Career Alternatives, Federal Government, Job Searches, Law Schools

Applying for a Federal Government Job?
Good Luck With That

Presidential Management Fellows Program PMF Program.gifLast fall, we wrote about the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program, which one reader of ours described as “a hidden, relatively-unexploited gem for graduating law students.” You can read the full post here.

Some commenters, who already knew about the PMF program and the job opportunities it offers, were not happy with the exposure. A reader summed up their reactions:

A lot of people are complaining that the competition for the program will now increase due to extra exposure. I guess that can be rough for some people, but overall I think it’s good for the program.

Well, it certainly increased the competition. The number of applications went up — way up….

From a current Presidential Management Fellow:

I thought you’d be interested in the email below, which indicates this year the PMF program received 8,700 applications — a 70% increase. As you know, to be able to participate in the PMF job fair, you must be nominated by your school and then pass an assessment test. The number of jobs at the PMF job fair never increases over a couple hundred. 8,700 applicants basically means that if a candidate didn’t get an almost perfect score on the assessment test, they’re out of luck. PMF jobs just became as hard to get as federal clerkships.

With the job fair set for March, the finalists should be announced any day now.

So, telling someone who can’t find a Biglaw job to explore federal government opportunities — which is something we do all the time, truth be told — is not very helpful. These days, federal gigs like clerkships and DOJ positions are probably just as competitive, if not more competitive, than law firm jobs.

We suspect that PMF is just one example of a federal government opportunity that is more competitive than ever. Feel free to discuss others in the comments (which will hopefully work; if you encounter technical difficulties, we apologize, yet again).

Earlier: Another Federal Government Opportunity: The Presidential Management Fellows Program


Dear Presidential Management Fellow (PMF):

We would like to extend you a warm welcome and invite you to join our event staff for the upcoming PMF Class of 2010 Finalists Job Fair scheduled from Tuesday, March 30 to Thursday, April 1, 2010, and the PMF Class of 2007 Graduation Ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, March 31, 2010. Both events will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Hall D, in Washington, DC.

We hope to formally announce finalists for the PMF Class of 2010 within the next couple of weeks. This year we received 8,700 applications; a 70% increase from 2009.

All PMFs who are able to volunteer to be part of the event staff for a four hour shift will receive a gold PMF polo shirt to be worn during their volunteer time. In addition, beverages and snacks will be provided in the Event Staff Room and lunch will be provided. All Fellows volunteering for the Job Fair during normal duty hours should consult with their supervisor to volunteer for the event (if applicable).

At the moment, “Job Fair Information for Agencies” can be found at Once 2010 finalists are announced, the “Job Fair Information Finalists” webpage will be activated under the “Fellows” section. Information about the Graduation can be found at

This 2010 Job Fair is exclusively designed to introduce and engage finalists with many Federal recruiting agencies to obtain PMF appointments. The 2007 Graduation is a celebration for those PMFs completing the program and converting to permanent positions.

The PMF Program Office prefers current Fellows to serve at these events in efforts to:

1. answer questions from attending finalists,
2. represent yourself and your agency, and
3. give back as previous Fellows have in past events.

Your assistance is crucial, so please let us know if we can count on your participation by completing the attached form and replying by Monday, March 22, 2010. When you reply, please either fax your form to xxx-xxx-xxxx or send it via e-mail to, with the subject “PMF Event Staff” in the subject line. If you have any questions, please send an email to

We hope to hear from you soon and we will be in contact with those able to participate.

The PMF Program Office

(hidden for your protection)

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