Presidential Appointment Initiative FAQ

How the Program Works

Victory’s Executive Appointments Initiative serves as a talent bank, counselor and advocate for openly LGBTQ professionals seeking politically appointed positions in government. The Program includes the following initiatives:

  • Since 2008, the Presidential Appointments Initiative has assisted and identified hundreds of LGBTQ professionals who have served in President Obama’s Administration in coalition with more than twenty LGBTQ organizations across the country.
  • Since 2011, the Chicago Mayoral Appointments Project has worked to appoint professionals in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, in partnership with Equality Illinois.

This FAQ provides general guidance for presidential appointments, much of which can be applied to local and state appointments.


Who is eligible to apply to the Initiative?

We welcome resumes from any openly LGBTQ U.S. citizen who seeks an appointment in the executive branch of the U.S. government.  We welcome professionals with a wide range of backgrounds and interests, ranging from junior, mid-level, and senior professionals.  Women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, transgender people and individuals with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


What should I prepare before starting the application?

  • The most important thing you need to begin the application is your resume in a PDF (.PDF) format. If you are ready to submit your resume and are unsure about letters of recommendation or which agencies are a good fit, we encourage you to submit your resume as soon as possible so that, as positions become available, we can reach out to you if your experience is a good fit. Please review our resume tips below.
  • Letters of recommendation can be helpful to submit directly to the Appointments Initiative – especially those that demonstrate political experience. They can help us start conversations about your candidacy with the administration. If you don’t have letters of recommendation but are ready to submit your resume, send us your letters by email when you have them.
  • Having a clear idea of which agency or agencies at which you would most like to work can be helpful. Generally, we find that substantial political or private sector experience with a particular federal agency, state agency, or a relevant issue area, especially in your most recent work history, is the best indicator of fit for a particular agency. Certain functional roles require less issue experience than others – for example, communications/press/marketing, financial operations, scheduler/assistant roles may not require issue- or agency-specific expertise.

Please also ensure that enough time is set aside to complete the application in one sitting – not doing so will result in multiple application submissions that will delay the processing of your application.  You will be asked to answer questions about your party affiliation, citizenship status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, areas of expertise, and level of experience.

Resume Tips

  • Upload your resume now as a PDF file.
  • You can update your resume at any time by sending it to jonathan.dromgoole [at] victoryinstitute [dot] org.
  • List your professional experiences in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent.
  • Provide bullet lists for each experience that highlight specific skills, inputs and outcomes with quantifiable metrics.
  • If applicable, include the size of your budget and the number of staff for which you were directly responsible for managing.
  • Be sure to include public service at the local, state, or federal level as well as volunteer service with non-profits.
  • Where possible, include information about advocacy for LGBTQ equality or involvement with LGBTQ organizations – this can be accomplished under a header such as “Other Experience” or “Community Involvement and Affiliations” towards the end of your resume.
  • Do not include references or salary information, and do not include a “References available upon request” statement. Generally, purpose or objective statements should not be included.
  • Junior and mid-level professionals should strive to condense their resumes to one page. Where resumes and curriculum vita consist of more than one page, ensure that the page footer includes your name and page number.
  • Keep formatting as simple as possible and focus on content over style. Avoid unusual fonts or formatting. Use tabs rather than spaces to left/center/right-align content on the same line.
  • The Initiative will contact you if it identifies any changes that should be made.


  • What kinds of appointed positions are available?
    The president appoints more than five thousand executive branch employees across federal agencies, boards and commissions.
  • For full-time appointments, the levels of employment range from entry-level positions to senior executives, agency secretaries and ambassadors that require confirmation by the U.S. Senate.  For a complete list of appointed positions in the Executive Branch as of 2008, see “United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions,” commonly known as the Plum Book. A list of open U.S. Senate-confirmed positions is available at the Washington Post’s Head Count.
  • Volunteer boards and commissions are generally appointed by the president or the secretary of an agency. Some of these positions require significant time investments and may be compensated. Travel is typically arranged and paid for by the government. Agency-appointed boards and commissions are often announced in the Federal Register, as well as the Federal Advisory Committee Act database.
  • Grant review bodies are generally appointed by the agency and may require travel, which is arranged and paid for by the government.


Who will review applicants and how?

With the assistance of our coalition partners, the Victory Institute staff collects, organizes and categorizes all resumes it receives and meets with staff from the administration to review and recommend applicants qualified for available positions.

When will applicants know whether or not they are being recommended to an administration?

The Initiative will make its best effort to contact applicants before recommending them for a particular position. Due to the sheer volume of applicants and the urgency of some appointments, this is not always possible.

When will applicants know whether or not they are being considered for appointment by an administration?

Any applicant under consideration for employment will be contacted directly by the administration and not by Victory. Please make an effort to inform Victory if an administration has been in contact with you – depending on the situation, we may be able to provide additional counsel.

Does submitting a resume to the Initiative boost an individual’s chances of getting hired by the administration?

The Victory Institute has no authority or official role whatsoever with respect to hiring any personnel. Participation in this initiative does not mean that the Victory Institute will recommend anyone for any position or that applicants will in any way be advantaged in the appointment or nomination process for any such position. Ultimately, the Initiative may choose to share information submitted by applicants with the administration.

Should I apply directly to the administration?

In addition to applying to the Initiative, applicants should apply directly to the administration. If you feel you do not have a strong understanding of the appointments process or a clear direction for the type of position you would be interested in, you are encouraged to apply to the Initiative for guidance prior to applying to the White House.

What can I expect for the vetting process?

Most applicants under serious consideration for an appointment will go through a full FBI background check in which their employment, professional, personal, travel, medical, financial, legal, military and educational histories will be reviewed and scrutinized. The financial holdings and sources of income for most applicants under serious consideration must be disclosed for review to ascertain if there are any possible conflicts of interest. After an appointment is made, there may be public scrutiny, especially for senior-level appointments. For a helpful roadmap, see the National Academy of Public Administration’s Presidential Appointee Roadmap.