Regional Public Engagement Specialist
United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer
Announcement Number: RPES-2017-0001
Position Title: Regional Public Engagement Specialist (formerly Information Resource Officer)
Open Period: 02/15/2017 to 02/28/2017
Salary: $60,270 – $80,998
Promotion Potential: 01
Duty Locations: Many vacancies – Department of State Posts – Overseas and Domestic, United States
Supervisory Status Yes
Position Information: Work Schedule is Full-Time – Permanent after tenure granted by a Foreign Service Specialist (FSS) Tenure Board.
Who May Apply
Must be a U.S. citizen. Potential applicants should read the entire announcement to ensure that they meet all of the requirements and understand a Foreign Service career.
Applicants may not reapply for one year after the previous application for the same position.
If a State Department Suitability Review Panel denied suitability in the last two years, you may not apply (except Diplomatic Security Special Agent (SA) candidates whose denial was based solely on the unique requirements for SAs.)
The U.S. Department of State, our country’s lead foreign policy agency, provides a rich international experience whether at home or abroad, and opportunities to become responsible leaders.
Each day, our employees make a difference as they contribute to our global society and defend and advance our country’s interests and values. They work on the business of diplomacy and high priority issues that impact the safety, security, and prosperity of our world – human rights, environment, energy, food security, public health, and technology – all while experiencing a unique career.
Our talented workforce reflects and champions all of our strengths and diversity – personal, professional, and educational. We offer a workplace that values and rewards leadership, collaboration and innovation, and personal and professional development.
The Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) is the principal international strategic communications service for the foreign affairs community. IIP provides worldwide outreach platforms for public diplomacy and partnerships with policy experts and missions to design and execute outcome-oriented programs that engage foreign audiences to advance U.S. foreign policy.
American Spaces are in-person engagement platforms where visitors participate in discussions on issues affecting U.S. foreign policy and learn about the U.S. The Washington-based American Spaces Office establishes overall program policy, provides technical and administrative support, coordinates centralized acquisition of digital information resources, funds and tracks American Spaces projects, and manages training programs for staff. The RPES is responsible for ensuring that American Spaces fulfill this important role within the Department.
In addition to Education requirements, applicants must possess a minimum of:
- Three years of Specialized Experience and a required Bachelor’s or Master’s for consideration at FP-04 level
- Five years of Specialized Experience and a required Master’s degree for consideration at FP-03 level
RPES formerly was called Information Resource Officer (IRO). The RPES duties, requirements, and qualifications differ from IRO. Read this entire Announcement to see the requirements for Specialized Experience and Education level/majors and the RPES duties.
The Department of State is developing a rank-order list of eligible hires for a limited number of FS Specialist (FSS) vacancies based on the needs of the Department.
Foreign Service RPESs provide professional leadership and project management expertise to over 700 American Spaces at U.S. embassies and consulates, partner institutions, and to the hundreds of U.S. government (USG) and partner staff who operate them. Through technology interfaces and strategic travel within the assigned region, RPESs provide professional direction and guidance to American Spaces by:
- Using expertise and a high level of understanding of new communications tools and technologies to conduct training for American Spaces and Public Affairs staff on a wide variety of IIP platforms, digital tools, and analytics tools. Using data driven decision making, monitor and improve performance of American Spaces.
- Developing new products and services by conceptualizing and proposing new program ideas and operational procedures; serving as a member of product development teams; and testing and evaluating new commercial products for use in American Spaces.
- Performing advisory functions for public affairs officials on IIP platforms and programs and maximizing the utilization of American Spaces as key venues to engage foreign publics on U.S. foreign policy matters. Additionally, they advise IIP on overseas program environments; monitor trends and developments; and report on the impact of IIP products and platforms.
- Serving as project manager for American Spaces initiatives, to include managing fiscal resources; explaining IIP policies and procedures; identifying sources of funding and assisting with funding requests; and reporting on results of American Spaces. Coordinate major projects, such as American Spaces construction or renovation, where multiple stakeholders are involved. For some American Spaces projects, serves as the official Contracting Officer’s Representative or Grants Officer’s Representative.
- At some posts, directly supervising Locally Employed (LE) Staff and managing their home post’s American Space(s).
An RPES must adhere to the highest standards of integrity, dependability, attention to detail, teamwork and cooperation while accepting the need to travel, to live overseas, and when necessary, to live away from family.
- Occasional Travel
- An FSS generally spends the majority of his/her career assigned to the Department of State’s overseas missions and at times, lives away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions. Selected applicants will be notified of an Oral Assessment (OA) requirement in Washington D.C. For the selected applicants, all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.
- After completing orientation and initial training in Washington, D.C., an FSS usually is assigned to two overseas tours, each two years in length, directed by the Department. After the initial two tours, assignments will be for periods of one to three years overseas or in the United States.
- Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.
- Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
- Be able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
- Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.*
- Be at least 20 years old and at least 21 years old to be appointed.
- Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).**
Specialized Experience demonstrates that the applicant has acquired, and is able to apply, a combination of specific knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to a Foreign Service RPES position.
Applicants must demonstrate that their job-related experience has been at progressively increasing levels of performance and responsibility through such indicators as promotions, raises, increases in duties and responsibilities, and organizational and employee impact.
At the time of application and in addition to Education requirements, applicants must possess a minimum of:
- Three years of Specialized Experience and a required Bachelor’s or Master’s for consideration at FP-04 level
- Five years of Specialized Experience and a required Master’s degree for consideration at FP-03 level
Examples of Specialized Experience include, but are not limited to:
- Overseeing the budgeting and planning process within an assigned portfolio, including evaluating and assessing the outcomes of the programs.
- Developing, managing, and coordinating public engagement events (workshops, conferences, presentations, etc.)
- Designing programming most likely to be effective in influencing the attitudes and/or behaviors of targeted groups, and to evaluate the impact of programmatic activities, using data to adjust as needed to improve results.
- Using and guiding others in using evaluation tools and techniques to analyze quantitative and qualitative data and metrics using a variety of tools and methods, to inform resource allocation decisions, staffing, and programmatic options.
- Developing curricula and conducting or facilitating training in areas such as project management, strategic programmatic planning, presentation skills, digital literacy, digital content development, audience targeting, developing and delivering innovative policy-relevant programming, information campaigns, and interactive engagement techniques.
- Developing, implementing, and leading community engagement efforts.
- Analyzing data to identify and recommend priorities to develop, direct, and organize multiple stakeholder work plans. Resolving organizational, operational, and cross-cultural problems.
In addition to meeting the requirements above, applicants must possess excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communications skills, and a strong customer service orientation.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
- Information Technology and Digital Platforms: Advanced knowledge of existing and emerging technologies and digital tools relevant to developing, deploying and evaluating targeted, outcome-oriented information campaigns informing, educating and persuading, and methods of information storage, organization and disposition.
- Event Management: Basic knowledge of the practices employed by cultural, entertainment, educational, social and other public engagement forums, venues or institutions to attract, cultivate and impact audiences.
- Commercial Information Products and Services: Advanced knowledge of commercial products, platforms or services for the development, dissemination, and impact analysis of informational content.
- Project Management: General understanding of the planning and execution of a physical facility or an emerging technology systems renovation/upgrade, including: development of the overall scope and delivery of a project, and managing cost, schedule, staffing, and training through the use of project management best practices and methodologies.
- Information Campaign Management: Advanced knowledge of managing and developing content, planning, executing and analyzing a targeted information campaign, maintaining a programmatic calendar, methods to drive and track consistent, relevant traffic and leads to digital information/engagement platforms.
- American Culture: Basic knowledge of American culture, values and customs, political and social institutions, history and contemporary affairs.
Fiscal Management Principles: Basic understanding of how budget and fiscal resources using public trust funds are allocated in large organizations.
- Using Current and Emerging Information Technology and Digital Platforms: Advanced applicable skill in using current and emerging information technology (e.g., social media, web and mobile technology, applications tools for project management, communication and analytics) in order to assess how they can contribute to improving outcome-oriented engagement.
- Digital Campaign Management: Advanced skill in social media engagement of audiences, and analyzing data/reports to make adjustments in strategy and methodologies.
- Developing Outreach and Promotional Strategies: Advanced skill in developing promotional material and strategies for targeted dissemination of information products, programs, or services.
- Managing Change: Advanced interpersonal and management skills in order to motivate individuals and teams as they transition to new organizational goals, structures and ways of working (e.g., transition to cloud, social, mobile environments, collaborative team-based environments, changed reporting patterns).
- Training: Advanced skill in designing, organizing and conducting staff training.
- Conducting Assessments for Program Evaluation: Advanced skill in designing and implementing surveys and other evaluative tools in order to collect data to support assessments of the quality and effectiveness of programs, products, platforms and services.
- Building Peer Relationships: Advanced skill in sharing professional insights, ideas, observations (e.g., through presentations, participation in communities of practice, real time collaborative tools) that contribute to institutional and/or program development.
- Organizational Management: Advanced skill in planning, organizing, and managing human and fiscal resources to bring about the successful completion of projects that support or achieve defined goals. Advanced project management skill in liaising with private sector contractors, on physical plant requirements, renovations, remodeling or structural enhancements.
- Public Speaking and Presentations: Advanced communication skills to publicly articulate and explain objectives, environmental and societal norms and values, both in current and historical contexts, in order to advance understanding.
- Working in Cross Cultural Environments: Basic skill in working effectively with multicultural staff, in the U.S. or overseas, to design, implement, evaluate and promote programs in a cross cultural environment.
- Budget Management: Basic skill in preparing and monitoring budget and financial reports in order to assure that funds are used appropriately.
- Staff Development: Basic skill in assessing employee performance, strengths, weaknesses and professional development needs in order to manage and direct staff for optimum productivity and effectiveness.
- Negotiating and Conducting Procurement of Goods & Services: Basic skill in negotiating the purchase and licensing arrangements, contractual terms, subscription rates of specialized applications, products and services within applicable regulations.
- Formulate Strategic Goals: Documented understanding and ability of the strategic goals formulation process of large organizations.
- Align Abilities and Talent with Organizational Vision: Ability to adapt individual abilities and talents to align with a larger organization’s strategic goals and objectives. Ability to recognize and develop complementary talent and abilities in others.
- Locate, curate and adapt information from a wide variety of sources to achieve a programmatic objective.
At the time of application, applicants must possess, in addition to at least three years’ Specialized Experience in the last 10 years:
- A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited program in Library Technology, Media and/or Communications, Public Relations, Museum Studies, or Marketing; or
- A Master’s degrees in Library Science, Media, Culture and Communication, Media and Strategic Communication, Media Entrepreneurship, International Marketing, Museum Studies, or Public Administration.
You must submit all transcripts supporting your educational achievements for you to receive credit.
Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted for the application process. Your transcript must include your name, the school’s name, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of the key elements above will not pass the minimum qualifications and the candidacy will be ended. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order to be credited towards qualifications.
Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying. Click on the link for a list of accredited organizations recognized as specializing in interpretation of foreign education credentials.
What To Expect Next
Once submitted, your application status on USAJobs will change from “received” to “referred” or “not referred” after the close of the announcement. This status on USAJobs will not be updated further.
Additional notifications to applicants concerning the application status will be by e-mail from the U.S. Department of State.
Due to the high volume of applications, we ask all applicants to remain patient and await communication. It is not uncommon for several months to pass before you are informed of the results of your applications.
We recommend adding the Department of State domain (@state.gov) as an approved sender.
For more information, please visit https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/selection-process.
Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, a chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Overseas benefits include tax-free housing and tax-free education allowance for dependent children between K-12 overseas.
For information on FS Salary, please visit https://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/foreign-service-salary-matching-pay-tables-danger-pay-overseas-moving-expenses-and-taxes.
*The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit: https://fam.state.gov/.
**For more information about Veteran’s Preference and how it is applied in the FSS Selection Process, please visit: https://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/are-veterans-given-hiring-preference-.
No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections §607, §608, §610 or §611 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no applicant will be considered who has previously been separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section §306 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu thereof.
An FSS separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be an FSS in the same skill code, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service Generalist).
Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 US Code 3303 as amended from accepting or considering prohibited political recommendations and are required to return any prohibited political recommendations to sender. In addition, as mandated by 5 US Code 3110, relatives of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.
It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors.
The Department of State provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations for any part of the application or hiring process should so advise the Department at ReasonableAccommodations@state.gov, within one week of receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.
This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/464023100. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.
How to Apply
You should submit your application early, not waiting for the deadline, as application packages must be complete, submitted, and received by the closing date to be considered. There are no exceptions.
- From this Vacancy Announcement, click on “Apply.” Go to the USAJobs Log In screen and log into your USAJobs account or follow the link and instructions to create an account.
- Follow the USAJobs Application Process and provide your required USAJobs federal online resume. USAJobs will transfer you to the State Department agency online application site. Follow the instructions and answer the online questions. Your Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest responses must be completed in the online application. You may save your work and can return to the application from USAJobs at any time prior to the deadline.
- The application system allows up to four methods to submit required documentation: Transfer documents from a USAJOBS portfolio; upload documents from your computer; resubmit documents from a previous application; or fax. If you are submitting documents by fax, you must follow the fax directions, and generate and use the fax coversheets for your set(s) of documents.
- After you attach all of your required supporting documentation, answer all the required application questions, and complete the application steps, please review the entire application packet, including the links for your submitted documents.
- Confirm and submit your application package, which will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this position.
Application Submission Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date of this announcement to complete the application process and successfully submit any documentation required in this Vacancy Announcement.
If you are having technical difficulty with the application process, please contact the Monster Government Services Help Desk by calling 1-866-656-6830 or by emailing email@example.com. The Help Desk is available Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm Eastern Time.
For more information on the FSS hiring processes, please visit our FAQs at https://careers.state.gov/faqs.
If you have any questions regarding FS careers, please visit our Careers.State.Gov site and post your question(s) on the appropriate Forum in the Connect section: https://careers.state.gov/connect/forums.
How You Will Be Evaluated
Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, awards, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.
To preview questions please click here.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required documents are uploaded and the application is fully completed before the closing deadline of this announcement. Any missing required documents or incomplete applications will result in your application not being considered further.
- USAJobs Résumé Builder is the résumé format that is accepted for this Vacancy Announcement.
- Completed online application including the required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest narratives in the online application.
- Uploaded/faxed all required supporting documentation including proof of educational achievements, certifications, professional licenses, or completed forms as required in this Vacancy Announcement to qualify for this position.
- If claiming a 5 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214. If claiming a 10 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214.
Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest
These required questions provide an opportunity to describe examples and accomplishments from your education, life, and/or work experience that demonstrate your qualifications for becoming an FSS. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. The information you give may be used in your oral assessment should you be invited and is an important factor in the competitive evaluation of applicants. Each response is limited to 300 words or fewer (maximum length 2,000 characters) for each item. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as an FSS is the ability to write clearly and concisely. Answers to the all of the items in the Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest are required and must be completed in the online application.
Substantive Knowledge: Describe your skills, knowledge and experience that are applicable to performing the work described in this Vacancy Announcement including experience in supervision and performance management of subordinate staff.
Intellectual Skills: Describe an example of when you used such skills to respond to unanticipated circumstances to solve a problem.
Interpersonal Skills: Describe how you have used your interpersonal skills in a specific situation to resolve a problem or achieve a goal.
Communication Skills: Describe a situation in which you used your communication skills, including foreign language skills if appropriate, to further an aim or achieve a goal.
Management Skills: Describe a project you managed or helped to manage and how you planned and organized, set priorities and allocated time and resources to achieve the project’s goals.
Statement of Interest
Required narrative Statement of Interest which discusses your:
- Motivation for joining the Foreign Service,
- Comments about your work experience, including special skills (e.g. computer), current licenses, honors, awards, special accomplishments, and/or training (with date completed) relating to this position, and
- Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in U.S.