility, General, Influencing/Negotiating, Integrity/Honesty, Interpersonal Skills, Learning, Reading Comprehension, Reasoning, Self-Management, Stress Tolerance, Teamwork, and Technical
In order to be considered for this position, you must complete all required steps in the process. In addition to the application and application questionnaire, this position requires an online assessment. The online assessment measures critical general competencies required to perform the job.

All 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 category ratings for this position are: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified

The category rating process protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-preference eligibles within each quality category. Veterans' preference eligibles who meet the qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent will be listed in the highest quality category (except in the case of scientific or professional positions at the GS-09 level or higher).


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. Opens in a new windowLearn more about federal benefits.

Review our 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.

Required Documents

As a new or existing federal employee, you and your family may have access to a range of benefits. Your benefits depend on the type of position you have - whether you're a permanent, part-time, temporary or an intermittent employee. You may be eligible for the following benefits, however, check with your agency to make sure you're eligible under their policies.

You must submit a complete application package. We will not make assumptions about your experience and/or education.

Required Documents:
1. Resume: You are highly encouraged to use USAJOBS Resume Builder to ensure all required information is included in your Resume. If you use your own resume, curriculum vitae, or any other written form you choose then you must describe your job-related qualifications that includes beginning and ending dates for paid and non-paid work experience, hours worked per week, month and year of employment for each job title listed, annual salary, and description of job duties. Include name and address of employer; supervisor name and telephone number. Additional information on what to include can be found here. Your experience needs to address every required qualification.

Additional Documentation, if applicable:
1. Cover Letter

2. Veterans' Preference Documentation: If you are a veteran with preference eligibility and you are claiming 5-point veterans' preference, you must attach a copy of your DD-214 Member Copy 2 or 4 showing you were honorably discharged. If you are claiming 10-point veterans' preference, attach an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference in addition to the proof required by that form (i.e. VA letter). You may not be awarded preference if you do not attach the correct Veteran Documentation as specified above.

3. CTAP/ICTAP 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.

4. College Transcripts: Please refer to the education section above for additional information. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. A copy of your official transcripts may be required if you are selected.

If you are requesting a reasonable accommodation to the USA Hire Competency Based Assessments, submit documentation to support your request, including the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form found here

Failure to submit any of the above-mentioned required documents may result in loss of consideration due to an incomplete application package. It is your responsibility to ensure all required documents have been submitted

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.

How to Apply

Note on Expanded Telework Posture: Due to COVID-19, the USFWS is currently in an expanded telework posture. If selected, you may be expected to temporarily telework. Once employees are permitted to return to the office, you will be expected to report to the duty station listed on this announcement in accordance with the Department's re-entry procedures. At that time, you may be eligible to request to continue to telework one or more days per pay period depending upon the terms of the USFWS telework policy.

Review the appointment eligibility criteria in the application preview linked below. The eligibility section of the application allows you to choose how you wish to be considered for this vacancy announcement. You will ONLY be considered for the eligibilities that you select "yes" to and submit the required supporting documentation, as listed in the Required Documents section or the application text.

Click 'Apply' to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account.

Follow the prompts to complete the announcement questionnaire and upload required documents. To preview the announcement questionnaire, click
Please ensure you check the acknowledgement checkbox then click the Submit Application button to submit your application.
Applications must be received by 05/26/2022 to receive consideration by 11:59pm ET.
After submitting an online application, you will be notified whether or not you are required to take additional online assessments through the USA Hire Competency Based Assessment system. This message will be delivered to you via email notification. The email may be routed to your "Spam" or "Junk" folder.5. If you are asked to take the USA Hire Competency Based Assessments, you will be presented with a unique URL to access the USA Hire system. Access to USA Hire is granted through your USAJOBS login credentials. Be sure to review all instructions prior to beginning your USA Hire Assessments. Click here for Computer System Requirements
Note, set aside at least 3 hours to take these assessments; however, most applicants complete the assessments in less time. If you need to stop the assessments and continue at a later time, you can re-use the URL sent to you via email and also found on the Additional Application Information page that can be located in the application record in your USAJOBS account.
Check application status by logging into your USAJOBS account, in Applications tab, click the position title you applied to for the status.

To update your application please review instructions here
For information on what each Application Status means, visit: USAJOBS Help Center | How to see your application status

To verify the status of your application both during and after the announcement open period, log into your USAJOBS account: All of your applications will appear on the Welcome page. The application record in your USAJOBS account provides an Additional Application Information page that provides information regarding the documentation you submitted and any correspondence we have sent related to this application, including the invitation to take the USA Hire assessment. The Application Status will appear along with the date your application was last updated.

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:

Reasonable Accommodation Requests: If you believe you have a disability (i.e., physical or mental), covered by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended and Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 as amended, that would interfere with completing the USA Hire Competency Based Assessments, you will be granted the opportunity to request a reasonable accommodation in your online application. Requests for Reasonable Accommodations for the USA Hire Competency Based Assessments and appropriate supporting docum
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