The U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service (US&FCS) is one of four official Foreign Affairs Agencies under the Foreign Service Act of 1980. The US&FCS of the U.S. Department of Commerce is comprised of approximately 1,600 American and Foreign employees operating a domestic network of more than 100 Export Assistance Centers throughout the U. S. and are present in over 75 international countries.
Learn more about this agency
This is an entry-level position as a Foreign Commercial Service Officers (FCSO). FCSOs serve as members of the Commercial Section at an U.S. Embassy domestically and internationally and report to a Senior Commercial Officer.
As a Foreign Commercial Service Officer, FP-1140-04 you will:
- Assess host countries’ trade environment and develop U.S. Government export promotion and commercial diplomacy strategies
- Develop, implement, and evaluate market research, counseling, trade events, business matchmaking opportunities, outreach and other programs and services to help U.S. companies enter or expand their presence in the market and to promote investment into the United States
- Support government-to-government advocacy, dispute resolution and commercial diplomacy to “level the playing field” for U.S. companies and protect U.S. commercial interests
- Develop business contacts and partnerships (e.g., with state trade offices, trade event organizers, the American Chamber of Commerce, local associations and chambers of commerce)
- Provide analyses and recommendations on advancing export-related policy issues
- Collaborate and establish partnerships with the United States Department of State administrative and program offices
- Support other agencies as they execute their responsibilities overseas, such the U.S. Export Import Bank, the Trade Development Agency, and the Bureau of Industry and Security.
- Provides performance reporting, administrative, budget, and office management operational oversight
- Supervises local staff
For more detailed information about the duties of a Commercial Service Officer, please visit the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service website, http://www.trade.gov/jobs/world-of-opportunity.html .
75% or less – Incumbents will be in travel status for 75% of the time.
04 – Foreign Service has a competitive promotion process for potential promotion to the Senior Foreign Service (SFS) level.
Conditions of Employment
- Must be a U.S. Citizen or National to apply.
- Must be available for worldwide assignment.
- Must maintain rigorous medical, security and suitability clearance.
- Must be able to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance.
- Must receive a negative result on a drug test.
- Male applicants must be registered with the Selective Service System.
Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.
Specialized Experience: To qualify for the FP-1140-04, you must possess three years of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 level in the Federal service, or comparable private sector experience. You must demonstrate experience in at least five of the following examples:
1.) Assisting with the production of regional and/or international market analyses that form the basis of business for business-related decisions;
2.) Assisting with the development and/or implementation of an international trade and marketing strategy for a U.S. product or service which includes identifying target foreign markets, analyzing the potential of these markets, and developing a business plan to successfully establish business operations and promoting the product or service domestically or internationally;
3.) Assisting in the planning and implementation of trade promotion events such as trade fairs or trade missions;
4.) Serving as a liaison with foreign governments or other organizations to influence the outcome of business activities between U.S. companies and foreign markets and contacts;
5.) Contributing to the analysis of commercial issues requiring trade, economic, or business knowledge of one or more geographic regions;
6.) Researching legal casework focused on international business issues;
7.) Managing international finance in support of American companies;
8.) Leading business development work related to international trade and economic capacity building.
Possess a Ph.D or equivalent doctoral degree with a major in international policy, commerce, management, development; intercultural relations, global economy, government and foreign affairs, international business, international trade, international economics, international affairs, international relations, or other related fields of study.
A combination of education and experience.
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 .
Trade Specialist Series
EDUCATION according to Individual Occupational Requirements (IOR):
Basic Requirement: An undergraduate or graduate degree with a major in global business management, global public policy, international finance, business administration, textile and apparel studies, political science, economics, marketing, international trade, international business, international affairs, international relations, international economics, or other related fields of study. Degree must be completed within 90-days of the closing date. IOR
College Transcript: You must submit a copy of your college transcript that lists college courses detailing each course by the number and department (i.e., bio 101, math 210, etc.), course title, number of credit hours and grade earned. You must submit evidence that any education completed in a foreign institution is equivalent to U.S. education standards with your resume. You may submit an unofficial copy of the transcript at the initial phase of the application process. If course content cannot be easily identified from the title of the course as listed on your transcript, you must submit an official course description from the college/university that reflects the content at the time the course was taken.
Note: Your college transcript is used to verify successful completion of degree, or college course work. An official college transcript will be required before you can report to duty.
Foreign Education: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, visit: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html
Conditions of Employment:
WORLDWIDE AVAILABILITY: Worldwide availability is an essential qualification for appointment to the Foreign Service. Worldwide availability is defined as domestic a
nd international. It is common for a Foreign Commercial Service Officer to be assigned to a domestic U.S. Export Assistance Center for his/her first tour of duty. Tours of duty generally last two to four years and require a global relocation. Overnight travel is also part of the job of a Foreign Commercial Service Officer.
SECURITY AND DRUG CLEARANCES: You are applying for a national security position, which means that a comprehensive background investigation will be conducted to develop information to show whether you are reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the United States. Candidates who are found unsuitable for the Foreign Service, or who cannot be granted a security clearance, are ineligible for appointment. It is the policy of the Department of Commerce to test selected applicants and employees for illegal drug use prior to employment or appointment to a Testing Designated Position (TDP).
MEDICAL CLEARANCE: Foreign Service employees must be able to serve at a wide variety of overseas posts, some of which are remote, located in cities with health and sanitation concerns, or have limited medical support. Therefore, each candidate must meet fitness standards that are often more rigorous than those of other professions. Medical disqualification renders a candidate ineligible for Foreign Service appointment. Regardless of who administers the medical exam, The Department of State’s Office of Medical Service determines whether a candidate is available for assignment to all Department of Commerce posts worldwide. While medical clearance for overseas duty is an essential qualification for prospective Foreign Service employees, the Department of Commerce does not consider the medical condition of eligible family members for pre-employment purposes. However, the Department requires medical clearances for family members before they can travel overseas to accompany an employee on assignment at U.S. Government expense. Family members who, for medical reasons, are unable to accompany an employee on an overseas assignment may be eligible for a separate maintenance allowance.
AGE: Must be at least 21 years old, but not older than 59 years old upon entry. The Foreign Service has a mandatory retirement age of 65. To retire under the Foreign Service retirement system, one must have at least five years of service credit under the system.
BARGAINING STATUS: This position is in the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA)
LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY: While not required for initial appointment as a career candidate, applicant’s proficient in foreign languages, especially Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Russian are highly desired. Proficiency in foreign languages may enhance the competitive standing of applicants who pass the assessment process and are selected for the Rank Order Register. Proof of language proficiency will be required. Additional information will be provided to those candidates who pass the assessment process.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
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.
The evaluation process for the FCSO position occurs in two phases:
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 Skills Questionnaire, Situational Judgment Test, and Writing Exercise. The highest-ranking applicants as determined by their scores and validated by the resume and supporting documents will be invited to participate in a virtual Assessment from November 30, 2020 to December 11, 2020. Invitees will be notified in advance of the specific date, IT requirements/specifications and virtual platform for the Assessment Center.
* WRITING SAMPLE: All applicants must complete the individual occupational questionnaire and additional assessment (writing sample questions).
The virtual Assessment Center is a day-long testing process consisting of an oral and written examination on subjects of general and commercial interest, including individual and group exercises. The Assessment Center measures competencies, including: International Relations, Leadership, Managing Human Resources, Accountability, Business Promotion/Advocacy, Decision Making, Flexibility, Influencing & Negotiating, Conflict Management, Change Management, Interpersonal Skills, Research, Cross-cultural, Managing Trade Events, Oral Communication, Planning & Evaluating, Problem Solving, Teamwork, and Written Communication.
Candidates who are invited to the Assessment Center will receive more detailed information on the assessment process with their invitation. Successful candidates will be placed on a rank-order register for up to 24 months. Offers of appointment are made as vacancies become available based on the needs of the Service.
*Note: Applicants who were previously separated from the Foreign Service under sections 607, 608, 610, or 611 of the Foreign Service Act as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions, will not be considered. In addition, applicants who were previously 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 will not be considered.
To preview questions please click here .
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
Position sensitivity and risk
High Risk (HR)
Trust determination process
Credentialing , Suitability/Fitness , National security
- Resume showing relevant experience (required); 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 non-paid 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 Member 4 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/get-service-records.html
- Education. 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 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.