SES Application Process

SES Application Process

The federal government generally uses a merit-based open competitive hiring process to fill Senior Executive Service (SES) Positions. In some cases, they may use a non-competitive process to fill a position. The competitive government application process is usually open to all people, including those who don’t have previous experience in a federal position. We are here to help you obtain these positions.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) must allocate SES position vacancies on a biennial cycle. Each agency may establish positions according to their needs and do not need approval from OPM. The agencies are expected to manage their resource needs within the allocation process as much as possible.

The SES process is challenging and highly competitive. With quality application materials, it’s possible to impress hiring teams and land the position that you’ve always dreamed of. The most important parts of the SES application process are your application materials, and they must be well written and outline your qualifications effectively.

Who Qualifies For the SES Application Process?

When the federal government uses the non-competitive hiring process, they generally open position vacancies to candidates who have already completed an Office of Personnel Management (OPM)-certified SES Candidate Development Program (CDP) and can be placed without competition. In other cases, they will reassign or transfer existing SES members to the vacancy. Our services at CareerProPlus generally don’t cover these positions.

When the federal government uses the competitive hiring process, they open vacancies to the public. Different departments may use different application processes when they post vacancies, and most positions are posted for at least two weeks. This is a small amount of time to put your entire application package together and leave a significant impact.

If you want to obtain an SES position, it’s important to prepare the majority of your application materials ahead of time. CareerProPlus can then work with you to tailor your materials for each position that interests you. Timing is important!

How Does the SES Application Process Work?

How Does the SES Application Process Work?

First, review boards review applications to determine if applicants meet minimum standards and requirements. They will refer some of the most qualified candidates to the hiring official. The most qualified candidates will have Executive Core Qualification (ECQ) statements that show achievement and leadership. When the federal government uses merit-based open competition to fill positions, the SES selection process includes the following steps:

  • Career Appointments: Initial SES career appointments must be based on merit competition. The government will notify the public of the job announcement in order to achieve diversity. The vacancy announcement will be open for a minimum of two weeks. The government will make the announcement available to all candidates, including those without prior experience working for the federal government. Positions are typically posted on Human resources specialists and the Executive Review Board will perform a preliminary review and ranking of applications, and they will evaluate each candidate’s qualifications.
  • SES Merit Staffing Process: The merit staffing SES selection process consists of eight steps. These steps include choosing a selection method, placing the position on USAJobs, overseeing the application process, rating and ranking candidates, recommending the best-qualified candidates, choosing and certifying selections, and appointing the chosen candidates to the positions.
  • Streamlined SES Selection Method: The OPM has developed two new selection methods, which include accomplishment record and resume-based selection methods. The OPM designed these methods with the applicant in mind as they lessen the paperwork burden of the application process.
  • Probation: The probationary period for SES appointments in one calendar year. A supervisor will initiate the removal of an executive upon full and fair consideration if their job performance is unsatisfactory.

Even though application windows are typically short, the SES application process can take many months. This is because the recruiting, evaluation and approval processes are extensive.

Who Reviews SES Applications?

Qualification review boards (QRB) review SES applications. QRBs are OPM-administered, independent boards consisting of three SES members, each from a different agency. These members assess the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) of SES candidates. They provide a fair assessment of all documents and determine if applicants have the required qualifications. They look for leadership qualities in individuals, and they are careful not to be limited by ECQ documents.

The QRB must follow appropriate merit staffing procedures, and the OPM will continually review the process to ensure ECQs are adequate and all documents are included. There are several steps included in the review process, and your application materials will have to pass significant requirements that are reviewed by highly qualified experts. It’s important to have an application package that will earn you status as a qualified candidate.

What Do You Need for the SES Application Process?

It’s important to include all of the application materials required in order to be selected for an SES position. When you apply for an SES position, your application will need to include:

  • Technical qualifications (TQs): It’s important to have multiple technical qualifications in your application. When you write technical qualifications, it’s important to create a story for every ability and skill you include, and it’s best to use a Challenge, Context, Action, and Result (CCAR) structure to frame these skills. Some applications will not require this element, while others will require two or three.
  • Executive core qualifications (ECQs): The five ECQs important in SES applications include Leading People, Leading Change, Building Coalitions, Results Driven and Business Acumen. SES positions require all five of these competencies. You should write these in the first person and make sure that the stories you write to outline your competencies clearly demonstrate your ability for executive leadership. Each one should be two pages or less. Use specific metrics or statistics when you can, and use the CCAR structure if you’re able to.
  • SES Executive Resume: Your resume should outline the last 10 years of your career and relevant experience. Generally, it should be five pages or less, and some agencies prefer a maximum of three to four pages.

Use active verbs for your headlines and bullet points in your resume, and try not to use the word “I.” Make sure that your examples are different from the ones that you included in your TQs and ECQs. It’s also important to customize your resume for each SES vacancy you apply for so that it best fits the requirements of each position.

Get Help Applying For an SES Position

Get Help Applying For an SES Position

The SES application process is competitive and challenging. Your application and resume are important in the SES selection process, and successfully communicating your qualifications is key to being identified as a highly qualified candidate. Even if you have excellent skills and extensive experience, the experts reviewing your application will not see those unless you communicate them effectively in your application.

While it can be intimidating to write an application and resume for the SES hiring process, we are here to help. CareerProPlus can help you write and customize your resume to fit the position you want to apply for. Contact us today to see how we can help you land your dream job. We will help you craft a persuasive application package that shows review boards that you will be an invaluable asset in the position you apply for.

About the author:

Previous ArticleThe Top Five Interview Questions YOU Should Ask Next ArticleWhy Are Keywords so important in My Resume?