Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Jobs

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Job Information

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Communications Professional in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 311029

Directorate: Communications and Information Technology

Division: Communications & Publications

Group: Content & Quality

Job Description

Communications generates opportunities to advance the Laboratory’s research and leadership reputation with targeted stakeholder groups. It plans and directs development of information designed to keep targeted audiences informed of Laboratory or Directorate specific programs, accomplishments, or point of view. It collaborates with other communications functions to enable effective development of integrated public relations and communications plans, implement campaigns, and develop external and internal communications products.

The Invitation

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL or Laboratory) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to collaboration and work/life integration. Dynamic, adaptable people come to PNNL to work smarter and work together on high-impact projects and initiatives for the U.S. Department of Energy and many other sponsors. They focus on meaningful work, innovation and impactful outcomes. At PNNL, you’ll find a positive, fast-paced environment and excellent benefits including pension, matching 401(k), tuition reimbursement plans, health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State, known for its outdoor recreation, thriving wine industry, and affordable cost of living.

The Opportunity

As a member of the Communications and Publications Division’s Content and Quality group, you will develop editorial pieces that put forth PNNL’s accomplishments in a compelling manner, with clarity and precision, to the Laboratory’s key audiences.

You will develop written summaries of research projects and technical manuscripts, slides that tell impactful stories of recent research or scientific capabilities, success stories, digital newsletters, and other materials to include award nominations, social media posts, human interest profiles, and feature stories.

Under the leadership and direction of the Project Communications team leader, you will contribute to a team projecting a consistent voice and brand for the Laboratory. You’ll work cooperatively with scientists, managers, and communications professionals to understand discoveries and to develop the materials most effective for conveying thought leadership and key messages to research sponsors and members of the scientific and technical community. You will play an important role in positioning the Laboratory for the attention its research merits.

The Ideal Candidate

If you are a top-notch communicator – we want to connect with you. Specifically, we’re looking for candidates who will combine and leverage their talents in communications to develop and implement creative and compelling content that will resonate with our audiences. Ideal candidates will also be excellent at collaborating with other communicators and with researchers.

Authority and Accountability

  • Coordinate enhancements to Energy and Environment Directorate (EED) web properties (e.g., websites and project pages) for internal and external audiences; identify potential new content or improvements; create and edit content, and vet it for approvals; and stage content using Drupal.

  • Serve as a contributor to EED social media channels, identify source material for prospective posts, script social media content, and stage content using Sprout Social.

  • Team with EED communications partners to plan an annual calendar of communications efforts.

  • Write highlights, articles, summaries, and create slides to represent EED’s research.

  • Contribute to EED’s internal communications efforts, writing content for the internal website, for internal directorate newsletters or emails, and for PNNL’s internal channels.

  • Serve on a team of communications professionals that contributes to a wide spectrum of projects across the Communications and Publications Division.

  • Understand and collaborate with the specialized teams in the division, such as Document Architecture and Copyediting, Creative Services, and News & Media , complete projects.

  • Ideate and implement creative outreach efforts to support and feature research projects.

  • Interview researchers to better understand their science and its impact.

  • Utilize the Division workflow system, CommWorks, to record assignments, monitor progress, and route work.

  • Perform other duties as required or assigned.

Essential Function

  • Develop compelling editorial content that tells the stories of PNNL scientists and their work in a persuasive manner.

  • Work closely with scientists and partners in communications to understand their needs, their audiences, and what messages to convey to those audiences.

  • Independently prepare the first draft of assigned content, working with subject matter experts as necessary.

  • Interact positively and professionally with all levels of reviewers, effectively resolving conflicts and building consensus at every step in the revision process, while ensuring accuracy, consistency, and quality of the final product.

  • Maintain version control and guide the approval process, which will include PNNL scientists and communicators as well as stakeholders beyond the Laboratory.

  • Accept detailed feedback and critique with grace and professionalism.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Strong writing, editing, and proofreading skills.

  • Organizational and task management skills and the ability to manage complex workflow seamlessly.

  • Strong relationship-building skills and a respectful, collaborative approach; a strong customer service orientation.

  • Ability to understand and synthesize complex scientific information into engaging language and concepts that are understood by multiple audiences.

  • Ability to write in multiple voices and adapt writing style as necessary to reach varied audiences

  • Ability to focus on key messages in a succinct manner, across many media (e.g., text, slides, and visuals).

  • Familiarity with scientific publications and experience understanding their content.

  • Strong work ethic, excellent time management skills, and a high attention to detail.

  • Ability to focus and work well under pressure during tight deadlines with humor, tact, and professionalism.

  • Ability to work effectively in a complex scientific environment with multiple points of view.

  • Ability to work independently and within cross-functional teams that may include writers, editors, designers, photographers, programmers, developers, internal clients, and project managers.

  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office (e.g., Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) and familiarity with Drupal.

The hiring level will be determined based on the education, experience, and skill set of the successful candidate and using the following criteria:

  • Level II: Provides solutions to a wide range of moderate to difficult problems and/or mentor . Works independently with oversight. Demonstrates competence in basic area of expertise. Uses professional concepts and uses and applies appropriate standards, principles, theories, concepts, and techniques. Applies existing methods to well-defined problems. Manages personal work and influences others. Exercises good judgment within defined procedures and practices to determine appropriate action.

  • Level III: Develops solutions to complex problems which require the regular use of ingenuity and creativity. Recognized by peers as competent in area of expertise. Manages projects of limited scope. May function as a project lead and give direction to other exempt and nonexempt staff.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in science, professional writing, journalism, communications, or similar.

  • Bachelor's degree plus 3 years of experience or advanced degree.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree plus 5 years of experience or advanced degree plus 2 years of experience, in science or professional writing, journalism, communications, or similar.

  • Experience and proficiency customizing content for multiple audiences ranging from scientists who are experts in a scientific discipline to science-interested stakeholders who do not have advanced degrees in science.

  • Expertise with project management principles and software.

  • A passion for communicating about science research.

  • A knack for understanding audience characteristics and adjusting writing styles for various groups.

  • Able to work effectively on multiple simultaneous projects with varying priorities and timelines.

  • Experience with content management systems or knowledge management systems; demonstrated ability to learn new technologies and applications.

  • Intense focus on and commitment to detail and accuracy of work.

  • Demonstrated ability to work in a self-directed manner in a highly dynamic, collaborative, and professional environment.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All BMI staff must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States. BMI is an E-Verify employer. Learn more at

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from participation in certain foreign government talent recruitment programs. If you are offered a position at PNNL and are currently a participant in a foreign government talent recruitment program you will be required to disclose this information before your first day of employment.

Directorate: Comm & Information Technology

Job Category: HR/Legal/Communications

Group: Project Communications

Opening Date: 2020-07-27

Closing Date: 2020-08-10