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1 Spend some time on your resume: The resume is an opportunity for you to show your experience working with the DC Government, and it also serves to complement the "Current Job Description" component of the portfolio.

While you do not need to spell out every single task that you do, it is a way to demonstrate how you went "above and beyond" your job requirements. Be concise but very clear about what is that you do in service to the DC Government, and the impact of your work on the residents of the District. A well-composed resume will stand out in the selection process! To help you along, here's a link to the George Washington University's Career Services website, which provides helpful guidance on composing a resume.

2 Share your story: The narrative part of the application (i.e. the "Description of Accomplishments") is an opportunity to tell your story. However, it also doesn't mean you need to create a biography. The best advice that I could give would be to focus on 1-2 things that you are particularly proud of. Be sure to mention what is the one problem you were able to solve, or a need that you were able to meet? What did it take you to "get things done"? What was the impact on others? Show your passion, but also use hard data (or quote from someone impacted by your work) to really drive home the message!

3 Be selective about what you ask for in letters of recommendation. The letters of recommendation add on to your Description of Acomplishments by "filling in the gaps" about what you do, the importance of your work to the residents of the District, as well as the everyday and the extraordinary challenges you face in the line of duty. The letters of recommendation also tell the Screening Committee/Selection Committee things you may have omitted in your Description of Acomplishments due to space limitations, or even things you may not have thought of! Make these count.

To make the process easier for the nominees, we changed the requirement for the number for recommendation letters, allowing you to submit no less than two and no more than three recommendation statements. However, don't worry if you cannot find more than two individuals to provide you with a written recommendation: what really counts is quality, not quantity! As such, be sure to select someone who really knows what you do. While a recommendation from a supervisor or your senior leadership certainly demonstrates a job well done, a variety of voices add to your story.

4 Review, Review, Review! Make sure your portfolio is clear and comprehensible to a wide audience. Think about academics, policy makers, non-native English speakers, etc. who may be sitting on the Screening Committee and the Selection Panel. Ask someone to read through your portfolio before turning it in, and preferably someone not intimately familiar with your work to see if they can describe what you do.

5 Show your preparation and submit portfolio ahead of time. Your peers and the Screening Committee/Selection Panel want to feel like you respect them and their time enough that you put your best effort into your Application Portfolio. Be sure to ask for letters of recommendation in advance, and submit the portfolio early.

Please let us know if you need any further information. Due to a large number of submissions, our staff may not get to your question right away, but we will do our best to be responsive.

Kateryna Pyatybratova
Cafritz Awards Director
Center for Excellence in Public Leadership