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  • 25 Years of Writing Experience
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From Our Clients...

    "This was an investment in my career at a pivotal stage of my life. My team obviously had the expertise I needed to give me an edge in applying for Federal Government positions. They were highly professional, but personable and very patiently and willingly answered all my questions. "-Cheryl Hogarth
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Executive Core Qualifications

Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) That Land Jobs

For the past two decades, we have written literally thousands of sets of ECQs for our Senior Executive clients. Federal agencies also hire us when they have an SES candidate who is having a difficult time getting his/her ECQs approved by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) define your leadership style, describe your vision and values, explain your use of critical thinking, and establish your legitimacy as a leader. There are written rules for the ECQs. There are unwritten rules, too, that go deeper than the unskilled ECQ writer realizes. Rather than simply describing loosely connected activities and actions taken to implement an initiative, you must describe—in compelling language—how you have been a key player in intentional, strategic, and systematic efforts to lead and implement major initiatives.

  1. Leading Change: Discuss the vision for change… how the need for change affected the organization and shaped stakeholders’ views, as well as the organization’s impact on the external environment… how you created a sense of urgency for the change as an opportunity… how problems or people required you to fall back on a contingency… Describe the tactics you use to energize people, projects and/or policy to successfully facilitate and lead change.

  2. Leading People: This ECQ should be expressed in terms of coaching, mentoring, and motivating for success. Discuss how you retained top talent in a time of uncertainty and fluctuation while battling fierce competition from the private sector… how you recognized and leveraged diversity to help the overall group become the center of a major initiative or effort… how you overcame resistance and kept everyone on a positive track… how you developed leaders who, in turn, fostered a positive and productive work culture and fueled their talent to withstand the threats of a challenging economic environment to meet and exceed mission demands… how you got your best talent to do more with less and accept uncertainty… how, when budgets got tight, you got creative about how to attract and keep the best and brightest professionals.

  3. Results Driven: As a leader, you set clear expectations for what success looks like, but you also allowed people the freedom to determine how to achieve those goals. Discuss how you challenged the status quo and took smart risks to advance the organization’s goals... how you knew your job, knew your facts, and knew the basis for your own decisions, but admitted to knowing what you didn’t know... and how you leveraged others with expertise in the technical aspects of the mission to get the job done.

  4. Business Acumen: This ECQ involves the ability to manage human, financial (including procurement), and information resources strategically in an integrated way. QRB (the Qualifications Review Board) raters expect candidates to have high levels of experience in all three, including supervising employees and direct experience in strategic resource management of a program and/or group (e.g., human, financial/budget, IT). Discuss the budgets you have developed… how you found new, less costly ways of performing your agency’s work... how you made smart cuts, etc.

  5. Building Coalitions: Where the Leading People factor addresses your ability to communicate down the organizational chart, this one emphasizes your ability to reach out to and across other organizations. Discuss how you have reached out to different executives or agency working groups to address agency challenges... how you’ve made connections with senior leaders… how you have activated your network both within and external to your agency... and how you have enlisted people from across organizations to build a “guiding coalition.”


Identifying Positions

We can work with you to identify positions. If you send us documentation on your background and your interests (including types of positions and job locations), we can help you with your search.

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