Become a PMF
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Finalists, please review all content.
As a Finalist, you are in the final stages of becoming a PMF. Now, with your Finalist status, you're eligible to be appointed to a PMF appointment in a participating Federal agency after:
- You complete all advanced degree requirements before starting a PMF position,
- You meet the qualifications of the PMF position, and
- You complete any background investigation required by the hiring agency.
The Finalist's appointment eligibility period expires 12 months after the date Finalists are officially announced. For example, Finalists for the PMF Class of 2019 were selected on November 20, 2018, and they have until November 20, 2019, to be appointed to a PMF position. This means the Finalist must have either applied for a PMF position, accepted a PMF appointment offer, or started a PMF appointment by the appointment eligibility deadline. See additional information on extensions below under "Appointment Eligibility Extensions".
To be eligible for placement as a Fellow with a participating Federal agency, Finalists must complete all advanced degree requirements (including any required thesis/dissertation) by August 31st of the year following the application period, or earlier, to start a PMF appointment. If a Finalist does not complete their advanced degree requirements on or before August 31st, he/she will be ineligible for placement as a PMF and will lose their appointment eligibility as a Finalist.
Hiring agencies have the responsibility to confirm placement eligibility and may request a transcript.
Eligibility for a PMF appointment will end 12 months from the date that Finalists are officially announced. The PMF Program does not allow for extensions/deferrals when a Finalist does not complete the degree requirements (including the successful completion/defense of any required thesis/dissertation) by the deadline.
A Finalist with a master's degree would typically meet the minimum qualifications for a GS-09 (or equivalent) position and a Finalist with a professional or doctorate degree would typically meet the minimum qualifications of a GS-11 (or equivalent) position. Qualifications are based on education, experience, or a combination of. Such determination is based by the hiring agency and Finalists should direct any questions regarding qualifications and grade level with the Human Resources Specialist for the agency recruiting for the position.
Throughout the appointment eligibility period, we will send broadcast emails to all current Finalists to check their status and ensure our records are up to date. The Finalists' Status Email will ask if they: (1) have accepted a tentative PMF appointment offer from an agency, (2) have already accepted a PMF appointment and physically onboarded with the appointing agency, or (3) requesting withdrawal from further consideration.
You now have to get hired into a PMF position, pass a background investigation, and go through the agency's on-boarding process. It can take several weeks to pass a Federal background investigation and/or several months to obtain a security clearance (if applicable). Because you'll want to have as much control as possible over when you start your PMF position, it is important to plan ahead. Finalists should:
- Review this entire webpage and FAQs.
- Start collecting information for the background investigation (see additional information below).
- Check for PMF appointment opportunities in the PMF TMS (Talent Management System). Participating Federal agencies will post appointment opportunities when available. Please check the PMF TMS often for any new opportunities (see below).
Typically a number of appointment opportunities are posted around the time Finalists are selected and officially announced. Finalists should monitor the PMF TMS for new appointment opportunities and contact Agency PMF Coordinators for any future appointment opportunities and questions.
Since many agencies typically hire towards the end of a fiscal year or beginning of a new one (October 1st), additional appointment opportunities may become available as agencies adjust their budgets and staffing levels.
Finalists should log into their applicant user account under the Apply Site of the PMF TMS at https://apply.pmf.gov to search for appointment opportunities. Only current Finalists can access and view appointment opportunities. Finalists should not confuse appointment opportunities with rotational opportunities. Rotational opportunities are intended for current Fellows only.
See Upon Appointment below for additional steps.
Agency PMF Coordinators
Each participating Federal agency identifies an Agency PMF Coordinator who manages the PMF Program at the agency level and who serves as a liaison between the agency and the PMF Program Office; not all Federal agencies participate in the PMF Program. If you do not see an Agency PMF Coordinator for a sub-agency, contact the Agency PMF Coordinator at the agency (headquarters) level. The PMF Program is intended for Federal agencies within the Executive Branch; however, we do allow some agencies in the Legislative or Judicial Branches to participate in the PMF Program via a PMF MOA (Memorandum of Agreement). The only agencies outside of the Executive Branch that presently participate is the Library of Congress and the Congressional Research Service. Participating agencies change frequently.
To view the current List of Agency PMF Coordinators, click on the following link: https://apply.pmf.gov/coordinators.aspx.
Updating Your Contact Info
All communications are conducted by email. Both current Finalists and Fellows maintain their current contact information by logging into their applicant user account under the Apply Site of the PMF TMS (Talent Management System). Upon appointment as a Fellow, the Agency PMF Coordinator from the appointing agency must update your appointment and work contact information. The PMF Program Office may record appointment information on behalf of any Agency PMF Coordinator or Finalist/Fellow. When a Finalist is recorded has accepting a tentative PMF appointment offer or onboards as a PMF, their status changes to Fellow. Such Fellows can view the appointment information recorded in the PMF TMS by logging into the Apply Site and clicking on "View Appointment Info". If any data is incorrect, he/she should contact the Agency PMF Coordinator.
Updating Your Resume and Application Documents
Once the application period closes, the Applicant cannot update or upload any additional documents (e.g., revised resume). However, if an Applicant is selected as a Finalist, he/she may upload an updated resume on the Apply Site of the PMF TMS; only the most current version will be accessible by registered agency users. Finalists may send updated resumes and/or new supporting documents directly to the contact identified in the appointment opportunity. Finalists should follow the instructions in the appointment opportunity on what documents to submit to the posting agency for consideration.
Since the original resume and application documents are used to determine eligibility until selection of Finalists, these remain intact. Federal agencies will be able to search by several criteria collected during the application process (e.g., languages, degrees/disciplines, type of degree, academic institution, veterans' preference, skills, and preferred geographic location to name a few).
If a Finalist has a change to their claim for veterans' preference (e.g., updated supporting documentation), he/she should send an email to the PMF Program Office via firstname.lastname@example.org, along with a copy of the updated documents. We will review and re-adjudicate accordingly.
When a Finalist accepts a PMF appointment offer, the appointing agency's Human Resources Office is responsible for validating a Finalists' transcript to ensure all degree requirements have been met before the Finalist can physically start their appointment as a PMF (commonly referred to as onboarding).
Withdrawing from Further Consideration
An Applicant can withdraw their application up until Finalists are selected. Finalists can withdraw anytime during their 12 months of appointment eligibility. Applicants and Finalists can withdraw from further consideration by logging into their applicant user account on the Apply Site and go to "Manage Settings".
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.
Preparing for a Background Investigation
These investigations can be lengthy and may require you to provide extensive information regarding your background. Completing an investigation can take anywhere from weeks to several months. The most common Standard Forms (SF) used by Federal agencies is the SF 85, Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions, or the SF 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions. You are highly encouraged to review these forms and start collecting the requested data ahead of time so that you are prepared just in case. Some Federal agencies require agency-specific forms for this purpose; if this is the case, they will inform you. Common forms used for background investigations can be found under the Resources section.
All new hires into the Federal Government must complete some level of a background investigation before being issued government identification and/or starting employment (e.g., the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Smart Card Program, commonly used by agencies as identification issued to access the building and networks). If you are offered an appointment, the appointing agency's human resources office will send you the necessary paperwork and instructions. The PMF Program Office does not initiate or perform such investigations.
It is common for background investigations to be much longer than normal for those with any overseas activity (e.g., attended school overseas, resided overseas, relatives overseas, military stationed overseas, etc.).
Depending upon the circumstance, it is possible that prior background investigations will not transfer from one Federal agency to another and many agencies have unique requirements.
The background investigation process can be lengthy and expensive for the hiring agency. If a Finalist changes their mind after accepting a PMF appointment offer, he/she should immediately notify the Agency PMF Coordinator and contact identified in the appointment opportunity.
The PMF Program Office is not involved in the background investigation process and cannot answer any questions in this regard. Finalists should contact the Agency PMF Coordinator for questions and the status of their background investigation. Finalists are not able to initiate or fund their own background investigation. The level of the background investigation is based on how the position is classifed as and the agency's policies and procedures.
Once a Finalist accepts a tentative PMF appointment offer, he/she should complete the OPM Form 1306, PMF Appointment Intake Form. This optional form is used by Finalists, Fellows, and Agency PMF Coordinators upon Finalists accepting a tentative PMF appointment offer for their initial appointment or Finalists/Fellows needing to update their appointment information. The form collects basic appointment information for updating the PMF TMS (e.g., anticipated start date, position title, job series, grade level, agency/sub-agency, or name and email address of supervisor).
Finalists are encouraged to immediately fill out the form and submit to the PMF Program Office and Agency PMF Coordinator of the appointing agency upon formal acceptance of a PMF appointment job offer. Ultimately it is the Agency PMF Coordinator of the appointing agency who is responsible for entering appointment information in the PMF TMS; however, the PMF Program Office may enter such information to assist Coordinators and Finalists. The form can be found under the Become A PMF\Resources section.
Based on this information, the Finalist's status will be updated in the PMF TMS. Your status as a Finalist changes to a Fellow once you accept or start your appointment and/or when the appointment information is recorded in the PMF TMS. Once a Finalist is recorded as accepting a PMF appointment offer, he/she will no longer have access to search for appointment opportunities and their status changes to "Appointed". Once a Finalist onboards as a Fellow, he/she would log into the Apply Site of the PMF TMS to search for rotational or training opportunities. The 2-year fellowship begins on the first day of onboarding as a PMF.
Appointment Eligibility Extensions
Hiring agencies may formally request an appointment eligibility extension for a Finalist has either (1) been made a tentative PMF appointment offer AND accepted the offer, but cannot onboard as a PMF by the applicable appointment eligibility deadline, or (2) to a Finalist who applied for an advertised PMF appointment opportunity and the agency has not conducted interviews and/or made tentative job offers prior to the appointment eligibility period deadline.
If the PMF Program Office approves such a request, the extension is only valid for that Finalist and the Federal agency making the request. If, for whatever reason, the requesting agency rescinds the offer, the extended Finalist will lose further consideration if the appointment eligibility deadline has passed. The Finalist must still meet eligibility and the position's qualifications.
A Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) on this topic for Finalists appears under the Become a PMF\FAQs section and for agencies under the Agencies\FAQs section. The OPM Form 1305, PMF Appointment Eligibility Extension Request Form, can be found under the Agencies\Resources section.
The Agency PMF Coordinator for the appointing agency is responsible for submitting requests and keeping all parties informed on the status. The Agency PMF Coordinator must submit a new request for additional time if the initial extension is about to or has expired. Extensions are not granted for a Finalist to complete degree requirements prior to starting their PMF appointment.
Visit the next section to view information on the Hiring Event.