9252 Communications Specialist

Recruitment #TEX-9252-075535


APPOINTMENT TYPE: Temporary Exempt. This position is excluded by the Charter from the competitive Civil Service examination process and shall serve at the discretion of the Appointing Officer for a period of up to three (3) years.

We are hiring two Communication Specialists through this recruitment who will work collaboratively; one position will focus on digital communications and serve as the digital content manager; the other position will be a generalist and focus on internal and external communication efforts.


The San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) helps San Francisco residents experiencing poverty and abuse. Our 2,200+ employees provide a range of services to approximately 250,000 diverse San Franciscans, including: low-income individuals and families trying to access medical insurance, food, and cash assistance; aging adults and children who are victims of neglect or violence; parents seeking affordable childcare; veterans who need help navigating complicated federal benefits; older adults and people with disabilities who need support to live at home; and those who die without  having others willing to handle their estate. Our work depends on a close partnership with over 150 dedicated community organizations, and you, by joining our team in the Agency’s Communication’s Office.


Why Join the Communications Team?

We are at an exciting juncture in our communications work.  We recently hired a Communications Director and are in the process of building a communications team and infrastructure to make our critical services more accessible to the public.


Over the coming months and years, we will:

·       Launch a new custom-built, user centered website, currently under development;

·       Launch a rebranding strategy, with the help of an outside communications firm;

·       Develop internal and external communications plans, with targeted, data-driven outreach campaigns and materials;

·       Overhaul our major collateral materials to describe a holistic set of supports and make our quality human services more accessible to the public; and finally,

·       Move toward more digital, on-line delivery system of human services.


The Human Services Agency’s communications strategies and needs are often impacted by developments in state and federal policies and budget priorities.  Our communications team is responsible for connecting San Franciscans to vital social services and keeping the public informed about public assistance such as the Affordable Care Act, food stamps, early education, and local services to support our aging population. At a time of great uncertainty at the federal level—particularly for immigrant communities—you will help shape and modernize the way one of the most progressive human service agencies in the nation communicates about a safety net system that touches nearly one in four San Franciscans.  


We are looking for someone who is:  


We want talented people with diverse experiences, who are inspired by our mission. We seek those who are excellent writers and communicators, strong collaborators, and reflective thinkers to join our growing team.  We want creative, tech savvy, flexible, and analytically minded individuals who can communicate the compelling story of our work through clear, accessible collateral materials, social media, and engaging data visualizations for print and the web.  We need people who are self-motivated to get the job

done, are able to build relationships, and manage a variety of communications projects across HSA and consultant teams.


What you will do (Essential Duties):

General Functions

1.      Develop public relations and digital marketing programs that support HSA’s brand strategy objectives, engage the public, and identify innovative methods to bring targeted messages to market.

2.      Support communication efforts that advance HSA’s policy and legislative agenda. 

3.      Create and develop informative, user-friendly, customer-focused, and visually compelling content across all distribution channels (i.e. websites, social media, mobile-applications, broadcast, video, photography, and print marketing collateral) for both internal and external communications.

4.      Prepare and issue press releases and articles concerning the Agency’s role in the community, current issues and relevant legislation through various mediums; maintain consistency in the website and print material design; respond to complaints or requests for information; ensure that all content is in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. 

5.      Contribute to the development and implementation of project strategy and work plans for future expansion of all communication channels by managing activities including, but not limited to targeted messages, copy, on-going implementation of marketing campaigns, presentations and talking points for internal audiences and external stakeholders.

6.      Monitor communication campaigns for effectiveness with the goal of increasing access and enrollment in HSA’s array of programs;

7.      Serve as liaison between Department staff and community groups, providing accurate public, stakeholder, and community information, including crises management communications;

8.      Represent directors in their absence at various community, organizational, and governmental meetings;


Digital Communications Functions

9.      Manage and administer HSA’s websites, intranet and social media applications, including all creative and content-related issues regarding the sites, to ensure they are accurate, timely, functioning, and fresh. 

10.   Maintain and monitor consistency in creative directions of HSA’s website. Work with technical support and Department staff to optimize functionality of the website content management system and administrative reports relating to trends, site usage, improvements; assist in long-range planning and implementation of projects for the website. 

11.   Create, proof, and edit digital content including: writing stories and articles, images and video, managing the digital asset library, and creating and managing the master content calendars for web and social channels.

12.   Manage and administer contracts for technical and creative support, and related professional services from external vendors.

     A few reasons you might love this job:

1.      We have a compelling mission at a historic moment in our nation;

2.      We do transformative work in moving people out of poverty to economic security. We want San Franciscans to know our story; and

3.      We have committed, smart colleagues (who also happen to have a sense of humor).


A few challenges you might face in this job:

1.      We’re building a new communications infrastructure from the ground up which will take time and dedication from our communications professionals to be successful;

2.      We have a large number of programs and services that span three City departments. There are competing priorities to manage throughout our strategic communications planning processes; and

3.      Our work is often impacted by shifting political priorities and policies at the

local, state and national level.

Competencies required:


·       Knowledge of: public process, local/regional government issues, public sector business and administrative practices; federal, state, and local regulation and policies; standard web-based technologies (content management systems and digital transactional services); intranet applications and functionalities, internal communication tools; and principles and techniques of planning and implementing websites. 

·       Ability and Skill to:  effectively communicate in public forums and mass media, both orally and in writing; perform analytical research and preparing clear, concise stories, articles, press releases, reports, etc., present information effectively to the news media, customers, community partners, HSA staff, the Mayor’s Office, and other City Departments; represent HSA before groups and organizations; resolving customer/end-user complaints; work with the public, governmental agencies, and community organizations in tactful, diplomatic manner; prioritize and manage projects to achieve established goals; effectively solve problems with concept and implementation of website designs.



Education:  Possession of a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university in Journalism, Communications, Public Administration, Business, or a related field




Experience:  Five (5) years of professional experience leading the major functions of a public affairs, public information, or public relations unit; AND  One (1) year of professional experience in social media, digital engagement or web content management. 


Substitution: Additional experience as described above may be substituted for the required degree on a year for-year basis (up to a maximum of two (2) years).  Thirty (30) semester units or forty-five (45) quarter units equal one (1) year.


Desirable Qualifications:


1.      Exceptional written and oral communications skills. Ability to refine complex subjects into coherent and easy-to-understand language.

2.      Experience in the role as website or intranet content manager and chief editor.

3.      Knowledge of Drupal content management system platforms.

4.      Effective media relations skills to engage with editors, reporters, and journalists in the regional market and national media.

5.      Excellent creative and visual skills. Proficiency with digital photography, videography, and knowledge of graphic design platforms and tools desired.

6.      Direct experience in strategic communications project management: vendor selection, exceptional organizational skills, and experience managing multiple projects (timelines, budgets, priorities) simultaneously.

7.      Ability to work independently and within a team; demonstrated experience working collaboratively with cross-functional teams.

8.      Ability to shape organizational needs into a speech or narrative.

9.      Knowledge of change management discipline and practices. 

10.   Relationship and consensus building skills. 

11.   Analytical problem-solver.



Verification of Experience or Education

Applicants may be required to submit verification of qualifying education and experience at any point during the recruitment and selection process. If education verification is required, information on how to verify education requirements, including verifying foreign education credits or degree equivalency, can be found at http://sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=456.


Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification for this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco.

How to Apply

Applications for City and County of San Francisco jobs are only accepted through an online process. Visit www.jobaps.com/sf to register an account (if you have not already done so) and begin the application process.

·       Select the desired job announcement

·       Select “Apply” and read and acknowledge the information

·       Select either “I am a New User” if you have not previously registered, or “I have Registered Previously”

·       Follow instructions on the screen

Computers are available for the public (from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday) to file online applications in the lobby of the Dept. of Human Resources at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco.

Applicants may be contacted by email about this announcement and, therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that their registered email address is accurate and kept up-to-date.  Also, applicants must ensure that email from CCSF is not blocked on their computer by a spam filter.  To prevent blocking, applicants should set up their email to accept CCSF mail from the following addresses (@sfgov.org, @sfdpw.org, @sfport.com, @flysfo.com, @sfwater.org, @sfdph.org, @asianart.org, @sfmta.com, @sfpl.org, @dcyf.org, @first5sf.org).

Applicants will receive a confirmation email that their online application has been received in response to every announcement for which they file.  Applicants should retain this confirmation email for their records.  Failure to receive this email means that the online application was not submitted or received.

All work experience, education, training and other information substantiating how you meet the minimum qualifications must be included on your application by the filing deadline.  Information submitted after the filing deadline will not be considered in determining whether you meet the minimum qualifications.

Applications completed improperly may be cause for ineligibility, disqualification or may lead to lower scores.

If you have any questions regarding this recruitment or application process, please contact the exam analyst Ivy Yeung by telephone at 415-557-6205 or by email at ivy.yeung@sfgov.org.

Selection Plan

The selection process will include evaluation of applications in relation to minimum requirements. Applicants meeting the minimum qualifications are not guaranteed advancement in the selection process. Depending on the number of applicants, the Agency may establish and implement additional screening mechanisms to comparatively evaluate the qualifications of candidates. If this becomes necessary, only those applicants whose qualifications most closely meet the needs of the Agency will advance in the process.

Conviction History

As part of the selection process an image of your fingerprints will be captured and sent to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The resulting report of your conviction history (if any) will be used to determine whether the nature of your conviction (or arrest, in limited circumstances) history will disqualify you as a candidate based on the specific requirements of the position to which you are applying. If selected for fingerprinting, the hiring department will contact you to schedule an appointment.

Candidates applying for positions with the Unified School District and the Community College District may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under the California Education Code.

Candidates applying for positions with the Recreation and Park Department may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under California Public Resources Code 5164.

Disaster Service Workers

All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.


Terms of Announcement and Appeal Rights: Applicants must be guided solely by the provisions of this announcement, including requirements, time periods and other particulars, except when superseded by federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations. Clerical errors may be corrected by the posting the correction on the Department of Human Resources website at www.jobaps.com/sf.

Copies of Application Documents: http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20#copies

Reasonable Accommodation Request: Information on requesting reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities can be found at: http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20#reasonableaccommodation

Clerical Errors: May be corrected by the posting of the correction on the Department of Human Resources website at: http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20#announcementsdefinitions

General Information: Concerning City and County of San Francisco Employment Policies and Procedures: http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20

Driver’s License requirement: Most positions require a valid California’s driver’s license: http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20#license

Veteran’s Preference: http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20#veteranspreference

Right to Work: All persons entering the City and County of San Francisco workforce are required to provide verification of authorization to work in the United States. http://www.sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=20#identification 


Exam Type:  TEX
Issued: April 11, 2017
Micki Callahan, Human Resources Director
Recruitment ID Number: TEX-9252-075535
HSA/IY 415-557-6205

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