A Look at the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program

If your career goals include leadership or management in the public service or government arena, then it’s worth considering the PMF.

Are you a recent graduate student who is on a mission to make the world a better place? No matter what your cause of choice, there is a good chance that you can get one step closer to that career goal by entering into the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. The government program has been designed to give you the leadership experience you need in order to accelerate your career.

What is the PMF Program?

Before you jump right in to apply for the Presidential Management Fellows Program, it is best to know what all it involves. The two year fellowship program is paid and will put you in the position of working with a government agency. Some of the agencies that participate in the PMF program include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Agriculture, Department of Justice, and others. There are PMF positions throughout nearly all government agencies, so whether your interest is with health, justice, transportation, or something completely different, there is going to be an opportunity for you to get active.

The purpose of the PMF program is to create people who will go on to be leaders in the government. The program has been designed to give fellows the opportunity to have a hands-on experience with planning and implementing a program or project. Each student of the PMF program will work on at least one such program throughout their fellowship. This will provide them with the experience that is needed to move forward with a government career.

How it Works

As one can imagine, there is a lot of interest in the PMF program. It’s a great opportunity, and anytime you have that, it’s going to attract a lot of interest. The way it works is that all interested candidates apply, following their application procedure, which includes a nomination aspect. Then, the applications are all reviewed, and a selection of candidates are chosen from all those who apply. They typically accept applicants that they believe will make good candidates for government positions. The application process involves multiple steps and is highly selective.

Those who apply to the PMF program can expect that they will have to submit their resume to several places, as well as participate in several assessment examinations. Receiving thousands more applications than what they have positions to fill, those who are selected will be evaluated on their accomplishments, as well as their capacity for management and leadership.

Those candidates who are selected to the PMF program can expect such steps to include:

  • An orientation, which can be completed through an online Webinar.
  • Each fellow will get 160 hours of formal classroom training. This training will cover the areas of management, leadership, policy, and other relevant topics.
  • Work assignments that are challenging and give each fellow the opportunity to gain skills and experience that may help them advance their career, or lead to possible promotions once finished with the program. The work assignments that each fellow receives will span the course of 4-6 months and focus on the development and management of a program goal.
  • At the beginning of the program, fellows will meet with their prospective leaders, who will help them outline the learning objectives of the fellowship. They will also create a plan that will be taken throughout the fellowship. Then, there will be periodic performance evaluations to consider the progress being made.
  • Once the fellowship has been completed, a certificate of completion will be given at the annual spring graduation ceremony. Those who cannot attend the ceremony can make arrangements to get it without attending.
  • Once completing the program, graduates participate in a job fair that takes place in Washington, D.C.

After the PMF

Graduating from the PMF program is a prestigious accomplishment. It’s also one that tends to help graduates get into the government agencies they are interested in, and closer to the positions that their career goals include. Many people are interested in the PMF program because it gives graduates experience that would be difficult to gain elsewhere. They also get the opportunity to gain that experience in the presence of distinguished leaders, giving them the opportunity to network, and possibly even earn a referral.

Another benefit of being in the PMF program is that it helps to get a foot in the door of the agency that you may be want to work at. If you have your heart set on helping veterans, you can seek a PMF position with Department of Veterans Affairs. This gets you into the agency you want to work for. From there, if you successfully complete the program, they will have an opportunity to see the value you bring to the agency. This may get you a secure position or an expedited promotion.

Applying for the PMF

As of July 10, 2012, there were new regulations that were put into place for the PMF program. These new regulations did create some changes to the application process. For the most up-to-date application process details, it is best to log into the PMF site. In the meantime, it probably wouldn’t hurt to start making sure you have a top-notch professional resume, cover letter, and if you can get them, some recommendation letters that speak to your aptitude in the areas of leadership and management.

If your career goals include leadership or management in the public service or government arena, then it’s worth considering the PMF. With it being a paid fellowship, it provides a low risk opportunity to gain valuable experience and make powerful connections. There may be a lot of people that apply for the PMF program, but don’t let that keep you from moving forward and applying to get in. During the 2012 program, there were around 9,100 people who applied for the PMF program, and 628 people were selected. Focus on the fact that there were over 600 people who were chosen to be a part of the program, and know that you have the opportunity to be one of those in the next round of admissions!

About the Author

Jason Kay is a professional resume writer and regular contributor to KSADoctor.com, a professional federal resume service and repository of sample KSA statements.