Become a PMF
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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- I have already completed my advance degree and heard about the PMF Program. Can I still apply?
- Is there a minimum grade point average required to be selected as a Finalist?
- Are only certain advanced degrees considered for the PMF Program (e.g., MPA, MSW)?
- Does the program accept individuals with disabilities or accept Schedule A letters?
- I am a non-U.S. citizen who wishes to apply to the PMF Program, but I do not have a Social Security Number to use for the application. How can I apply?
- Should applicants submit a letter of recommendation when applying?
- My advanced degree is from a foreign institution. How do I know if it is accredited?
- How can I check the status of my application when applying to the annual PMF application?
- How do I know if my application is complete?
- Is my school required to nominate me for the PMF Program?
- I realized after I submitted my application there was a mistake. How can I make the correction?
- How many applicants apply each year and out of that number, how many are selected as Finalists?
- How do Finalists learn about possible Federal agency PMF appointment opportunities? Where are the positions located?
- How do Finalists update their resume and/or transcripts for agencies to view?
- Are applicants who are selected as Finalists guaranteed a Federal job?
- Do Federal agencies reimburse PMFs for their relocation costs upon appointment?
- Do Federal agencies provide Student Loan Repayment or Loan Forgiveness for Fellows?
- Is there an in-person assessment?
- I am a veteran student interested in applying to the PMF Program. How do I claim veterans' preference and provide supporting documentation?
- Does Indian Preference apply in the PMF Program?
- Can I stop in the middle of the online assessment, which is timed and un-proctored, and come back to it at a later time?
- How can I find out about the next PMF application cycle?
- When preparing my application, can I get assistance from others, like a career counselor?
- Can an applicant or Finalist request an extension or a deferral?
- As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that say they are open to individuals with non-competitive appointment eligibility?
- As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that are open to "status candidates" only?
- As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs on www.USAJOBS.gov?
- How do I withdraw my application or status as a Finalist?
- In regards to eligibility for applying to the PMF Program, I have completed my doctorate degree in medicine but am presently completing a medical residency. Would completing my residency by the August 31st deadline make me eligible to apply?
- I have completed my degree and am presently a Peace Corps volunteer. Can I use my Peace Corps service to apply late or obtain a PMF appointment?
- What resume format should be used? Should it be a “Federal Resume”?
- As a Finalist, can I reapply during the next annual PMF application?
- Are there any additional resources that may help me with the application/assessment process?
- How is my application to the PMF Program evaluated?
- Will any Federal experience or an existing security clearance be taken into consideration?
- Do I need to submit my undergraduate transcript?
- As a Finalist, what does the process look like between submitting an application for an Appointment Opportunity and being selected as a Fellow?
- I am a current Federal employee. How does applying to the PMF Program impact my current position?
- I recently accepted a PMF appointment offer and have been recorded as a Fellow. Can I apply to rotational opportunities before I onboard and start my fellowship?
- What is the PMF Program doing for those Finalists who are not placed?
- Does the PMF Program Office offer any stipends to help Finalists (1) participate in the in-person hiring fair typically held in the Washington, DC, metro area; (2) travel to agencies for in-person interviews; (3) assist with relocation expenses for Finalists appointed to PMF positions; (4) cover tuition to meet any of the training and developmental requirements; (5) assist with any student loans; or, (6) costs for utilizing a credential evaluation service for my advanced degree being issued from a non-U.S. academic institution?
- If I am not selected as a Semi-Finalist/Finalist after applying where can I find other Federal opportunities?
- As a Finalist, can an announcement on USAJOBS be converted into a PMF position?
- How do I find out which Federal agencies participate in the PMF Program?
- What efforts has the PMF Program taken towards enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility?
- Where can I obtain copies of my previous Federal employment and military records (e.g., Personnel Actions, Official Personnel Folder, etc.)?
- I have previous/current Federal employment experience. Where can I obtain a copy of my SF 50?
- As a Finalist, after accepting a tentative PMF appointment offer from an agency, may I consider subsequent tentative offers from agencies?
- How would a lapse in funding (shutdown furlough) impact the PMF Program?
1. I have already completed my advance degree and heard about the PMF Program. Can I still apply?
Students who will meet all advanced degree requirements, including the completion or successful defense of any required thesis or dissertation, by August 31st of the following year of the annual application, as well as those who obtained an advanced degree no more than 2 years prior to the opening date of the PMF Program's annual announcement, are eligible to apply in the fall of the current year for the class of the next year. For eligibility criteria, please go to the Become a PMF\Eligibility section for additional information. Advanced Degree is defined as a professional or graduate degree (e.g., master's, Ph.D., J.D.). A J.D. is considered a professional degree when applying to the PMF Program.
2. Is there a minimum grade point average required to be selected as a Finalist?
No. There is no minimum grade point average required to be selected as a Finalist.
3. Are only certain advanced degrees considered for the PMF Program (e.g., MPA, MSW)?
No. Graduate students from all academic disciplines from accredited academic institutions who meet eligibility requirements may apply to the PMF Program. Although we are seeing an increasing interest from agencies for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. Advanced Degree is defined as a professional or graduate degree (e.g., master's, Ph.D., J.D.). A J.D. is considered a professional degree when applying to the PMF Program.
4. Does the program accept individuals with disabilities or accept Schedule A letters?
The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability and genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factor.
Applicants with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation for completing the assessments during the annual PMF application and follow the instructions for submitting supporting documentation. The PMF Program falls under the Pathways Programs Schedule D Hiring Authority. Applicants having a Schedule A letter (which refers to the hiring authority used by Federal agencies to hire individuals with disabilities) would use that hiring authority to apply to Federal positions outside of the PMF Program; it cannot be used to secure a PMF if an individual with a Schedule A letter becomes a Finalist in the PMF Program. A Schedule A letter in and of itself is not sufficient documentation when requesting a reasonable accommodation for the assessments.
5. I am a non-U.S. citizen who wishes to apply to the PMF Program, but I do not have a Social Security Number to use for the application. How can I apply?
You must be eligible for legal employment in the United States. Please refer to the Become a PMF\Eligibility\Citizenship section for additional details for non-U.S. citizens.
6. Should applicants submit a letter of recommendation when applying?
No. Do not submit any letters of recommendation. The PMF Program does not consider letters of recommendation or endorsements in any part of the program.
7. My advanced degree is from a foreign institution. How do I know if it is accredited?
Most foreign education is not accredited by an accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Those applicants who apply based on a recent or current advanced degree from a foreign academic institution (outside of the United States) and are selected as Finalists will be required to utilize a credential evaluation service to determine if their degree and foreign institution are equivalent to U.S. standards. Go to the Education Completed Outside of the United States section to learn more.
8. How can I check the status of my application when applying to the annual PMF application?
You may log into your applicant user account on the Apply Site of the PMF TMS at https://apply.pmf.gov and follow the instructions on the User Dashboard.
9. How do I know if my application is complete?
The application has several required steps all applicants must follow. The system will show a green checkmark when the required elements for that step have been responded to by the applicant. Applicants should make sure all steps have been completed. Applicants will be informed of their status under the "PMF Application Status" section of their applicant user account on the Apply Site of the PMF TMS once the application announcement closes, up to the selection of Finalists.
10. Is my school required to nominate me for the PMF Program?
No. Under current PMF Program regulations, school nomination is not required.
11. I realized after I submitted my application there was a mistake. How can I make the correction?
Before the application period closes and before submitting your final application, you may make some changes to your application. You may not make changes to the online assessment responses once you complete each part.
You may only submit one application prior to the announcement closing. Applicants will not be able to make edits (except to personal contact information and documents) after final submission. Applicants are able to access their one-time submitted application to upload new or updated documents up until the application closes. Those applicants who are claiming veterans' preference will have up to one week after the application closes to submit supporting documentation for their claim.
Those applicants selected as Finalists are able to upload an updated resume and/or transcripts to their account.
12. How many applicants apply each year and out of that number, how many are selected as Finalists?
During the 2021 application, over 6,800 applicants applied and 551 Finalists were selected. During the 2022 application, over 8,000 applicants applied and 1,100 Finalists were selected. And during the 2023 application, over 10,000 applicants applied and 850 Finalists were selected.
Over the past ten years, on average, 50% of Finalists obtain appointments as Fellows. Please note this is a highly competitive program and Finalists are not guaranteed a PMF appointment.
13. How do Finalists learn about possible Federal agency PMF appointment opportunities? Where are the positions located?
Participating Federal agencies post PMF appointment opportunities via the PMF TMS (Talent Management System) throughout the year. Finalists may search for appointment opportunities via their applicant user account on the Apply Site of the PMF TMS. Positions are contingent on agency needs.
Finalists should contact the Agency PMF Coordinator for the agency they are interested in for potential appointment opportunities.
Most PMF appointments are located in the Washington, DC metro area. Finalists are able to search for appointment opportunities by Agency/Sub-Agency, Virtual/Telework Option, Location, Job Series, Date Posted, and Keywords that may appear in the announcement.
14. How do Finalists update their resume and/or transcripts for agencies to view?
Once the application period closes, applicants will not be able to make changes to their resume. Since the original resume and application documents are used to determine eligibility until selection of Finalists, these remain with the Finalists' record within the PMF TMS (Talent Management System). However, Finalists are able to update their resume and transcripts. The Finalist's resume serves as a default for registered agency users to search and view them in the PMF TMS. When a Finalist updates that resume, it appears as an updated default resume. When Finalists apply to PMF appointment opportunities via the Apply Now feature in the PMF TMS, that resume is the version agency users will see when reviewing applicants. Additional information about resumes and transcripts can be found under the Become a PMF\Find a Job section.
15. Are applicants who are selected as Finalists guaranteed a Federal job?
No. If you are selected as a Finalist, you may be eligible for a PMF appointment by a participating Federal agency; however, Finalists are not guaranteed an opportunity. Finalists have 12 months after the announcement of Finalists to obtain a fellowship appointment (otherwise known as the appointment eligibility period); which is defined as accepting and starting an appointment by the 12 month deadline. Appointing agencies are responsible to ensure Finalists meet qualifications, advanced degree requirements, and school accreditation.
16. Do Federal agencies reimburse PMFs for their relocation costs upon appointment?
Each Federal agency determines whether it will pay relocation costs or offer recruitment incentives. Finalists should inquire with participating Federal agencies before accepting an appointment offer.
17. Do Federal agencies provide Student Loan Repayment or Loan Forgiveness for Fellows?
Federal agencies are authorized to repay student loans under the Federal Student Loan Repayment Program and some Federal employees are eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Finalists should ask the hiring agency if it participates when interviewing for appointments and accepting tentative PMF appointment offers. Additional information about these programs can be found under the Student Loans section.
18. Is there an in-person assessment?
There is no in-person assessment. During the annual PMF application process, applicants will complete an online assessment.
19. I am a veteran student interested in applying to the PMF Program. How do I claim veterans' preference and provide supporting documentation?
During the application process, applicants are asked if they are claiming veterans' preference. For applicants who claim veterans' preference, follow the instructions during the application. The most common document is the veteran's DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
A blank version of the SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans Preference, can be found under the Become a PMF\Resources section.
Additional information on claiming veterans' preference and how such is applied during the application process can be found under the Become a PMF\Eligibility\Veterans' Preference section.
20. Does Indian Preference apply in the PMF Program?
No. Indian Preference is only applicable for the U.S. Department of the Interior's Indian Affairs (including the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Indian Health Service (IHS), and is a separate hiring authority outside of the PMF Program.
21. Can I stop in the middle of the online assessment, which is timed and un-proctored, and come back to it at a later time?
We recommend applicants complete each part of the online assessment in one sitting. Each part is timed. Once an applicant starts a part, he/she must complete it.
All parts of the online assessment must be completed before the closing of the announcement. Applicants will be prompted to certify that they completed each part of the online assessment independently and without help of others.
Additional information about the online assessment (including instructions, sample questions, and reasonable accommodations) are described in the PMF Applicant Handbook.
22. How can I find out about the next PMF application cycle?
Under the Become a PMF section are class year specific application webpages. The PMF application is conducted annually in the Fall. Please check the "Become a PMF" section frequently for updates.
In addition, you may subscribe to the general PMF listserv from our homepage. Once dates are announced for the next application cycle we will post to the PMF website and send an email to all listserv subscribers.
23. When preparing my application, can I get assistance from others, like a career counselor?
Each applicant is expected to complete the online assessment independently without help of others. Before submitting an application, applicants will be prompted to certify their responses. Applicants can obtain assistance in preparing their resume and/or advanced degree transcript (and/or alternative) documents.
24. Can an applicant or Finalist request an extension or deferral?
The PMF Program regulations do not allow for extensions or deferrals. An "appointment eligibility extension" exists for participating Federal agencies to formally request an extension to a Finalists' appointment eligibility when (1) an appointment offer has been made and accepted by the Finalist prior to the appointment eligibility deadline and the agency needs additional time to bring the Finalist onboard as a Fellow, or (2) when a Finalist has applied for an advertised PMF appointment opportunity and the agency has not conducted interviews or made tentative job offers prior to the appointment eligibility period deadline.
Such request must be submitted from the Agency PMF Coordinator of the appointing agency in the PMF TMS (Talent Management System). The PMF TMS will send an automated acknowledgement of the request to the Finalist and the Agency PMF Coordinator via email. If approved, the PMF TMS will (1) record the approval as part of the Finalist’s records, (2) send an automated approval email to the Finalist and to the requesting Agency PMF Coordinator, (3) show the approval entry on the Apply Site for the Finalist to view, and (4) show the approval entry on the Portal Site when agency users are viewing the Finalist's history.
Finalists can have more than one approved extension; however, as soon as the Finalist is recorded as being appointed in the PMF TMS (after accepting a tentative or final appointment offer), the system will instantly void any other approved requests and notify the Agency PMF Coordinators associated to other pending/approved appointment eligibility extensions. Additional information can be found on the Become a PMF\Find a Job\Eligibility webpage.
A similar automated process exists for Finalists who have been recorded as "Appointed", but will not onboard before their appointment eligibility period deadline; these Finalists also need an appointment eligibility extension if they will not onboard prior to their respective appointment eligibility deadline.
Extensions are common when a Finalist will not complete any required background investigation and/or onboard before their appointment eligibility expires.
Agency PMF Coordinators are aware of this process and reminded during the months leading to the appointment eligibility period deadline. A similar FAQ for Agencies can be found at FAQ#15.
Finalists may want to reach out to the Agency Contact and Agency PMF Coordinator associated to PMF appointment opportunities they applied to (1) ask for a status on their application, (2) remind them of the upcoming appointment eligibility deadline for their class year, and (3) ask the Agency PMF Coordinator to request an appointment eligibility extension if applicable. It is the agency's discretion to submit a request and a request can be submitted after the deadline as long as their is evidence the Finalist applied to an associated PMF appointment opportunity.
25. As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that say they are open to individuals with non-competitive appointment eligibility?
No. As a Finalist in the PMF Program, you do not have non-competitive appointment eligibility in this regard. Non-competitive appointment eligibility is based on statute or Executive order and specifically identifies the circumstances under which the non-competitive appointment eligibility is granted (e.g., persons with certain types of disabilities, certain military spouses, veterans of the armed forces). The Executive order authorizing the PMF Program did not confer such a non-competitive eligibility; instead, it provides a time-limited fellowship in the excepted service that could lead to a permanent position.
Federal job opportunities posted on www.USAJOBS.gov sometimes show "non-competitive appointment eligibility" under the "Who May Apply" section. This "non-competitive appointment eligibility" does not apply to Finalists in the PMF Program. However, if you are eligible for "non-competitive appointment eligibility," by a means other than the PMF Program, you may apply and accept such a position. If you do this, you are not hired under the PMF appointment authority and, as such, would not be in the PMF Program.
As a Finalist, you should monitor the PMF TMS for PMF appointment opportunities.
26. As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that are open to "status candidates" only?
No. As a Finalist in the PMF Program, you are not considered a "status candidate." The term "status" is reserved for individuals holding permanent positions (or who held a permanent position) in the competitive service. PMF positions are in the excepted service.
27. As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs on www.USAJOBS.gov?
Current Finalists seeking a PMF appointment must use the PMF TMS to find appointment opportunities. Though participating agencies may advertise a PMF appointment opportunity on USAJOBS, it is highly unlikely. If they do, they must also advertise a PMF appointment opportunity and may embed the link to USAJOBS for applying. Participating Federal agencies must advertise their PMF appointment opportunities on the PMF TMS. If a Finalist finds a non-PMF Federal job and accepts, he/she will not be recorded as a PMF.
28. How do I withdraw my application or status as a Finalist?
Both Applicants and Finalists can withdraw from further consideration by logging into their applicant user account on the Apply Site and go to "Manage Documents and Personal Info", click on "PMF Application Status", then click on "Withdraw", and follow the instructions.
Some Finalists withdraw for a variety of reasons, such as: (1) will not complete their qualifying advanced degree by the deadline, (2) wish to pursue higher education, (3) obtained employment elsewhere, or (4) for personal reasons.
If a Finalist withdraws and continues to remain eligible, he/she may reapply to the next annual PMF application.
29. In regards to eligibility for applying to the PMF Program, I have completed my doctorate degree in medicine but am presently completing a medical residency. Would completing my residency by the August 31st deadline make me eligible to apply?
No. A medical residency is a requirement for licensure to practice medicine, not a requirement to complete the advanced degree. A residency is typically completed after graduation from medical school and the person doing a residency is no longer enrolled in a degree program. In such cases the date you completed the doctorate degree will be used to determine eligibility.
30. I have completed my degree and am presently a Peace Corps volunteer. Can I use my Peace Corps service to apply late or obtain a PMF appointment?
If you are presently a Peace Corps volunteer or recently completed your service, you must still meet the eligibility requirements for applying to the PMF Program. If you are not eligible or you are a recent Peace Corps volunteer, you may have noncompetitive eligibility for a Federal position in the competitive service. However, such eligibility is based under a different hiring authority outside of the PMF Program; this also applies to Finalists in the PMF Program who may be recent Peace Corps volunteers. Please review the Peace Corps' webpage regarding noncompetitive eligibility here: https://www.peacecorps.gov/returned-volunteers/careers/noncompetitive-eligibility/.
This applies to other similar programs that offer noncompetitive eligibility (e.g., AmeriCorps VISTA, Fulbright).
31. What resume format should be used? Should it be a “Federal Resume”?
During the annual PMF application, applicants are required to submit a resume. The resume can be in any format. A resume must contain the following at a minimum: applicant name, contact information, college/university name, and qualifying degree program. Additional instructions can be found under the Application Tips section.
Often we are asked about a “Federal Resume”, which is a specific resume format that many Federal agencies utilize when hiring talent. A resume in the format of a Federal Resume is not required in order to apply to the PMF Program. Additional information about Federal Resumes can be found on USAJOBS.
Applicants can only submit one resume with their application. Those applicants selected as Finalists will have the ability to upload an updated resume, which will be accessible by registered agency users of the PMF TMS (Talent Management System). The original resume submitted as part of the application will remain on file for recordkeeping purposes.
Finalists will be required to upload a resume when they apply to a PMF appointment opportunities in the PMF TMS via the Apply Now feature. This enables Finalists to submit a custom resume specific to the position they are applying to.
32. As a Finalist, can I reapply during the next annual PMF application?
If a current Finalist meets the eligibility requirements, he/she may reapply. However, upon initiating an application, whether or not submits an application, he/she will forfeit their status as a current Finalist, which is treated as a withdrawal. Any PMF appointment opportunities the Finalist had applied to will instantly update to reflect the withdrawal. The PMF TMS will then notify agencies where the Finalist has applied for PMF appointment opportunities via the Apply Now feature that the Finalist is no longer eligible for consideration.
33. Are there any additional resources that may help me with the application/assessment process?
The PMF Program Office has a number of resources that include the following:
- PMF Applicant Handbook: Details the annual application process, explains eligibility requirements, required documentation, and provides details on the online assessment. The Handbook includes the previous “PMF Assessment Preparation Guide”. This resource is available only before and during the annual PMF application and online assessment process.
- Participant Timeline…from Start to Finish: Illustrates the typical timeline a participant would follow in navigating through the PMF Program.
- PMF Application Timeline: Illustrates the timeline and steps from applying to the PMF Program, to selection of Finalists, and to finding a PMF appointment.
- PMF Fellowship Timeline: Illustrates the timeline and steps Fellows follow from onboarding to their PMF position, and leading to graduation.
The above resources can be found under the Become a PMF\Resources section of this website.
34. How is my application to the PMF Program evaluated?
From the applicant pool, selection of Finalists will be based on completed applications, eligibility, adjudication of veterans' preference, scores of the online assessment, hiring agency workforce planning estimates, and occupational needs within the Federal Government. Only Finalists are eligible for PMF appointment opportunities. PMF appointments are full-time, paid positions (e.g., salary and benefits) over a two-year fellowship. Those applicants ultimately selected as Finalists should review the Become a PMF\Find a Job section on the PMF website.
Please see the PMF Applicant Handbook to best prepare for the assessment and other available resources posted under the Become a PMF\Resources section.
35. Will any Federal experience or an existing security clearance be taken into consideration?
Applicants with previous Federal experience and/or active security clearances may apply if they meet our eligibility requirements. No advantage is given to applicants with previous Federal experience and/or security clearances during the application process.
If selected as a Finalist, these experiences may make a Finalist a strong candidate for appointment opportunities, but that is at the discretion of the hiring agency.
36. Do I need to submit my undergraduate transcript?
Submitting an undergraduate transcript is optional and will have no impact on your application or online assessment. You may submit your undergraduate transcript when submitting your application documents. You will also be asked to identify your undergraduate degree’s discipline and the issuing academic institution. If selected as a Finalist, registered agency users will be able to search by all degrees and view all application documents (except for any reasonable accommodation documents). If selected as a Finalist, registered Federal agency users will be able to search and view all transcripts. Agencies may user your undergraduate degree transcript to determine experience and qualifications for a PMF position. Finalists are only able to upload an updated resume and/or transcripts.
Please see additional information under the Become a PMF\Application Process\Application Tips webpage.
37. As a Finalist, what does the process look like between submitting an application for an Appointment Opportunity and being selected as a Fellow?
Each Agency has specific requirements outlined in their appointment opportunities on how to apply to the position. Agencies may have unique processes for vetting applications from Finalists, as appointment opportunities generally receive several applications. Practices that may vary widely among Agencies include the following: confirming receipt of an application, reviewing applications for meeting qualifications, verifying school accreditation, ensuring Finalists are eligible, the timeframe for scheduling interviews, the Hiring Official making a selection, making tentative appointment offers, and notification to those Finalists who were not selected.
If your application is accepted and found qualified, you will be referred to the Hiring Official for consideration. It is then up to the Hiring Official to schedule interviews and check references. Interviews may be conducted in-person and/or remotely. Once interviews are completed, the Hiring Official will make their selection and inform the agency’s HR (Human Resources) Specialist. Either the HR Specialist or the Agency PMF Coordinator will then contact you to make a tentative PMF appointment offer. Once a Finalist accepts the tentative offer, the agency will initiate the process for a background investigation and/or security clearance. If the position requires a Public Trust (which is a basic background investigation), the process is relatively short. If the position requires a security clearance, the process can be quite lengthy and take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Once the background investigation/security clearance is favorably adjudicated, the agency will contact the Finalist to make a final PMF appointment offer. If the Finalist accepts, then a start date is negotiated between the Finalist and the agency.
Finalists should fill out and submit the OPM Form 1306, PMF Appointment Intake Form (found under the Become a PMF\Resources webpage), upon accepting a tentative offer.
Finalists can contact the Agency Contact identified in the announcement or the Agency PMF Coordinator to receive updates on any part of this process. Coordinators may refer Finalists to the Hiring Official or other HR Specialists who may be more familiar with the status of the recruitment process for a specific appointment opportunity.
Once a Finalist accepts a tentative PMF appointment offer and is recorded as being appointed in the PMF TMS, their status changes to "Fellow (Appointed)", but is not considered a Fellow until onboarding (starting their PMF appointment).
38. I am a current Federal employee. How does applying to the PMF Program impact my current position?
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may apply to the PMF Program during its annual application process in the fall. Only those applicants selected as Finalists are eligible for a PMF appointment. Finalists who are also current Federal employees should identify such in their resume and be prepared to send the appointing agency a copy of their current SF 50, Personnel Action.
Finalists selected as Fellows are appointed to 2-year fellowships in the excepted service, under the Pathways Programs Schedule D Hiring Authority. If the Finalist is a current Federal employee and accepts a PMF appointment offer, the employee would resign from their current Federal position. It is up to the appointing agency to determine the pay grade level (or equivalent) for the PMF position. Finalists can only be initially appointed at the GS-9, 11, or 12 (or equivalent).
If a Fellow successfully completes their fellowship, the Federal agency may noncompetitively convert into a term or permanent position. The fellowship time would count towards career status and fulfills any competitive service probationary period. If the Fellow does not successfully complete their fellowship, then the Fellow may be subject to termination.
39. I recently accepted a PMF appointment offer and have been recorded as a Fellow. Can I apply to rotational opportunities before I onboard and start my fellowship?
No. Rotational opportunities are strictly for Fellows (e.g., a Finalist who has accepted a PMF appointment and onboarded to to start their 2-year fellowship). Fellows need to discuss their participation in rotational opportunities with their Supervisor and record on their IDP (Individual Development Plan).
40. What is the PMF Program doing for those Finalists who are not placed?
The PMF Program Office works with Federal agencies throughout the year to help them identify and post appointment opportunities. Over the past 10 years, around 60-70% of Finalists are placed and become Fellows. The PMF Program Office is actively working to identify opportunities for those Finalists who are not able to find a placement. During the application cycle, this is why applicants are asked for their permission to share their information with Federal agencies. Becoming a Finalist is an accomplishment in and of itself, and those who become Finalists are encouraged to add this to their resume.
41. Does the PMF Program Office offer any stipends to help Finalists (1) participate in the in-person hiring fair typically held in the Washington, DC, metro area; (2) travel to agencies for in-person interviews; (3) assist with relocation expenses for Finalists appointed to PMF positions; (4) cover tuition to meet any of the training and developmental requirements; (5) assist with any student loans; or, (6) costs for utilizing a credential evaluation service for my advanced degree being issued from a non-U.S. academic institution?
No, the PMF Program Office does not offer stipends or assistance of this kind. Any stipends or incentives would be handled at the agency level, and Finalists are encouraged to ask about such benefits while interviewing for appointment opportunities. Finalists participating in any in-person hiring fair cover their own travel and housing costs. Most agencies will conduct interviews over the phone or through a virtual platform if in-person travel is not a viable option. For additional information about student loans, go to our Student Loans webpage. Finalists should ask about student loan repayment options while interviewing for appointment opportunities as well. And any costs for utilizing a credential evaluation service are the responsibility of the Finalist; see our Education Outside U.S. webpage for additional information.
The PMF Program Office sponsors a Leadership Development Program for Fellows, which covers the tuition; however, any travel costs are the responsibility of the Fellow’s agency. We encourage Fellows to work with their agency’s Human Resources offices and their Agency PMF Coordinator to help identify free or low-cost training and development resources that may be available to you.
42. If I am not selected as a Semi-Finalist/Finalist after applying where can I find other Federal opportunities?
First, we encourage you to apply to the PMF Program again next year if you are still eligible. For updates related to the next PMF application cycle, be sure to monitor the PMF website and sign up for our PMF Subscriber List for Potential Applicants (to sign up, go to the Apply Site and click the "Subscribe" button).
Second, the PMF Program is one way to join the Federal workforce, but there are other paths to becoming a Federal employee. Another way is by applying to Federal positions that are posted on www.USAJOBS.gov. If you want to learn more about what it is like to work for the Federal Government, check out the USAJOBS information page at https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/.
Relatedly, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has launched a Federal Internship Portal for eligible individuals who are interested in internships across the Federal Government. To learn more, visit: https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/unique-hiring-paths/students/faq/federal-internship-faqs/.
We highly encourage you to (1) create a USAJOBS account, (2) build a resume using the Resume Builder tool, (3) select to have your resume and profile searchable by Federal agencies, and (4) explore positions that can be found under the Students and Recent Graduates Hiring Path and under the Federal Internship Portal.
What is USAJOBS?
USAJOBS serves as the central repository to find opportunities in hundreds of Federal agencies. Federal agencies use USAJOBS to host job openings, identify hiring paths, and advertise events.
What are hiring paths?
The Federal Government offers hiring paths to help hire individuals. Agencies use these paths to tell USAJOBS who they’re looking for when they’re hiring—whether it’s a current Federal employee, a veteran, or a recent graduate. There are many different hiring paths and USAJOBS has one for Students and Recent Graduates.
What is the students and recent graduates hiring path?
This hiring path is specifically for current students or recent graduates. It includes opportunities such as internships and more! To learn more, go to https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/unique-hiring-paths/students/.
Do I need a USAJOBS account to apply for a job?
Yes, you will need to create an account and fill out your profile information to apply to jobs posted on USAJOBS.
Why do I want to make my resume and profile searchable?
Making your resume searchable adds it to the USAJOBS resume bank. Human Resources specialists and hiring officials from Federal agencies use the resume bank to look for people (with a searchable resume in their USAJOBS profile) to fill their job vacancies. Plus, when your resume is searchable and you have completed your profile, your profile is searchable too. Learn how to do this at https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/how-to/account/profile/searchable/.
How do I search for jobs on USAJOBS?
You can search for jobs by typing in a keyword or location into the search box located at the top of the homepage. You can also click the search icon at the top of any page and the search bar will appear.
Once I find a job, how do I apply?
You will click the “Apply” button on the job announcement. This will take you into the application process. You will upload required documents (like your resume and transcripts). Continue with the instructions in the announcement.
What if I have other questions about USAJOBS, the students and recent graduates hiring path, applying for a job, or building a profile?
USAJOBS has a robust help center. Go to https://www.usajobs.gov/help/ and search through all the helpful information on using the site and applying to jobs.
43. As a Finalist, can an announcement on USAJOBS be converted into a PMF position?
See related information in FAQs #25-27 above. Some PMF positions posted on the PMF TMS may include a link to apply via USAJOBS; this is intentionally done by some agencies to populate their talent acquisition systems.
If a Finalist sees an announcement on USAJOBS that is not specific to the PMF Program, the Finalist can reach out to the Agency PMF Coordinator at that agency to inquire whether the position can be converted to a PMF position or if the agency can post a PMF appointment opportunity in the PMF TMS. However, many factors drive an agency’s decision to post a position through PMF or other hiring authorities, such as all sources on USAJOBS. It may not be possible for the position to be reposted as a PMF position and it would be at the recruiting agency’s discretion.
44. How do I find out which Federal agencies participate in the PMF Program?
The PMF Program is part of the Pathways Programs and is intended for all Federal agencies within the Executive Branch. In addition, some agencies in the Legislative Branch may participate, such as the Library of Congress and the Congressional Research Service. Not all agencies participate.
To see which agencies are currently participating in the program, refer to the current list of Agency PMF Coordinators at https://portal.pmf.gov/coordinators.aspx. Keep in mind this list is updated frequently. If you are interested in a specific component within the agency and a separate Agency PMF Coordinator is not listed, reach out to the Agency-wide PMF Coordinator.
45. What efforts has the PMF Program taken towards enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility?
To see highlights of our efforts, please review “Our DEIA Efforts” section under the About Us webpage.
46. Where can I obtain copies of my previous Federal employment and military records (e.g., Personnel Actions, Official Personnel Folder, etc.)?
Part of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, the National Personnel Records Center’s (NPRC) Federal Records Center Program maintains the official personnel folders and records of former Federal civilian employees and official military personnel files for veterans. To learn more, please go to https://www.archives.gov/personnel-records-center/civilian-non-archival.
47. I have previous/current Federal employment experience. Where can I obtain a copy of my SF 50?
If you are a current Federal employee, you should be able to obtain a copy of your SF 50, Personnel Action, from your agency’s Human Resources Office. Most agencies have an online e-OPF (electronic official personnel folder) platform for current employees to log in and download a copy. If you have previous Federal employment experience and do not have a copy of an SF 50, you can submit a request through the National Archive’s National Personnel Records Center at https://www.archives.gov/personnel-records-center/civilian-non-archival. The SF 50 to use when showing previous/current Federal employment should be a version showing a pay adjustment (e.g., showing your current grade level and salary).
48. As a Finalist, after accepting a tentative PMF appointment offer from an agency, may I consider subsequent tentative offers from agencies?
The PMF TMS (Talent Management System) is designed for Federal agencies to post PMF appointment opportunities for Finalists; to recruit Finalists for PMF positions. For Finalists, the objective is to apply for these opportunities and to obtain a PMF position during the 12-month appointment eligibility period.
When an agency extends a tentative PMF appointment offer, the Finalist accepts, and the appointment is recorded in the PMF TMS, the Finalist will no longer have access to appointment opportunities. Agencies are advised to record the appointment of a Finalist once the Finalist has accepted a tentative offer; the Finalist appears as “Appointed” in the PMF TMS. Upon recording the appointment, the PMF TMS will send an automated email to all other Agency PMF Coordinators associated to PMF appointment opportunities the Finalist applied to, informing them the Finalist has been appointed elsewhere and may no longer be under consideration. It is up to the other agencies to confirm with the Finalist if still interested.
When a Finalist accepts a tentative appointment offer, the agency immediately starts the background investigation and onboarding process, which can be time consuming and costly. Finalists may also attempt to negotiate the terms of the offer during this stage of the process. Once the background investigation is favorably adjudicated, the agency will contact the Finalist to make a final PMF appointment offer. If the Finalist accepts, then a start date is negotiated between the Finalist and the agency. The Finalist is not considered a Fellow until they onboard. For additional details on the process from applying to an appointment opportunity to onboarding as a Fellow, see FAQ #37 above.
When a Finalist is considering a tentative offer from an agency, they are encouraged to accept the offer only if they are doing so in good faith (i.e., they intend to pursue their PMF appointment at that agency). If the Finalist accepts the tentative offer, and later receives subsequent tentative offers from other agencies, there is a process to revert the appointed Finalist back to unappointed, giving the other agency the opportunity to appoint. It is ultimately up to the Finalist to decide whether they will entertain subsequent tentative offers after accepting an initial tentative offer, bearing in mind the resources that the initial agency expends. If the Finalist decides to change direction, it would also be up to the Finalist to inform the previous agency on their need to decline the offer and for that agency and the PMF Program Office to reverse the previous appointment.
49. How would a lapse in funding (shutdown furlough) impact the PMF Program?
A lapse in funding (otherwise known as a shutdown furlough) occurs when there is lapse in annual appropriates for the Federal Government. Shutdown furloughs can occur at the beginning of a fiscal year, if no funds have been appropriated for that year, or upon expiration of a continuing resolution, if a new continuing resolution or appropriations law is not passed. In a shutdown furlough, an affected agency would have to shut down any activities funded by annual appropriations that are not excepted by law. Some agency functions have alternative funding sources and, as a result, are not directly affected by a lapse in annual appropriations. Employees performing those functions will generally continue to be governed by the normal pay, leave, and other civil service rules.
The PMF Program Office is not impacted by a shutdown furlough as it is a revolving fund program and exempt.
See below for general PMF Program guidance for those impacted by a lapse of federal funding. Always defer to your home agency guidance for specific questions.
- Agency Personnel: May pause their duties until work resumes, based on individual agency contingency plans.
- PMF Supervisors: Consult their HR Office for guidance.
- Fellows: (1) consult their Supervisor, (2) pause their participation in any PMF LDP (Leadership Development Program) activities, (3) pause their work in completing program training and developmental requirements, (4) consult their Supervisor, Agency PMF Coordinator, and/or HR Office for any impact to rotations, et al.
- Applicants/Semi-Finalists: The PMF Program Office will continuing reviewing and processing all Applicants and Semi-Finalists. If any impact occurs to Semi-Finalists scheduling or participating structured interviews participation, they will be directly informed by the PMF Program Office.
- Finalists: May continue to apply to appointment opportunities. A shutdown does not impact the entire Federal Government. Many agencies will continue to process appointment opportunities. The appointment eligibility period of 12 months will not be extended.
Upon resumption of funding, program participants program requirements will adjust accordingly. The PMF Program Office will inform Fellows participating in program-sponsored activities (e.g., the PMF LDP) directly of additional information and changes.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides “Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs” for Federal agencies and employees reference. The OPM guidance can be found at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/guidance-for-shutdown-furloughs.pdf. In addition, each Federal agency issues their own guidance to their employees.