Why Be a PMF?


According to the PMF alumni that we interviewed for this guide, the PMF program is the best way to start a public service career as it:

  • provides exposure to several federal agencies or departments through the built-in rotations.
  • creates opportunities for making connections with peers and senior-level mentors.
  • offers dependable pay and benefits with a good balance of work and personal development.

PMFs also have the potential to work on projects they would not have access to in the private sector, while still enjoying the leeway to explore and find a niche in the federal government.

Other PMFs stress how great it looks on a resume, whether or not you accept the fellowship. You also have access to great jobs and training opportunities that are unavailable to most other federal employees.

From the Source: A Premier Opportunity

Christopher Gee - Photo“It’s a great opportunity to experience working for the federal government, and it can open doors to many exciting opportunities if you’re willing to make the program work for you.”

– Christopher Gee, PMF Class of 2005, Department of Homeland Security


“It’s the best possible way to enter government, as far as I’m concerned. Also, the fact that an agency is willing to pay a fee and commit to training in order to take you on means that they’re somewhat invested in your development as an employee and a person, more so than in the general hiring process.”

-Kathryn Neeper, PMF Class 2008, Broadcasting Board of Governors


Cherie Takemoto - Photo“It is a great way to gain a broad understanding of management in the federal sector with opportunities to try out different jobs (through rotations) and with regular advancement opportunities.”

– Cherie Takemoto, PMF Class 1982, Department of Health and Human Services


Cowhey - Pic“The Presidential Management Fellowship program enjoys considerable prestige within the government and constitutes a solid point of entry for those dedicated to pursuing careers in federal public service. For some agencies, the PMF program is the only viable avenue into entry level civil service positions. Additionally, PMF hires do well in the US government after the PMF ends because of the program’s rotational opportunities, 80 hours of optional training, and significant fast-tracking opportunities up the GS scale that are largely unavailable to other new hires.”

– Peter Cowhey, Dean, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego


“The PMF is the best way to get into the federal government, and the best way to get promoted within the federal government quickly, and so it is a program that our students look at very favorably.”

– Matthew Upton, Director of Career Services, Bush School of Government & Public Service


“I encourage any and every U.S. student who is even remotely thinking about federal employment to throw their hat in the ring. Mostly, these are students interested in government work, but I’ve had several students apply and make it through the process who were not necessarily focused on this career path. It’s largely those focused on government work, however, who remain tenaciously committed to pursuing PMF positions well after the summer months. The others normally pursue and accept opportunities elsewhere.”

– Tamara Golden, Career Consultant, University of California, San Diego


“My favorite part of being a PMF is getting to know the other PMFs. The other PMFs are really, really neat people. You have a wide variety of people and backgrounds, but everyone is ambitious and everyone is interested in getting to know the other PMFs. I went to a couple PMF events that were PMF-specific. They were just really fun because you have something in common, but are having different experiences. That was really nice. Also, the promotions are really good and you are early in your career and getting promotions. The training opportunities are great. If you are in DC, you are given diverse training opportunities…”

– Kaleigh Emerson, PMF Class 2010, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


“Just the prestige of being a PMF Finalist gives you that leg up. I think folks who are familiar with the program — and understand what they had to go through to become a Finalist — understand that this is the cream of the crop.”

– Lisa Allison-Lee, Veterans Affairs, Agency Coordinator


It is a fabulous way to come into the government. Since entering in 1982 I have been in the government the whole time. I have hired probably 30 PMFs and I had more in different rotations. I have never had a bad experience. The program has the reputation now that you’re never going to get a bad person. I have three PMFs on my staff now — probably more if I count former PMFs!

– Bev Goodwin, PMF Class 1982, General Services Administration


PMF Retention Rate


Want more tips about the entire PMF Process? Download the full version of the guide here!

The guide shares advice with applicants based on interviews with current and past PMFs, career advisors, and federal agency program coordinators.

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