The PMF Application: OPEN THREAD

The PMF Application: OPEN THREAD

It’s application time – you’ve read the PMF guide for tips, you’ve watched the videos. Now’s the time to apply.

Use this open thread as a place to:
-Share your experience
-Ask a question
-Or maybe just to vent :)

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  • bob

    Anyone know when the PMF application comes out?

    • Sebastian

      Yes – it’s looking like late September, early October.

      • bob

        Any word on any changes to the process?

        • Steve

          Bob – PMF application just came out. Big changes to the process are eligibility (previously you were only eligible the year you graduated – now you have 3 years of eligibility). Also the application process and screening is different

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Bob – The PMF Class of 2013 application period opens on Monday, November 5, 2012 and closes on Monday, November 19, 2012 at 11:59p ET. All pieces of your application and online assessment (including supporting docs) need to be done by then.

  • Russ

    Does anyone know if current PMF finalists can renew their status for the following cycle as well, or would they have to reapply entirely?

    • Steve

      Good question Russ – personally to play it safe I’d reapply entirely.

      • Stephen

        Russ – If you are a current finalist you CAN reapply at the start but when you reapply you void your current finalist status. As far as renewing your finalist status I do not believe that’s an option.

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Russ – From the OPM website: “The Finalist status expires one year after the date Finalists are officially announced. For example, Finalists for the PMF Class of 2012 were selected on January 24, 2012; they have until January 24, 2013, to be appointed to a PMF position. This means the Finalist must have accepted a PMF appointment offer and physically start by the appointment eligibility deadline.”
      As Stephen said, you are allowed to reapply for the Class of 2013.

  • Chris

    Will the online assessment will include things like verbal reasoning and critical thinking? I thought that those sections had been eliminated, but the PMF Guide refers to sample questions and general advice that seem to suggest otherwise. Also, will the essays be untimed?

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Chris – My understanding is that the nature of the online assessment questions has not changed; only the software they are using to capture the information has been updated for this year’s application process. The essay will not be timed – but they have indicated that it would take roughly 3 hours to complete the initial application from start to finish, so be sure to allot plenty of time.

  • MsD

    Good Afternoon…are grades considered in qualifying to be a PMF?

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      MsD – Are you asking if it matters what grade you are now? Based on my read of the eligibility guidelines (http://www.pmf.gov/become-a-pmf/eligibility.aspx), that doesn’t matter at all…only if you’ve completed graduate study within the required time period.

      • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

        Ha – in a true sign that I have been around government for a long time, I interpreted your question as “grade-step”. You might also be talking about GPA. My sense is that the most important facet of your initial application is your responses to the online assessment…not whether you were a 4.0. :-)

  • Ayesha

    As someone in a one year accelerated M.S. program, will I submit a gradeless “transcript” or am I not eligible until I have something to show?

    • Stephen

      You would submit a gradeless transcript. I would just make sure the transcript also shows your anticipated graduation date. Grades are not considered in the application or even semi-finalist phase of the process. The only time they really come into play is when you are a finalist and actually applying for open PMF positions at which point an employer may ask about them.

  • Johnny

    I’m a current fed (GS-12) in that graduated within the allotted timeline. Am I eligible? I can’t find whether current Feds are eligible. Also, my MS and work is in Information Assurance – is this attractive to PMF?

    • Steve

      Hey Johnny – I know people that have applied for PMF and gotten it even though currently a fed. The debate is – is it worth it? You usually drop down to a GS 9 which is the standard PMF entry grade (GS 9 then 1 year 11 then 1 year 12).

      Why do we want the PMF? One value people like is to get outside of their agency as well as opportunities for more rotations

      • Johnny

        Oh, so there is no way to start at higher than a GS-9?

        • Stephen

          Johnny – You can actually negotiate a higher starting grade (typically an 11 is as high as they go) with the possibility of working your way up to a high 12 at the end the process. This is on an opening to opening basis though and depends on the agency.

  • Ricky

    Is there anything I should be doing in preparation over the next couple weeks to prepare?

  • Jessica DeMory

    Hello,
    I wanted to know are all the presidential management fellowship positions located only in Washington DC? I thought in the past there were some positions outside of DC, but I am not sure. Please let me know, thank you.

    • Steve

      Jessica – the majority of PMF positions end up in DC by the nature of the work but there are definitely positions outside of DC. I have had friends that are PMFs work in field offices across the country at agencies such as HUD, GSA, EPA, a friend at a national park out West, and even State Dep’t oversees.

  • Peterson

    Is it permissible to submit the resume I will be submitting for my PMF application to the Rock the Resume group for feedback?

    • Steve

      Yep – go for it. Can’t promise it’ll be chosen for a full review but you can minimall add it to group and see if others will comment

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Peterson – Use the tips that we share in the group and spruce up your resume. Also, take a look at some of the before and after transformations that illustrate the difference between a regular resume and one that is more geared toward government: http://www.govloop.com/profiles/blog/list?tag=Rock+Your+Resume

  • Peterson

    Additionally, is relocation an option as a PMF. I live in Chicago but I would like to relocate to DC in general. Is it likely that I would be considered for DC opportunities based on the fact that I want to move there, and would be willing to relocate if offered the opportunity. Are relocation expenses usually awarded to PMFs or is it a case by case situation.

    • Steve

      Hey Peterson – You would definitely be considered for DC opportunities. Honestly, most of the matching occurs at the PMF Job Fair that occurs if you make it and become a finalist. You’d make your case then (as well as in email outreach before and after).

      Some agencies may provide relocation expenses but I’d assume that’s the exception versus the norm

  • Aarti

    Hello, thanks for all your help and guidance!

    My question is how do I get my resume in the right federal government format? Are there any samples I can use on which to model my resume? I signed up for govloop, but seems like that may only be open to government employees….

    • Steve

      Hey Aarti – Go ahead and join govloop – I’ll approve you. Check out the samples and resume review resources here – http://www.govloop.com/group/rockyourresume/page/instructions

      • Selina

        Hi Steve,

        I also would like to access the govloop group. I just requested to join the group, would you mind approving me as well? Thanks!

  • Liz

    I currently live abroad in Africa and am wondering about the in-person assessment (if I should make it that far!)- are there any exceptions made for this kind of situation, where it would be very expensive to attend in person?

    • stephen

      I think you’re out of luck here. I’m pretty sure the in-person has to be in-person.

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Liz – Will you be moving back here anytime soon?

  • Sean

    HI, should the resume be in USAJOBS or is a word document acceptable? Also, all guidance I’ve seen for federal resumes suggests writing experience to reflect key words and KSA’s from the posting. Since the PMF is not for a specific job, is it suggested that we use the seven competencies?

  • Steve

    May have been an error but did you have a question Sean?

  • Sue

    I’m a little confused about the application as opposed to the federal resume and the on-line assessment. Is the word “application” merely being used as a short-hand for the submission of the resume and completion of the on-line assessment, or is it an entirely separate thing? If so, what does it entail? Thanks.

    • Sue

      Also, once you begin the on-line assessment, do you have to complete it in one session? I know it is untimed, but I didn’t think you could, for example, view the essay questions and then go back to complete it later.

      • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

        Great question, Sue. You are correct – it is unproctored and untimed, so you do not have to complete it in one setting, but it is recommended that you block out the time to do so.

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      That is correct, Sue. The Application includes both the online assessment and the resume.

  • Jessie

    Am I correct that we will be able to change (upload a new version) our resumes if we make it to the Finalist stage? If so, is there any reason that I shouldn’t wait on making my resume the appropriate government format until I find out if I’ve made it past the first/second stages?

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Jessie – Yes, it is my understanding that you will be able to make changes to your resume once you are in the Finalist stage. At that time, I would highly recommend that you identify specific agencies / positions and map your resume to the opportunity. Be sure to check in here during that phase of the process and we’ll strive to have more information for you. Good luck!

  • Sue

    In terms of the “References” section of the USAJOBS resume builder, is it OK to list one or two of the supervisors that are already listed under the “Work Experience” section, or should they all be different?

    • Steve

      It’s okay to put the same supervisors

  • mpastudent

    Couple tips my school sent out:

    The process switches from the “application” – the initial intake questions – to the online assessment, then back to the application for 3 essays. The entire thing is untimed. Applicants can stop at any point in the application, and between any of the sections, except when they are in the middle of the assessment section. The assessment involves watching and responding to a series of short videos (“Situational Judgment Test”), then answering a battery of Likert scale questions (“Personality Test of behavioral questions”).

    The essays are considerably longer than the 10 minute sample of the last couple years, though not too burdensome: roughly 200-300 words to give a better indication of writing ability. They do not require any specific policy knowledge. The text-entry boxes are pretty small, but applicants can write their essays in another program, then copy them into the boxes. Again, applicants can pause at any point in the application section.

    · Do NOT wait until the final weekend to start the application

    · The assessment system is not compatible with Macs and iPads

    · Have a resume and unofficial transcript in .doc or .pdf format

    · Applicants can fax their documents, but it’s much easier if they can upload them

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Thanks for sharing, MPAStudent!

  • Cindy

    Another site people may want to check out in addition to this site and pmf.gov is pmfellow.blogspot.com

    Couple tips they posted I liked:

    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.)

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      That is another great resource, Cindy. Thanks for sharing those tips!

    • Jen

      Are PMF resumes supposes to be tailored to a specific job? I was confused about this point Thanks!

      • Stephen

        Actually Jen you should map your resume to the core competencies rather than a specific job. Be sure to check out our free resume training on 11/13: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/c7cp80e8e1fvg1mdf9ukbcuoma8

        • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

          Hi Jen – As Stephen said, I would tailor this first version to PMF’s 7 core competencies. Should you advance to the Finalist stage, at that time I would target / tailor your resume to a specific job.

          • Chris

            But are you allowed to change your resume after you submit the application? The USAJOBS application specifies “Applicants will not be able to make changes to their resumes after the closing date of this vacancy announcement.”

          • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

            Hi Chris – It looks like your resume for the PMF Application will be locked in through the process of being named a Finalist (that is, the version that you upload to the PMF system). Once named a Finalist, you will be able to revise and submit more targeted resumes for agency job opportunities. In fact, you can change your resume(s) in USAJOBS Resume Builder at any time – and you will definitely want to do so as you apply for specific openings.

          • Cyndera

            Thanks for sharing, that also answers my question. I am in the process of getting my US citizenship, and will be done by the time the finalists are announced. So it’s good to know that I can put my citizenship down as German for now and change it in case I become a finalist. Thanks!

          • http://twitter.com/anntieup Annie

            What are those 7 core competencies? Where can we find them? I live in Hawaii, and 11 AM EST for the hangout is not a time I can do that as I work on Tuesday morning.

          • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

            Hi Annie – They are found in the PMF Assessment Prep Guide released by OPM: http://www.pmf.gov/media/45447/2013_pmf_assessment_preparation_guide_11-09-12.pdf

            We will be recording the webinar and keeping it posted at the Google+ Event, so you can watch it at your convenience. We will also post the recorded video on our blog on this site.

          • http://twitter.com/anntieup Annie

            thanks a bunch!

    • Cyndera

      I guess it’s good that I worked for about an hour to get all three essays to exactly 3000 characters lol.

  • Kirsten

    So, I have a bit of a unique question: I am a U.S. permanent resident and won’t be eligible to become a U.S. citizen until summer of 2014. I will graduate with a Masters Degree in August 2013, making me technically eligible to participate in this year’s PMF round . Knowing that there are not that many positions open for permanent residents, should I nonetheless apply this year to gain practical experience in the PMF process? Can I then apply again the next two rounds (2013 and 2014)? Or can one apply only once? I am trying to see what my best strategy is. Thanks for your help!

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Kirsten – Thanks for your question. I would refer you to this page on PMF.go: http://pmf.gov/become-a-pmf/eligibility/citizenship.aspx

      It sounds like you are eligible, as you suggest, and could apply now. You could even potentially advance and become a Finalist, be appointed by an agency and then become a U.S. Citizen before converting to permanent career or career-conditional employment.

      If you plan to apply at some point, it sounds like you might as well apply now. Like you said, you get the experience of applying this year and, even if you don’t make it for Class of 2013, you *can* always apply again next year and you would have the benefit of experience in a subsequent application process.

      If you have any additional questions, I would encourage you to email pmfapplication@opm.gov – if you do and get a response please be sure to share it back on this thread. Thanks, Kirsten.

      • Kirsten

        Hi Andrew,

        Thank you for your answer. I also emailed the PMF office and they said it would be best for me to consider applying in 2014 when I actually have become a U.S. citizen, since PMF positions for non-U.S. citizens are so rare. I think I might at least wait until next year…

        Thanks!

        Kirsten

        • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

          Hi Kirsten – I’m glad you emailed the PMF folks and got a solid answer from them. Thanks for sharing it back here as well so I know how to respond to similar inquiries.

  • http://twitter.com/anntieup Annie

    Does anyone know if our transcripts need to list graduation date? I ordered an official copy from my school to scan in for the application, and it doesn’t show my graduation date. If so–what should I do? Could a letter from my adviser stating my expected graduation date work?

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Annie – Here is what I found from the PMF website:

      “Effective with the PMF Class of 2013 application cycle and new regulations impacting the PMF Program, we will now require and collect a transcript from applicants. The transcript does not have to be an official version. However, if ultimately selected as a Finalist, some participating Federal Agencies may directly request an official transcript to ensure fulfillment of graduate degree requirements and education qualifications.

      The transcript should reflect the degree used to qualify for the program. Current students who do not yet have a transcript or whose school does not issue a transcript should provide evidence of enrollment in a graduate program (e.g., documentation of enrollment or letter from the registrar, showing the graduate program and graduate school name and address) in lieu of a transcript.”

      Though it does not say anything about the graduation date needing to be listed, I would go ahead and err on the side of caution by getting that letter from your advisor.

      I will go ahead and submit this question on your behalf for an answer from OPM as well.

      • http://twitter.com/anntieup Annie

        Thanks for the information, I looked around on the website but couldn’t find that detail for whatever reason.

        • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

          Glad to help, Annie!

  • Steve

    Anyone actually apply yet? What was it like? How long did it take to complete?

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Yes, sir. Blog post forthcoming! :-)

    • April Conway

      It took me about an hour for the online assessment and about 2 hours for the essays.

  • MPPMAESTRO

    The PMF App is up. Can Anyone go ahead and upload the essay prompts here? I dont have time to finish the other sections but I would like to starting thinking about the essays…

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      I’ll grab this for you, MPPMaestro.

      • Mike

        Just a heads up to everyone that there is conflicting information out there about viewing the essay questions before completing the first two portions of the online assessment. Technically, it is absolutely possible – I’ve done it and have begun to prepare my answers. But according to this video tutorial released on November 9th, it is NOT allowed and grounds for disqualification. Hoping those of us who have previewed the essay questions are punished as a result of the confusion.

        • Mike
          • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

            Hey Mike – Thanks for sharing that video. It’s really well done, isn’t it (especially the white board overview up front)?

            That part about potentially being disqualified for completing the essays before the online assessment (both video and questionnaire) is definitely clear in the video. The only incongruence is that those instructions are not presented in the application system. Either way, I wouldn’t take a chance of changing the order now that this video offers those explicit directions (and I wouldn’t think those who had done that before this video was released would be punished).

            Last quick thing: it sounds like you’re okay to review the essay questions (but not share them, of course)…and are encouraged to write them in a Word doc or similar to do a spell check and word count before pasting back in the system.

            – Andy

          • MC1220

            Do you think they will disqualify those of us who previewed the essay questions before completing the online assessment before this video came out? The application does not indicate in any way that things need to be completed in a specific order!

          • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

            Hey MC – I can’t speak officially, of course, but I would agree with you that the application module itself does not include these instructions and would be hard to defend a disqualification if that wasn’t spelled out explicitly from the beginning. Just my opinion here and I hope that people would not experience repercussions…

          • Dana Francis

            I just emailed pmfapplication@opm.gov to ask for clarification on this issue because I too “previewed” the essay questions before completing the online assessment. I hope they get back to me in a reasonable time. Can the same person actually start another account using a different email address? This seems like more concrete grounds from disqualification then just viewing the essay questions.

          • Dana Francis

            Hi Everyone. I emailed the pmfapplication people to ask about disqualification by clicking “Next” on the Online Assessment screen before completing the Online Assessment. They state, “You
            may skip the on-line assessment by clicking “Next” on the “Take On-line
            Assessment” screen, and then coming back later to complete the on-line
            assessment.” So hopefully, all of us that previewed the essay questions before completing the online assessment will be fine. ??

          • Sarah

            Dana,

            Thank you for contacting the PMF office to ask about this.

        • Guest

          Hey Mike – Thanks for sharing that video. It’s really well done, isn’t it (especially the white board overview up front)?

          That part about potentially being disqualified for completing the essays before the online assessment (both video and questionnaire) is definitely clear in the video. The only incongruence is that those instructions are not presented in the application system. Either way, I wouldn’t take a chance of changing the order now that this video offers those explicit directions (and I wouldn’t think those who had done that before this video was released would be punished).

          Last quick thing: it sounds like you’re okay to review the essay questions (but not share them, of course)…and are encouraged to write them in a Word doc or similar to do a spell check and word count before pasting back in the system.

          – Andy

          • Sarah

            This is very worrisome :-/ I also “previewed” the questions, and am now worried that they will be able to tell in my application and will disqualify those of us that did so, even though the instructions did not say anything about not moving forward. Do you think it would be worth it to start a new application (using an alternate email address)?

          • Paul

            I’m totally wondering the same thing, Sarah. Anyone have advice??

  • Cyndera

    Good evening all. I gather that a federal resume should touch the past 10 years of (relevant) work experience. I moved to the States from Germany in 2007, and prior to that I was a student and had only part-time jobs. Is it worth including those (it would be really short), or should I leave them out? Also, is there a way to explain why I can only list 5 years of experience here in the US? Thanks :)

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Cyndera – Everything I am reading in terms of tips says that you should include all relevant work experience – not just the past 10 years. The key is mapping that work experience to the 7 competencies that they are looking for in a PMF…and that unique experience could have happened in Germany or the US! For similar information, be sure to attend our PMF Resume Tips workshop next Tuesday, November 13: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/c7cp80e8e1fvg1mdf9ukbcuoma8

      One quick question: I am assuming that you are a permanent resident or US citizen at this point, but you may want to consider this information regarding status (just in case): http://pmf.gov/become-a-pmf/eligibility/citizenship.aspx

      • Cyndera

        Hi Andrew,

        My application to become a citizen is actually being processed right now … a few more months and I am done. Yep, right now I am a legal alien :D
        Thank you for the link to the hangout, I’ll be there.

  • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

    Here is the job announcement, everyone: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/327157900

    And here is where you apply: https://apply.pmf.gov/pmf/login.hms

  • Carmen

    Do you submit a doc/pdf resume in addition to your USAJobs resume? And if so, you you attach this resume at the beginning or end of the online application?

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Carmen – You are able to upload the following: gif image(.gif), jpeg image(.jpg), png image(.png), rich text format(.rtf ), Microsoft word(.doc, .docx), adobe pdf(.pdf), word perfect(.wpd).

      One thing you can do is complete your resume using the USAJobs Resume Builder, then convert it to PDF and upload it. You could also create it in the Builder, then copy and paste into Word, get the formatting how you like it, and submit as .doc.

      Don’t miss our event on “PMF Resume Tips” where we’ll cover more tips like this: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/c7cp80e8e1fvg1mdf9ukbcuoma8

      • Selina

        Hi Andrew, I have a follow up question. The USAJobs resume requests more information than a ‘standard’ resume (including pay, specific addresses of places of employment, etc.) Is it okay to just upload a pdf of this same resume, or is it better to copy & paste into word and edit out those details?

        • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

          That’s a tough call, Selina. I’m not sure it’s worth the time to extract those elements from a Word doc. The PDF looks pretty good, in my opinion, and you might just want to upload that version. The folks looking at these resumes will be used to seeing the USAJOBS version and the added detail won’t seem excessive.

          • Carmen

            Thanks so much for the help, Andrew. How does one go about downloading and creating a pdf of a USAJobs resume?

          • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

            Hi Carmen – It’s all pretty obvious in the USAJOBS system. Once you create an account and go to your profile you will see on the lower left where it says, “Build New Resume” or “Upload New Resume.” Start there. Once you’ve got it where you like it, hit “View.” From the pop-up view, you can click “Print Resume” found in the upper right. From there, I have an option to change from printing to save or “print” as a PDF. Hope this helps!

          • Michael

            There is no “Save” option for me. I tried IE, Chrome, and Firefox to no avail. Feels like I just wasted two hours creating a USAJOBS resume. Any tips? Thanks.

          • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

            Hmm…I just went into USAJOBS (in Chrome) and the Save buttons were at the bottom. Were they appearing for you?

          • Michael

            Unfortunately not. Thanks anyway. I just went ahead and created my own federal resume.

  • Selina

    Character count for the short essay questions — with or without spaces? :)

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hmm…you might want to float this one to pmfapplication@opm.gov – let us know what they say. :-)

      • Selina

        Will do!

      • Selina

        They emailed me back: “The character limit for each essay field is 3,000. It includes all characters including spaces, punctuation, etc.”

        • Cyndera

          Dang, are they serious?? With spaces and everything? Now I have to shorten mine significantly … they should have specified that in first place …

  • pb

    A bit of a unique case: I’m currently abroad through May 2013 wrapping up some thesis research for my master’s degree, but my permanent address and home university are both in Washington, DC. I would be happy to travel home for the in-person assessment if I’m lucky enough to make it past the semi-finalist screening. Which address should I use for the application? Or rather, is there any disadvantage to using my current address in Norway?

    • Steve

      No hard and fast rule here and probably doesn’t matter. But I’d use your permanent address in DC just to be on the safe side

      • pb

        Great, thanks!

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      I’d use your US address, PB.

      • pb

        Thanks, Andrew!

  • dana.may.francis@gmail.com

    Clarification on completing essay questions:
    pmf.gov updated the Assessment Preparation Guide on 11/06 to read “You CANNOT answer one essay and later come back to answer the remaining two. All essays should be answered in one session.” However, several sources have stated that it is possible to view the essay questions and work on your answers to these drafts (in Word) over several days. Is this true? Can you view the essay questions, log out, and return days later to answer the questions? Thanks for the help!

  • dana.may.francis@gmail.com

    Reposting because my original post seems to have disappeared.
    Clarification on completing essay questions:
    pmf.gov updated the Assessment Preparation Guide on 11/06 to read “You CANNOT answer one essay and later come back to answer the remaining two. All essays should be answered in one session.” However, several sources have stated that it is possible to view the essay questions and work on your answers to these drafts (in Word) over several days. Is this true? Can you view the essay questions, log out, and return days later to answer the questions? Thanks for the help!

    • Carmen

      Yup, you can do exactly what you described: look at the essay questions, log out, work on them in Word, and then go back later and submit them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=744734551 Rose D Chavez

    Has any one completed the application on a Mac with Firefox 3.0 or above?

    • Steve

      You need to be on IE 7 or 8. Check out the PMF official video they just released that has tips (we embedded it here – http://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/pmf-application-tutorial)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=744734551 Rose D Chavez

        Thanks Sarah!

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Rose – I completed it using Firefox 3.0 on Mac and it seemed to work fine. This also seems to be allowable based on the Assessment Prep Guide:

      p. 2 says “Use of either Internet Explorer 7.0 or above, or Firefox 3.0 or above is required.”

    • Hannah

      Hi Rose – I took the assessment yesterday and had no problems using the most recent version of Firefox. I would also recommend that you download the most recent version of Flash, as the system updates sometimes delete it.

  • Sarah

    Randomish question: Some of the accounts that I’ve seen of the application process from previous years mentions a nomination from the graduate school. I’ve seen no such mention in this years application materials. Is this something that has been eliminated from the process, or just something that comes up later? Thanks!

    • Steve

      You are correct- it used to be part of the process. However, it’s been eliminated this year from the process as part of the redesigned approach

  • Sarah

    Is anyone else finding that it’s really easy to end up with overlap in the three essays? I won’t talk specifics, so as not to reveal the questions. But it seems to me that it’s pretty easy to end up talking about the same thing in multiple essays :-/

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Sarah – I think folks should be very careful – and might want to avoid – talking about this topic. I’d hate for someone to get too close to the line of talking about assessment specifics and get disqualified. (Please note that my tone here is a sincere desire to ensure that you have every chance at success…and steer clear of anything that would threaten a clean submission. On your team! :-)

  • SK

    Do you think it is alright to complete the Online Assessment without uploading documents, i.e. resume/transcripts, first? I would like to adjust my resume during the next week, but would like to complete the Online Assessment as soon as possible. Thanks!

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      As far as I can see, it is technically possible to do so.

  • Dana Francis

    Has anyone else noticed the video that was released which states that by working on your essay questions before taking the online assessment you will be disqualified? Why was this not stated until FOUR days after the application was open?!?

    • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.ellison1 Amanda Ellison

      I saw somewhere on another forum that this was unclear, but they would be restating it so it was clear you can work on essays before or after the assessment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.ellison1 Amanda Ellison

    Two questions about the transcript. First, does it need to be an official transcript, or can it be unofficial as long as it includes all grades? Second, if you have multiple degrees, should you upload all transcripts or only the one that qualifies you to be a PMF? Oh and one more question, if I am taking more classes for a certification after completing my qualifying degree, should I include that on my resume or will it just confuse the process?

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Amanda –
      1. The transcript does not have to be an official version. However, if ultimately selected as a Finalist, some participating Federal Agencies may directly request an official transcript to ensure fulfillment of graduate degree requirements and education qualifications.

      2. The transcript should reflect the advanced degree used to qualify for the program; it is not necessary to submit a transcript for your undergraduate degree.

      3. I would include that planned education if it strengthens your application.

  • JW

    Hi I am doing a one year MSc program and just started in Oct. 2012 and thus do not have a transcipt/ grades yet. Would a certificate confirming my enrollment in my current classes sufice?

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi JW – From PMF.gov: “Current students who do not yet have a transcript or whose school does not issue a transcript should provide evidence of enrollment in a graduate program (e.g., documentation of enrollment or letter from the registrar, showing the graduate program and graduate school name and address) in lieu of a transcript. “

  • Tyler

    Hello, I recently completed a master’s degree at a Swiss university that does not have a federal school code (the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies), but is closely affiliated with a university that does (the University of Geneva). Can I be assured that I am eligible?

    • Steve

      May want to ask PMF direct on this one – pmfapplication@opm.gov

      I’d assume yes but you may want to use the affiliate code

  • kjg

    I would like to use my USAJOBS resume, but in the documents section it only allows me to upload files (.pdf, .doc, etc.) and I don’t know how to link my USAJOBS resume to my PMF application. Is it possible to do this? And if not, what is the best way of getting my USAJOBS resume into my application? Thanks!

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi KJG – Here are the instructions I’ve shared with others:
      Once you create an account and go to your profile you will see on the lower left where it says, “Build New Resume” or “Upload New Resume.” Start there. Once you’ve got it where you like it, hit “View.” From the pop-up view, you can click “Print Resume” found in the upper right. From there, I have an option to change from printing to save or “print” as a PDF.
      Hope this helps!

      • Jessie

        Any reason why to use the USAJobs resume and not a pdf of our resume? Are they going to prefer that we use the USAJobs format for readability formatting? I much prefer the look of my regular resume, so any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

        • Steve

          PMF says they it doesn’t matter if you use the resume job builder or upload resume.

  • Mike

    Is anyone using the resume builder in USSJobs for their federal resume? The first section in the resume builder is experience, but all the resume samples I see start with a profile statement. Is it best to not use the resume builder? Thanks.

    • Steve

      Official world from PMF program is it’s up to you whether you want to use USAJOBS resume builder. Really more a preference thing

  • Sarah

    Has anybody edited their application after submitting? Do you think that the reviewing body will have access to the revision history, or only the final submission? I’m wondering if I didn’t maybe jump the gun on clicking submit, and if my application wouldn’t benefit from a final review.

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hey Sarah – I would definitely recommend trying to get someone else (a career advisor at your school?) to give it a look before submitting, if you can. I don’t know for sure, but my sense is that the reviewing body will only have your final application submission (but double check with pmfapplication@opm.gov).

      • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.ellison1 Amanda Ellison

        is that allowed? when i completed the submission it asked me to certify that no one else had helped me on the application so i was glad i didnt have anyone else review it.

  • HM.

    Andrew, how do we list previous security clearances? While not current, mine is still within the 2 year revalidation range.Would it be expired? Or should I list the range within which it was valid?

  • Indalecio Vallejos

    I completed my application last night but when I hit the finish button it said complete but also gave me the option of editing. I guess I was hoping to see a complete sign and not having the option of going back and changing your essays..etc. Am I doing it right?

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hey Indalecio – Someone else asked that question. Can you submit it to pmfapplication@opm.gov and let us know what they say? Thanks!

      • Indalecio Vallejos

        Just emailed them. Am at work right now and I don’t have time to go through everything to get to the submit stage but will do so this evening. Let me know if you find out something. Its Friday and we just have 3 days left. Thank you. Indy

  • Lucas M

    If an employer has moved since I worked there, do I list the old address or the current one? And if the workplace is now closed, do I just say “closed” in lieu of an address?

    I also have multiple former supervisors who have either retired or moved on to different companies and are therefore not reachable as references (since I haven’t kept in touch with them). Do I bother explaining all this, or just click the option that says “You may not contact this supervisor”?

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi Lucas – Interesting questions. My unofficial advice would include:
      1) Old employer moved: include the current address
      2) Old employer closed: include the old address
      3) Supervisor retired or moved: track them down and contact them to see if they’d serve as a reference; if you can’t find them, is there someone else that you can use as a reference at that company? My sense is that it would look suspicious if you had a bunch of supervisors listed and you said to “not contact this supervisor,” so it’s best to find and include as many as you can.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.ellison1 Amanda Ellison

    If it says application received does that mean i’m done? On the left it still says you must submit before the due date or it will not be considered, but everything else appears to point to it being complete.

    • Steve

      Yep – here’s a tip from PMF program office on it

      PMF Helpful Hint: Before the PMF Application period closes on Monday, November 26, 2012 at 11:59 PM ET, double check that your application and assessment are good to go.

      To check your application status, log in to the application (link pr
      ovided below). If you have completed your application, you will see a left navigation menu; click “PMF Program Status” to view your status. If your status page contains a green check mark, you completed all required questions and the on-line assessment.

      However, if a “warning” message appears, you have not successfully completed and submitted the on-line assessment and will need to do so before the announcement closes.

      Note: The “Completed” status does not account for uploaded/faxed documents. Make sure you upload/fax a resume and transcript as these are required documents.

      Good Luck! PMF Program Office

  • Sasha

    I’m a PhD student and have been alternately a TA or on fellowship over the past several years. I’m not sure that saying I’ve been employed by XYZ U for the past 4 years as a TA is accurate. I don’t know how to reflect this in the USAJobs.gov resume builder. Advice?

    • Jessie

      It looks like you can attach a doc or pdf of your resume, so no need to format according to USAJobs… Can anyone confirm this for us? Thanks.

      • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

        That’s correct, Jessie. You are not *required* to submit in USAJOBS format, but I’ve recommended it so that you have a complete resume that’s ready to roll should you advance to the Finalist status.

    • Carmen

      Just write that in the section describing your job.

      • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

        Agree with Carmen – I would include it as job experience.

  • Jessie

    I clicked “complete online assessment”, thinking I would be able to go back and review my answers at a later date, but instead I saw just “Assessment Completed” and no option to go back. Am I stuck with assessment I submitted? Thanks!

    • Bob

      Any others got ideas?

      I think the answer is you are stuck with what submitted

      • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

        That’s my take based on my experience in the application system.

  • Mohammed

    Are we allowed to have former PMFs or other people in general look over our essay answers for responsiveness/grammatical errors?

  • Confused

    I am surprised that nobody has commented on the deadline. On my computer the website lists the deadline as November 26, 2012 11:55 am. At the same time, the countdown says 5:43:27 to applications due. It is currently November 25, 2012 at 1:18pm EST. These times obviously do not coincide. Am I misinterpreting the meaning of either of these supposed deadlines?

    Also, the average English word is 5 characters long. The designated count is 300-350 words/2000-3000 characters. 5×300 = 1500, 5×350 =1750, right? Adding approximately 1 extra space per word/paragraph, we have a range of 1800-2100 characters on average. While this is possible, it seems strange that the top of the word count coincides with the bottom of the character count. Has anyone inquired about this?

    • Steve

      Sorry – official deadline is November 26th at 11:59pm.

      From pmf.gov – November 26, 2012 at 11:59 PM ET

      Interesting about word count – I haven’t seen anything on this

    • Ben

      I just noticed this as well and assumed the countdown clock is wrong. I checked all available sources as to the deadline and everything I see either says Nov. 26 @ 11:55 am or 11:59 pm. The most consistent deadline is Nov. 26 @ 11:59 pm.

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      It’s 3,000 characters, per the PMF Facebook page: “The system will only accept 3,000 characters per essay so pay attention to the character counter for each essay box.” Also, from another part of this thread, someone emailed them and learned that this includes spaces and punctuation: “The character limit for each essay field is 3,000. It includes all characters including spaces, punctuation, etc.”

  • Steve

    Congrats to all those that submitted for PMF 2013 – best of luck on making it to next level.

  • Jay

    Where were we supposed to “certify” our application? I remember it saying to certify below but didn’t see anywhere to do it, so I clicked the “Finish” button and it said I completed all the questions, but I’m nervous that I may have missed something.

  • Toadbird

    I applied and have not heard anything back… is this the case with everybody else? When can we expect to hear back?

    • Sarah

      Yes, that’s the case with everybody. As long as you’ve answered all of the questions and attached all of the files and your portal page says “application received”, you’re fine.

      According to the timeline (http://pmf.gov/becomeapmf/index.aspx) you should hear something by mid-December (pretty good considering that they extended the application period and are expecting tons of applications).

  • Sue

    Has anyone received a response about their application yet?

    • Sarah

      Sue, according to the PMF Facebook page, we should receive a response this week. It seems as though everybody will receive their response at once, so we shouldn’t have that awkward situation of reading about others responses while we’re still waiting anxiously on our own ;)

  • Deb

    I made the horrible mistake of attaching to the application an older unedited version of my resume. It’s a terrible resume; Trust me. Will this throw me out of the running in the semi-finals? Does anyone even look at it until the finals? Is there any possibility at all that if I do make it to the in-person assessment that I can submit a new resume?

    • Sarah

      I don’t know that anybody here can answer that question definitively, but insofar as the application process is extremely competitive and they have to look for ways to narrow down a really large pool of highly qualified people, I would assume that your resume could be used as a reason to disqualify you.

      I work as recruiter in another setting, and while I completely understand that mistakes happen (and I sympathize – we’ve all been on both sides of the situation), if it comes down to deciding between individuals I’m going to take into account the perceived attention to detail and thoroughness of the applicant.

      At the end of the day, it probably comes down to the strength of your application as a whole, and only you know how strong that application is. Is your background strong enough that it can withstand a “hit” and still be competitive when compared to the rest of the applicant pool? Does your background and experience still manage to come across despite the unpolished nature of your resume? Do your essays reflect your more careful nature, and perhaps offset any negative perception given by your resume? If so, you might still be in the running.

      I’m afraid that I’m telling you what you don’t really want to hear, but if you’re looking for honest opinions, that is mine. Either way though, you’ll know this week whether you’re moving on to the next round of consideration. According to the Facebook page, they’ll be announcing the semi-finalists soon.

      As for the second part of your question, it seems from the FAQs that you will not be able to submit a new resume until you reach the finalist stage of consideration (after the in-person assessment).

      • Deb

        I figured this would be the case. I have a vain hope my error will be over-looked. …But probably not.

        No matter what happens, putting together this application gave me great insight into my accomplishments. Combing through my files, I found awards and internal publications that I had entirely forgotten. I reviewed tax returns to find out the exact dates and salaries of various jobs! I’m far more accomplished than I thought I was going into this. Getting it or not getting it – I now have a comprehensive inventory of my professional life. Pretty damn valuable in any job search. Can’t complain about that.

        Thank you for being straight forward and kind.

  • Carlos

    Good morning, I have been selected as a semi-finalist, my question is during in-person assesment other than proper business attire, should I be clean shave? Should my hair be cut short? My beard is light and groomed and my hair is long and neatly kept.

  • Johnny

    Approximately what time of year will the next PMF application cycle begin? I gather around October/November 2013?

  • Steve

    For 2013-14 applicants – I just started a new open thread for 2013-4 season. Post away – http://pathtopmf.com/2014-pmf-application-open-thread/

  • Sarah J.

    Hi All, I’m in a PhD program at UCLA and my transcript doesn’t reflect an anticipated graduation date. According to the Registrar’s office, this information is omitted because of the flexibility of our dissertation submission process. Will this hurt my application?

    • Michelle

      you have to submit a separate letter from the university stating your anticipated graduation date: http://www.pmf.gov/become-a-pmf/application-process/application-tips.aspx

      • Sarah J.

        Hi Michelle, Thanks for you reply. That was my Registrar’s response when i asked for the letter. Do you happen to know if there’s another official source acceptable for a letter?

  • Teala Robinson

    So what is the average time from date of close on the application to notification of semi-finalist status?