Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2013 PMF: Post-Application Thread

Now that the application period for the 2013 PMF program has closed, it's time to talk details.  I wanted to keep discussions of assessment details to a minimum during the application period to preserve the integrity of the assessment itself.  There's no guarantee that any of the materials used this year will be used again, but the principles should be roughly the same.  So here's your opportunity to talk about your experiences with the assessment.  How do you think you did?  What kinds of questions were asked, and how effective do you think they are in determining sutiability for federal employment?  What was your experience with the online assessment?  How many people do you think applied?  New for this year: given that most applicants are on the East Coast, how did the hurricane impact your ability to complete the assessment?  And, are you sweating the impending fiscal cliff at all?

From my perspective, I have to say I am very pleased with the communication coming out of the PMF Program Office for this application cycle.  They have taken to Facebook pretty well and seem to be communicating better than at any time I remember.  For those who don't know, that's one of the reasons I started this blog, because there wasn't any real communication.  Even so, though, I hope people who find their way here still find use for this blog as a means of expression outside the official channels.

Monday, November 5, 2012

2013 PMF Program Application: Open Thread

The 2013 PMF program is officially accepting applications as of today.  Let us know if you are/have submitted your assessment, but please don't discuss the contents of the assessment.  Fair warning: I will delete any comments that include substantive information about the assessment.  There will be a separate open thread after the application deadline for you to discuss that portion.

Application and on-line assessment are in the same step this year, so keep that in mind as you submit your materials.  The PMF Program Office has also released an updated preparation guide to get you started.  The deadline for application submission is 19 November.  Good luck, everyone!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Preparing for the 2013 PMF Application

Hello to all the PMF hopefuls! 

As we near the opening period for the PMF 2013 round (and, as I have the day off due to Hurricane Sandy,) I wanted to take time to provide a few comments that I hope will be helpful.

First, it's a wonderful opportunity to be a part of this blog.  As this is my premiere post, I'll introduce myself: I'm pmfellow2! 

I'm hopping on the bandwagon as another voice from the PMF program.  I'll also attempt to assist pmfellow continue the wonderful work with this blog, both as an open space for discussion and for information sharing about the PMF program.   I am working within the government now in Washington, DC, having just recently come on-board as a 2012 PMF.  I'm also a veteran, a fact which does play a role in the process of the fellowship.

Of course, the disclaimer: I am NOT representative of the beliefs of the government or the OPM officials that run the PMF program.  I can only speak for myself, and I hope that, in sharing some of my personal experiences, the upcoming PMF class will gain more insight into the program and the process.

Want some important tips? Here goes:
1)  Collect all your paperwork NOW.  Vets:  Make sure to have a scanned copy of your DD-214 handy.  Everyone: Start scanning in your docs so you have the e-copies ready to go when the application period begins.
* NOTE: The following restrictions apply to files submitted during the application process (e.g., resume, transcript, and supporting documents for claiming veterans' preference and/or requesting reasonable accommodations):
  • File format must be in GIF, JPG, PNG, RTF, DOC, DOCX, WPD, or PDF
  • File size must not exceed 3 megabytes per file
2) You don't need letters of recommendation, so don't waste your time.

3)  FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS TO THE LETTER during the application process. I cannot stress how important this is.  When completing the online assessment, you MUST follow the directions precisely.  For example, (and yes, I'm making this up for purposes of explanation): If they say "Write 1000 words about the solar system" and you write 998 words about the solar system, you didn't cut the mustard, and your application will not make it further.  Read AND follow the directions.

4) In the government, a six or seven page resume is typical.  I'm a writer, and therefore, I'm all for the Strunk/White philosophy of getting your point across in as few words as possible. I believe this to be true of resumes as well (both government and civilian); however, in government work, they truly WANT to know every internship and professional place that you worked.  Don't scrimp on your resume size during the initial application.  (You can cut your resume to a more palatable length during the Job Fair if you make it to that stage.)

5)  Good luck!  At this stage of the game, it's all about following directions and telling the truth.  I know it's a nerve-wracking process, but I wish you the best of luck.


Monday, September 24, 2012

New Resource for PMF Hopefuls

This is a quick update to let you know about a new resource you can take advantage of.  Path to PMF is a new site sponsored by the Robertson Foundation for Government and put together by GovLoop.  In their words:
PathtoPMF.com is an interactive online resource designed to serve as the “go-to” guide for prospective applicants in navigating the PMF process from application to job placement.  The guide shares advice with applicants based on video and podcast interviews with more than 60 current and past PMFs, nearly a dozen career advisors, and several federal agency program coordinators. The site also hosts discussion forums where prospects can ask questions and support one another throughout the application process.
GovLoop has put a ton of work into past PMF guides, and this year the guide has been released on the Path to PMF website.  It's available now and highly recommended.

Path to PMF launch announcement.

PMF Guide

Robertson Foundation for Government

PMF Website

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2013 PMF Application and Assessment

Just saw this via the PMF Facebook page:

Mark your calendar! The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Application will launch Monday, November 5, 2012 on USAJOBS.gov and the PMF Website, pmf.gov. The streamlined application will include a three-part online assessment. The online application and assessments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, November 19, 2012. Anyone that received an advanced degree in the past two years, or current students that will receive an advanced degree by August 31, 2013 are eligible to apply; and a nomination form is no longer required. Please join the PMF email listserv (http://listserv.opm.gov/wa.exe?SUBED1=PMF&A=1) so you can be notified when the PMF Assessment Study Guide is available, and receive application reminders. All the best! -PMF Program Office
So you have between November 5 and November 19, 2012 to complete both the online application AND the assessment.  That's what they mean by streamlined.  It's good to finally get some idea of that.

It's also worth noting the eligibility window for applicants.  If you have completed an advanced degree within the last two years OR you are a current student who will complete an advanced degree by August 31, 2013, you are eligible.  It's good to get confirmation of that as well.  In reality, this means the eligibility window for application to the PMF program is three years.  If you are a current student now, and you will complete a degree by next year's deadline, it looke like you will be able to apply for 2013, 2014, and 2015 before you're out of chances.  Just something to keep in mind.  Not too shabby, I think.

Oh, and one more thing, also via the PMF Facebook page.  If you become a finalist and you otherwise qualify, you can be considered for the Technology Fellows program as well.

What do you all think?  Is this good timing?  What do you think about combining the application and assessment into one step?  This is your open thread for the 2013 PMF application process.  I will probably open another thread to talk about your thoughts on the assessment itself, but I think it's best if we wait until after the application/assessment period closes to discuss particulars.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I started this particular blog in February of 2010, while I was still a new PMF, largely to distance the blog from me personally, and to protect the agency from anything that happened on here.  However, I have been blogging about the PMF program since late 2008 and early 2009 as a way to inform and facilitate the kind of discussion I saw as missing from the program.  During this time, I have gladly dedicated myself to providing what information I could about the program for those of you considering it and for those of you who are working your way through it, regardless of the stage (applicant, finalist, current or former fellow).  To date, this blog has been a one man operation, but it's also occasionally time-consuming.  I was only half joking when I made a comment in the past about establishing PMFellow as a sort of institution, a bit like the Dread Pirate Roberts, but...

Today I would like to introduce the newest member of the PMF Info team.  She is a 2012 PMF in the Washington, DC, area and so she's dialed in to the current PMF scene.  She's excited to be a part of the blog.  Watch for her postings over the coming PMF season and be sure to welcome her aboard.  In addition to posting her own thoughts, she is also interested in continuing work on the PMF Job Fair spreadsheet in order to create a more dynamic experience here and provide high quality information to all of you.

So with that, welcome PMFellow2 :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

2013 PMF Preparation

It's been quiet lately in PMF land.  That doesn't mean nothing is going on, though.  Two bits of information that will eventually affect you, potential 2013 class, deal with the Pathways program and, by extension, the new application system that should be available for this application period.

If you recall, the Pathways program was an attempt to streamline entry into federal service.  The biggest changes were 1) the dropping of the nomination requirement, so you no longer have to be nominated by your school, and 2) a change in the eligibility window such that you need only have completed a graduate degree within the last two years to be eligible to apply.  These changes are now in effect.

According to what OPM published on the Federal Register in July, the new application system is intended to field some 25,000 applicants this year (and the application process is estimated at 13 minutes).  Keep in mind this is nearly triple the highest applicant pool they've dealt with in the past.  This should be interesting.

As I did last year, I had hoped to round up a quick count of hires by this point by way of comparison.  I didn't manage to get the numbers, though, but will try to update this post in the next day or two to include them.  At some point, I know I owe the community the data from 2012's class, but wouldn't you know I've been too busy to sit down and play with it?

Finally, about the application period.  I don't really know when it will start this year.  It usually starts after people have gotten back to school from summer break, so they'll have time to chase down nominating officials.  Since that's no longer part of the process, I'm guessing you all know as much as I do.  Stay tuned, I guess.  In the mean time, chime in if you're planning to apply this year.  I suspect this is going to be an interesting ride.

Oh, and if you're a newcomer (most of you will be), please familiarize yourself with the Comments Policy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 PMF Survey

Here is the promised survey for the 2012 PMF class.  I want to stress that I am not associated with the program, it is unlikely that anyone from the program will even ask for this, and I have no plans to reveal any information except through aggregation.  It is intended to benefit future classes.  Please respond as thoroughly as you are comfortable.  If you have any concerns, you can email me at pmfellow AT gmail DOT com or reply in the comments.

I will keep this form open from now until around April 1, 2013, so please feel free to provide updates whenever you have them.  If you are a returning visitor to the form (i.e., you've already submitted answers once), choose the Returning Visitor option and make sure to put in the same name you used initially.

The direct link to the form is here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 PMF Survey Development

Based on a suggestion in the previous comments thread, I am looking for questions to put on a survey for this year's job fair. If we can collect good, honest data about your experiences and how you approached the job fair and whether it met your expectations or not, I think we can present future applicants an accurate picture that can help them determine whether the job fair was worthwhile or not. I do have last year's survey, which was generating responses pretty regularly through September of 2011, with the last response in February of 2012. As soon as I get a chance, I will see what the data says.

Here are last year's questions:

  • What is your name (first and last or pseudonym)?
  • What school did/will you graduate from?
  • Do you have a veteran's preference?
  • Did you attend the job fair?
  • How many interviews did you have BEFORE the job fair?
  • How many interviews did you have DURING the job fair?
  • How many interviews did you have AFTER the job fair?
  • Have you received an offer?
  • How many offers have you received?
  • What agencies made you offers?
  • Did you accept an offer?
  • If you accepted an offer, what agency, location, and position did you accept?
  • If you accepted an offer, was this offer a result of the job fair?
  • What is your area of study?
  • Notes/Comments

These are a start, but I think we can do better. The first thing that's apparent is that we will want to handle returning responders.  I didn't have adequate provision for that in the original form, but will be able to work that into the next iteration of it.  Beyond that, at a minimum, I think we want to know:

  • Are you a new or returning visitor to this survey?  (Yes/No)  (Conditional branch)
  • What is your name (first and last or pseudonym)?  (Free Text)
  • Did you attend the job fair?  (Yes/No)  (Conditional Branch?)
  • If not, why not?  (Free text)
  • How many interviews did you have before the job fair?  (Number 0+)
  • How many interviews did you have during the job fair?  (Number 0+)
  • How many interviews have you had since the job fair?  (Number 0+)
  • Have you received any offers?  (Yes/No)
  • If so, how many?  (Number 0+ or N/A?)
  • Did you accept any offers?  (Yes/No)
  • Do you feel that these offers were a result of the job fair?  (Yes/No)
  • What is your area of graduate study?  (Free Text)
  • What is your area of undergraduate study?  (Free Text)

Are there other questions we should ask?  It might be worthwhile to develop the conditional branches a bit more so that we can capture a wider range of responses, but I don't currently have any questions in mind.  I'll take your suggestions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2012 PMF Job Fair Recap + Updates

Today is the last day of the 2012 PMF job fair. I see on the PMF site that at least a few of the 2012 class have secured appointments. How are the rest of you doing? Any promising leads as a result of the job fair? Exciting experiences? Anyone get appointments without going to the job fair?

I don't have any new updates beyond this. There hasn't been a great deal of newsworthy information. One thing that I saw earlier this month, and which probably won't go anywhere, is a letter from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform [PDF] to OPM director John Berry regarding communications issues with finalists. While the commenters on the original WaPo article reporting on this were quick to suggest that the Committee is wasting its time over some email glitches, I'm not sure it's quite that simple. I guess we'll see if anything comes of it.

I am still planning to do some data analysis on this year's applicants and finalists. Due to work constraints, though, I haven't really had the time. (I might not even have all of the data; once I find out I can follow up with another post) If someone is interested in doing this and has free time and ability, let me know and I can help you get started.

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 PMF Finalist Results Day

[Update 1: There seems to be a notification issue again this year. I'm hearing reports of rejection letters followed by congratulation letters. If you received both of these, be sure to let us know. Original text is also appreciated. I would like to note that in cases where this happens, you might just have to wait until the list is received to be sure.]

[Update 2: I'm sure many of you know by now, having seen the Facebook page, that the earlier incidents with emails were the result of some kind of system problem. The real results should go out sometime later, I guess.]

[Update 3: The 2012 finalist list has now been released (PDF), and the notifications are still trickling out. If you haven't heard anything yet, check the official list for your name. This year there were 628 finalists, which is considerably lower than previous years. A permanently archived version of the list is here.]

According to the official information channels, the 2012 PMF finalist results are supposed to be out "on or around" January 24th. Unofficial word on the street is that they're going out now. In the past, these notifications have taken a while to process, so if you haven't heard anything yet, be patient.

But if you have heard anything...

Let us know if you made it or not.

If so, congratulations. Now it's time to find a position :) Let us know if you have any particular agencies or job fields in mind. Also, are you going to attend the job fair?

If not, just remember that the process was competitive, and lots of otherwise good, well-qualified semifinalists are also being sent away. Finally, given the recent structural changes to the program, I think applying again next year is in your best interest, so go for it! Be sure and let us know whether you plan to try again next year.

Once the finalist list is published, I will make a new post linking to it.