Executive Core Qualifications Examples

Learn More About ECQs & KSAs

What Are the Five Executive Core Qualifications?

The five executive core qualifications (ECQs) are:

  • Leading Change: This category involves skills such as strategic thinking, vision and flexibility. When writing about your ability to lead change, you must highlight how you’ve promoted deliberate development both within and outside the organization to fulfill their goals. You should also discuss your capability to create a vision within the organization and enforce it in an environment that constantly changes.
  • Leading People: The Leading People section of your ECQ resume should have two career stories that discuss leveraging diversity, team building, conflict management and developing others. Your goal is to emphasize your experience in guiding people toward carrying out the organization’s goals, vision and mission. Describe your ability to provide an inclusive work environment that promotes others’ development, facilitates teamwork and cooperation, and supports constructive conflict resolution.
  • Results Driven: This category includes the ability to achieve goals within the organization and meet the expectations of your customers. When writing about this qualification, you must discuss your ability to apply technical knowledge, analyze problems and calculate risks in order to make choices that yield high-quality results within the company.
  • Business Acumen: A Business Acumen example should highlight your capability to manage human, financial and information resources strategically.
  • Building Coalitions: The Building Coalitions section of your ECQ document should highlight your ability to develop relationships within the organization and with other federal agencies, international organizations, local and state governments, foreign governments and nonprofit and private sector organizations to achieve common goals.

How to Write About ECQs

While writing your ECQ document, you might find it challenging to select or condense your work experiences to fit within each category. Even if you have plenty of examples to include, you might have difficulty putting down your ideas on paper. You have to find the balance between sounding confident and arrogant when communicating how you reflect these competencies. You also need to provide enough information without giving too much. It’s helpful to sharpen your storytelling skills and brush up on your knowledge of grammar and syntax.

As you prepare to write your ECQs, consider how each category demonstrates your ability to fulfill your proposed job description’s responsibilities. After considering what each qualification means, write down previous work experiences that come to mind. Note your career highlights, any awards you’ve earned or specific accomplishments that point to successes in your career. Then, you can consider how your experiences naturally reflect the five ECQs.

How to Connect Your Personal Experience to Each ECQ

ECQs need to establish and highlight your competency and accomplishments as a potential employee with a federal agency, but they should also include relevant personal experiences. Each statement should give real-world examples of how you contributed to each of the competencies. Remember to avoid using personal information that identifies your religion, age, sex or ethnicity when writing about your experiences.

Excellent ECQ essays provide specific descriptions of the following:

  • Commitment to serving the public’s best interests
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Maintaining ethical and fair behavior in the workplace
  • Oral communication abilities
  • Flexibility and willingness to accept new ideas so you can effectively lead change
  • Optimism, stability and persistence in the face of challenging situations
  • Ability to address the organization’s long-term goals
  • Managing conflict
  • Inspiring cooperation, teamwork and resilience within the organization
Read More +Less –

How to Format ECQs

Once you have the specific experiences you’d like to use as your ECQs, you’ll need to write the statements themselves. They’re usually one or two pages each, and they follow the Challenge-Context-Action-Result (CCAR) format:

  • Challenge: Identify a problem that you’ve encountered in your previous position.
  • Context: Summarize how you dealt with the problem.
  • Action: Describe the specific steps you took to resolve the issue.
  • Result: Provide examples of the positive outcomes from your decision.

Following this format guides your description of each qualification to give your statement a narrative flow. Your ECQ narratives will stand out to the hiring team more if you include specific challenges and quantifiable success from your decisions. Be sure to include separate paragraphs to ensure the content is easier to read. Avoid using headings and subheadings.

Get Started Now

How to Include ECQs in Your SES Resume

If you’re applying for an SES position, you’ll need to define your professional and personal competencies in each ECQ section. Each of the ECQs involves core competencies that reveal your expertise to the hiring team so they know whether you’re the right fit for their organization. A five-page all-inclusive resume typically requires 250 words to 300 words in the CCAR resume format for each section. You must relate each experience to a position you had within the past ten years.

If you’re writing executive core qualifications for a federal government application, you must write a considerable portion of your resume discussing your skills in contributing to the organization. Write your ECQ essay with powerful examples and descriptions to demonstrate your ability to influence a federal corporate culture. Draft your SES qualifications as descriptively and clearly as possible to impress the hiring team and get considered for your desired position.

How to Format SES Resumes With ECQs

Most SES resumes usually follow the five-page resume format or ten-page resume format. Pay attention to the specifics of your vacancy announcement to find out if each ECQs must be one page or if you have to follow other requirements. Your SES resume should include your executive career experience, information about the five ECQS, professional technical qualifications (PTQs) examples and personal traits that relate to successes in your career.

The hiring team expects your ECQ and SES resume formatting to follow their application’s specifications. If your SES resume has any formatting errors, the hiring manager might skip over it instead of giving it the attention necessary for them to consider you for the position. Since there’s a lot of pressure on getting this document right, you might want to rely on a professional resume writing service that understands each type of format.

SES Application Examples

Here are examples from actual essays written for four of the five ECQ categories:

Each of these samples includes key elements you need to highlight your strengths. These SES ECQ resume examples address the CCAR format and the respective core competencies required for each specific ECQ. The stories are written and told through the “lens” that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) specifically requires.

The purpose of our core qualification examples is to demonstrate how to tell a story that supports the specific ECQs and respective core competencies. We’ve altered these samples of SES core qualifications provided to shorten the respective ECQ, eliminating the entire story and various competencies. We hope you find them enlightening on how to write your own ECQs with depth and complexity.

Get Started Now

Read More +Less –

Tips for Writing ECQs in a Resume

Even when following the format for writing the ECQs in your resume, your essay should stand out among other SES applicants. Follow these tips to help your application get more attention than your competition.

1. Check the Requirements for Your SES Application

Writing the ECQ section for your SES application is more than understanding the CCAR format and proper grammar and syntax. As you read samples and do other research, find out what information you need to include for your specific SES application. Make sure the information is relevant to the context, includes specific numbers and describes the lasting lessons you took away from your experience. Most importantly, you should know how your achievements have developed your skills to show that you’re the right fit for the position.

2. Familiarize Yourself With the Core Qualifications

When writing the ECQs for your SES resume, it’s helpful to understand what each qualification means and how they relate to the job you want. The SES review board looks for specific characteristics that fit within each ECQ. Consider why these skills are necessary for SES employment and what they’ll communicate about your personality, experiences, skills and motivation.

Your statement should include concrete examples of how your experience relates to the specifics of the five ECQs. Research each qualification to find out which stories and details to include in your resume. Address each ECQ with your unique experiences, providing as much detail as possible to demonstrate to the review board why they should consider you for the position.

3. Understand the Different Style of Business Acumen ECQs

The Business Acumen section has a unique format from the other four qualifications. This category includes technology, financial and human capital management, but these competencies don’t relate well. You might find it challenging to develop a career story with all three of these competencies. Even if you happen to have one, the stories are usually confusing because they typically include too much information. As a result, we’ve discovered the review board tends to frown upon this approach.

Instead of finding a story that combines financial, human capital and technology management, think of the Business Acumen qualification as three sub-categories. You might have to find shorter examples to fit all three within the two-page limit. Unlike with the other categories, your examples can talk about experiences from different positions or programs within the past ten years. The three should each tell their own story. When you take this simple approach to your Business Acumen ECQs, you demonstrate your top career stories while following formatting guidelines.

4. Read Other ECQ Samples

As you prepare your approach to each ECQ, it helps to familiarize yourself with the format and how other people have written this section in the past. Besides the samples we’ve provided, it helps to read other examples to get a concrete idea of what the SES review board looks for among their applicants.

You can browse previous applications to help you figure out what works and what doesn’t when writing your ECQ. At CareerProPlus, we provide tips and information on our site to help you display your skills through the ECQ section of your SES resume.

5. Focus More on Following Guidelines Than Being Creative

You might have several personal stories that you want to include to highlight the successes throughout your career. However, it’s not a good idea to brainstorm your career highlights initially and try to get them to fit within the various ECQ competencies. Instead, consider each ECQ and make sure the story you have in mind will reflect the core message of the qualification you want to portray before you begin writing. Your application will be more noticeable when you include specific and relevant stories in your ECQs.

Consider approaching each ECQ by:

  • Thinking of a story and comparing it to the five qualifications you need to have on your application.
  • Assessing how your experience highlights the competencies among these five qualities and whether it naturally fits.
  • Starting to draw out the relationship between your story and the qualifications as directly and clearly as possible.

You can start writing when you have relevant stories for each ECQ.


CareerProPlus Will Help You Write the Executive Core Qualifications for Your SES Resume

If you need help, you can review our online training course as you research, write and review your resume. It might also help you to invest in one of our webinars to make your SES application stand out among the rest. Our CareerProPlus professionals can guide you in transforming your experiences into an application that highlights your unique expertise and increases your chance of landing an interview.

Our team of certified writers and career experts has helped thousands of SES applicants, and we’re equipped to help you write exceptional ECQ statements. We’ll also provide Mandatory Technical Qualifications examples and other components for your SES application. Contact us for a free consultation to discover how our writers can help you communicate your best qualities through your application.

Get Started Now

Get started today

Speak With One Of Our
Trusted Career Advisors

Speak with one of our Career Advisors to determine whether our SES resume writing services are for you and how we can assist in developing for you an extremely competitive SES Resume. Call 800-471-9201 for a no-cost consult. Click on the GET STARTED NOW button and send us a copy of your resume and SES job vacancy of interest or a sample SES vacancy so we can better assist you.

Get Started Now