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An Official Web Site of the United States Government
Friday, October 20, 2017

Become a PMF

Application Process

Application Tips

The following tips are provided to assist applicants with the application process. Additional tips may be found under the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section.

Please note the following:

  1. We recommend you use a personal email address when creating a user account to apply to the program. Avoid using your .edu email address as many school servers will block any email correspondence we send you.  All communications are conducted via email and/or posted to the PMF website. Applicants will be notified of their status at each stage of the application and assessment process.
  2. We strongly recommend that you prepare in advance before the application launches. We suggest you prepare your resume, transcript (and/or alternative), and any supporting documentation for claiming veterans' preference, Indian preference, and/or reasonable accommodations. See additional information on transcripts and resumes below. You may need to consult with your academic institution on the process for requesting a transcript (and/or alternative).
  3. During the application period, you will be able to make edits to your application up to the closing of the announcement. However, once you complete any part of the on-line assessment, you will not be able to make any edits to it.
  4. There is no appeal process regarding your assessment scores and we do not provide assessment scores to applicants.
  5. You are highly encouraged to apply early. The application (including the submission of required documents, completion of the on-line assessment and essay) must be completed and submitted prior to the closing of the announcement.
  6. During the application, applicants are asked to voluntarily answer source tracking and demographic information. These optional questions ask applicants about:  (1) how they heard about the PMF Program, (2) gender, (3) ethnicity, (4) race, and (5) disability or serious health condition. Responses to these questions have no impact on your application, are optional, and completely private. Such responses help us in our marketing and outreach efforts, and the aggregate data helps us determine if our equal opportunity efforts are reaching all segments of the population.
  7. Please review the Eligibility section entirely, covering subjects on citizenship, education outside of the United States, attorney positions, veterans' preference, selective service, Indian preference, and equal opportunity employment.
  8. Review the Assessment Preparation Guide. The Guide explains the on-line assessment process and contains sample questions. The Guide is posted shortly before the application launches and is removed shortly after the application closes. 


As part of a complete application, all applicants must submit a transcript (and/or alternative). The submission must reflect the advanced degree used to qualify for the program; it is not necessary to submit a transcript for your undergraduate degree. Any submission must be legible, in English, and not contain photos. Any submission (official or unofficial transcript is acceptable) must contain the following:

  1. Applicant name
  2. College/University name
  3. Qualifying degree program (completed or pursuing)
  4. Date of degree conferred for recent graduates or anticipated for current graduate students

If a transcript is unavailable or missing required elements (as referenced above), the applicant may submit a letter from the appropriate school official/department (e.g., admissions, department head, career services, etc.) providing the information requested. The letter serves as an alternative to meeting the transcript requirements if there are missing required elements. Submitting a combination of the transcript and the alternative (e.g., letter) showing the missing elements is preferred. The alternative (e.g., letter) should complement the transcript if covering missing elements. The letter must include contact information of the school official/department. Applicants can submit their transcript under the document type called "Transcript" and the alternative (e.g., letter) under the document type called "Other", under the "Upload Documents" section of the application. Applicants are not  required to ensure a Student ID# or Social Security Number appears on these documents.

Reference to "official" or "unofficial" transcript is defined by your college/university. If unofficial, the transcript must still identify the required elements referenced above. Transcripts provided by third-party systems that some college and universities use may not cover all of the above required elements.

Transcripts from foreign schools must be in English and legible for consideration. Please be sure to view your submission to ensure legibility and that your submission clearly supports your eligibility to apply based on an advanced degree and the criteria referenced above.

Applicants failing to submit a valid transcript and/or alternative (e.g., letter) showing all of the required elements will be disqualified from further consideration.

NOTE: If selected as a Finalist, some participating Federal agencies may directly request an official transcript to ensure fulfillment of advanced degree requirements and education qualifications before starting a PMF appointment.

Those Finalists still completing their advanced degree must complete the degree requirements by August 31st the following year after the application (including the completion or successful defense of any required thesis or dissertation). If the graduate student applicant is selected as a Finalist and does not meet ALL advanced degree requirements by August 31st of the following year, he/she will lose their status as a Finalist.

We are unable to waive/defer this requirement. If, for example, you will not be able to successfully complete or defend a required thesis/dissertation by the August 31st deadline, you may be eligible to reapply to the PMF Program during the next application cycle.

Advanced degree is defined as a professional or graduate degree (e.g., master's, Ph.D., J.D.).


As part of a complete application, all applicants must submit a resume. The resume can be in any format (including a version from USAJOBS' Resume Builder) but must not exceed 3MB in file size and must contain the following at a minimum:

  1. Applicant name
  2. Contact information (address, email, phone number)
  3. College/University name
  4. Qualifying degree program (completed or pursuing)

Applicants should not include photos on their resumes. Your resume may be altered to remove any such photos.

NOTE: Application documents can be updated up to the closing of the announcement. Resumes cannot be updated after the closing of the announcement. Applicants may obtain assistance in drafting their resume.

Letters of Recommendation

The PMF Program does not consider letters of recommendation as part of its application and assessment process. Any sent will be discarded without review.

Cover Letters and Writing Samples

The PMF Program does not request cover letters or writing samples as part of its application and assessment process. Any submissions will be discarded without review.

NOTE: If selected as a Finalist, an appointing agency may request such documents in their consideration for a PMF appointment.

Visit the next section to view information on the Assessment Process.

UPDATED: 10-04-2017