PMF Forward Planning/Tips

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Chelsea 8 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #138831

    Patrick Sisk

    Good Evening:

    I am currently in a 3 year internship program with the Navy in contracting. I will also have a dual master’s degree in May of 2013 (MBA/MA in HR Management). I have become more and more interested in applying to PMF the more I hear about it. Does anyone have any tips in order to plan for the application process or acquire skills before the 2013 application? Also, does prior federal career experience help in the selection? Thanks.

  • #138860


    You have an advantage because you currently intern for the Navy, which means you know a part of how government works from the inside. That’s a good thing.

    To prepare yourself, I would recommend asking your advisor or a staff member to help you network with current PMFs and alums of the program who do things in the area you are most interested or tangentially related ones. If you can arrange for informational interviews with them, they can steer you in the right direction. Not only will it help you figure out some does and don’ts but it will give you contacts into agencies that you can use during the job fair stage.

    The most valuable tip I received was to make a portfolio of my projects/papers/work, resume, transcripts, etc. to bring with me for the job fair. It helped people put abstract concepts with a tangible, finished result of my work. If you start making it as you complete things it takes less effort than it will as you get closer to the fair.

  • #138858

    Ann McFarlane

    More info available if you go to “New Hire Club” in the right hand column here, then look at PMF Current and Alums under “groups” at the bottom of the next page. For some reason I could not copy the link!

  • #138856

    Patrick Sisk

    Thanks for both tips.

  • #138854

    Steve Ressler

    Hey Patrick – What grade level are you know? I’ve heard mixed stories of folks that were already in government GS-11 or higher and go into PMF. Sometimes you can get hired at that level but primarily PMF hires as GS-9 so you have to be pretty strategic about it.

  • #138852

    Patrick Sisk

    I am currently a GS-9. What stories have you heard about those who were accepted? Thanks.

  • #138850

    Steve Ressler

    PMF Fellow has some good blogs with lots of info –

    Basically about 1/2 of PMF finalists never find a home placement which is tough. So I think a lot of it is on you as a PMF finalist to know what you want and go get it. So if you have a clear strategy and plan I’d say it’s a good opportunity to transfer agencies or simply test other agencies…Or even get to higher level offices at your current agency (they hire lots of PMFs at offices like Office of Secretary, Policy, etc)

  • #138848

    Carla R. Chaisson

    If you are already in the Contracting NAIP or other program, you will be a 12 upon completion. I don’t know if you may want to move into another intern program given that you will be at full performance level? You should be able to apply for and compete for any internal postings that agencies have at that point. Just a thought.

  • #138846

    Patrick Sisk

    That’s exactly my goal. I wanted to transition to a new career field in government, as it gets harder to do the more entrenched one gets in a career series. Technically, I’m still an intern at the moment even though they abolished the FCIP earlier in the year and made us all competitive service. My graduation date in the program is exactly when finalists would be announced for PMF, so I think that is great timing.

  • #138844

    Patrick Sisk

    Thanks for the link!

  • #138842

    Steve Ressler

    Yeah – it’s a great way to transition career fields/series.

  • #138840

    [email protected]

    I’m actually a former intern with the Defense Contract Management Agency but am looking to transition into another area of gov’t, career field, etc. I feel this program gives me the best opportunity for that since I am also completing my MBA this December. And, my dream is to be in DC, so fingers crossed I make it all the way to becoming a finalist. I didn’t realize that the difficult part is actually landing a position after becoming a finalist. I was more concerned with the online assessment process – any helpful hints on that?

  • #138837

    Attached are some tips on the process compiled by the Forest Service PMF community. Take these with a grain of salt- they are just the opinions of the FS PMF community. I am a current pmf and a co-chair of the Forest Service PMF recruitment committee, so feel free to reach out with questions!

  • #138835

    Michael Bostwick

    Greetings – as a PMF alum that spent some time actually working for the PMF program office, I think it might be helpful to outline the steps necessary to land an appointment as a PMF.

    First, you must be nominated by your graduate school – fish around for your school’s nomination process … this is a relatively low hurdle and is basically a form to be filled by your school’s dean or department chair. Some schools, however, have fairly rigorous nomination standards.

    Then, once you are among the 10,000 or so nominees that meet the general qualifications (scheduled to graduate from an accredited grad school during the application year, American citizen, etc), you’ll have to take the online assessment. This assessment is not an aptitude or skills test, rather it measures your relative strengths in terms of competencies (things like public service motivation, problem-solving, writing and comprehension, etc). These are situational judgement type exams that explore how you would react to certain situations and aren’t really the types of exams you can study for. The PMF website ( provides a bit more insight.

    This winnows the applicant pool down to about 1200 – this is not based on a pass/fail quotient – rather a relative ranking against others that take the assessment. These folks then will be subject to a structured interview, of which 700-800 folks will qualify as “finalists”. Finalists are then eligible for direct hire by agencies that are looking for staff and are willing to fill positions according to the guidelines of the PMF program (e.g. they commit to a developmental regimine for these hires; they agree to a prescribed promotion schedule …).

    These hires occur through a typical competitive interview process with individual agencies … the good news is that you are only competing with other finalists, rather than the general public. Typically, about 400-500 PMFs are hired each year.

    So, in the end, about 4-5% of folks that apply actually recieve appointments. It is a rigorous and competitive process; but for those that survive the gauntlet, they are recognized as high potentials within their agencies and are typically placed on an aggressive development path in preparation for senior leadership.

    It is safe not to set expectations that you will become a finalist – rather it is just another iron in the fire as you search for career opportunities.

    Hope this helps.

  • #138833

    Patrick Sisk


    Thanks for the advice, it is much appreciated. Do I have any advantages as a current federal employee as opposed to an outsider applying to the program? I am seeking to use the PMF program (if appointed to a position) to transition career fields. Thanks again.



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