Market Overview

Presidential Management Fellows Resumes are More Rigorous for 2012


Paul Binkley, Ed.D. former Director of Career Development Services, George Washington University, Tractenburg School, and Co-Author of Student's Federal Career Guide offers tips for writing the Presidential Management Fellows resume for the PMF Class of 2013.

Washington, DC (PRWEB) November 01, 2012

When Paul Binkley, Ed.D. was in graduate school, the Presidential Management Fellows(PMF) program was the premiere program for those interested in policy/management positions within the federal government. Since then, the PMF program has expanded to include students from all possible majors and located all over the country. For the last 5-6 years, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has tweaked the program in an attempt to find the best and brightest from the country's graduate schools. This year, with the launch of the Pathways program, OPM has gotten a bit closer to restoring the PMF to its premiere status.

With the launch of the Pathways program this past July, the PMF program went through a few changes. Below is a list of those changes:

1.    Those who finished their graduate program within 2 years of the PMF selection process are eligible to apply (veterans are given up to six years)
2.    Applicants are no longer required to obtain nomination from their university or college.
3.    This year, resumes for the PMF are expected to focus on specific federal job classifications. In other words, resumes must be tailored to a certain type of federal position. Samples of the longer federal resumes for the PMF application are included in the Student's Federal Career Guide, 2nd Ed. - which I co-authored to help PMF and Pathways applicants write a better resume.
4.    Essays will be required as part of the application process and the online test.
5.    The online test, taken by all those who apply to the PMF program, is still three sections: job situation, biographical, essay. The job situation section will not be a series of short videos for which applicants answer a series of questions related to appropriate professional behavior.

Review the PMF's Assessment Preparation Guide to get ready.

Most PMF applicants will not know, however, that resumes will take on a much more importance in the PMF selection process. Until this year, resumes submitted for the PMF program were general descriptions of an applicant's abilities and experiences. This year, most agencies will expect to see resumes that clearly fit a specific federal job or classification of jobs. Although resumes of only those who successfully become PFM Finalists will be seen by hiring managers, finalists will still need to compete for a small number of PMF positions.

Here are five tips to improve the effectiveness of your federal resume for the PMF application:

1.    Resume Tailored to Specific Government Occupational Series
Resumes must be tailored to a specific federal job or job classification. No longer will a general resume be acceptable for PMF applications. Those who successfully navigate the PMF process and become finalists, must then find their PMF position. Agencies will be looking for resumes tailored to fit specific job series.

Those applying to the PMF should search through USAJobs for positions of interest to them. Every federal position has a classification number that generally begins with “GS” and contains a four digit code. This code identifies each position's classification series. For example, most Budget Analyst or Management Analyst positions are classified in the 0343 series.

A description of every job series number is located at Key words can be found in the description of those general positions.

2.    Outline or Modified Chronological resume format
This is a hybrid version of the functional and chronological that is organized in reverse chronological order, but has subsections focused on the skills sets the employer has said they need. Samples of this Outline Format with more details are available in the S tudent's Federal Career Guide, published 2012.

Each description, then, has longer bullet points that are focused on specific skill sets determined by the job announcement.

SAMPLE FOR WORK EXPERIENCE DUTIES - Here are four bullet points from a resume that is written in the Outline Format (focusing on skills and competencies):

  •     Recruitment and Marketing - Develop employer outreach strategy and marketing plan, requiring relationship and network building in all sectors and publication of the first brochure sent to over 5,000 contacts around the world. The number of employers holding on-campus recruiting events almost doubled in this time frame and the number of employers participating in the annual Employer Site Visit program increased 50%.
  •     Communications – Customize and administer, in conjunction with director, the web-based career management system, which gives student and alumni 24-hour access to job and internship announcements, an event calendar, employer contacts, and career-related documents.
  •     Project Evaluation - Create and administer electronic surveys and evaluations for students and alumni in order to organize relevant and timely workshops, seminars, and career fairs. Attendance at events increased over the past four years including twice as many employers participating in the Elliott School career fair from 35 (2001) to 74 (2005).
  •     Training - Advise students and alumni on career plans, job search strategy, organizational research, professional development opportunities, resume writing, informational interviewing, salary negotiation, and networking techniques. Review 200-250 resumes and cover letters per year.

3.    Include “Key Accomplishments” in every job description

It is important that the last sub-section of every position description be a “Key Accomplishments” section. Federal HR professionals like to see a section that highlights you key accomplishments for every position. These accomplishments can be awards, recognitions, commendations, and even a retelling of those things your mentioned in the sub-sections above the Key Accomplishments. It is a good idea to flesh-out those key accomplishments from your bullet points, because they may have been buried in the project management style of writing.

For example, the second bullet point above, under Strategic Planning and Policy Development mentions an accomplishment, but it is slightly buried.

SAMPLE ACCOMPLISHMENT: Therefore, one of the bullet points under Key Accomplishments could be “95% of recent graduates successfully found professional positions six months after graduation, the highest historical success rate.”

4.    Don't Forget About Class Projects, Volunteering, Professional Associations, etc.
This year, competition will be even more steep than in any year previously because the number of applications is expected to more than double. Estimates suggest that over 30,000 people will apply this year, which will eclipse last year's record number of applications by almost 300%.

Therefore, PMF resumes must show federal HR professionals, including those who will be looking at PMF resumes, how your background fits perfectly with the needs of the position. This includes courses you have taken, class projects, research papers related to the area of the position, volunteer activities, or work with your professional association.

Everything in your resume must relate back to the position at hand.

5.    Use USAJobs Resume Builder
Many federal HR professionals complain that candidates do not include all the necessary information on their resumes. To avoid this mistake, use the resume builder function of USAJobs to make sure you do include the necessary information. It is possible to upload Microsoft Word documents or PDFs instead, but starting with the USAJobs resume builder helps you include everything that is needed. And the final product is in a format that most HR professionals readily recognize.

The PMF announcement will be posted on USAJOBS on Nov. 5th and closes Nov. 19th, 2012.

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