ECQ Examples

Executive Core Qualification Writing Samples.

Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) are among the most critical components to a competitive SES application. Many candidates find it helpful to review ECQ examples and samples while preparing ECQ essays for an SES application. While this can help build momentum in the ECQ writing process, it is important reference high quality examples.

To help candidates prepare their best ECQs, SESWriters has provided two real, high-quality examples from Leading Change and Leading People essays. These samples are not formulaic, and as such cannot be copied – their goal is instead to demonstrate how the core competencies can be illustrated through writing in a clear, engaging way that is also highly readable.

The samples below have been shortened to remove personal details and additional competency information.


Results Driven ECQ Examples

Leading Change ECQ Example

Leading People ECQ Examples

Leading People ECQ Example

How to Incorporate ECQs into Your Resume

Defining professional and personal competencies is essential for assuming a Senior Executive Service (SES) position. Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) consist of five “core competencies”:

• Leading Change
• Leading People
• Results Driven
• Business Acumen
• Building Coalitions

Powerfully written ECQ essays clearly demonstrate the applicant’s ability to contribute to a federal corporate culture. Individuals applying for SES positions must devote a large portion of their resume to describing how well they can address these competencies. If an applicant’s SES qualifications are not drafted as clearly and as richly as possible on their resume, the hiring manager may not be impressed enough to consider the applicant for a position in their organization.

How to Connect ECQs to Personal Experience

Not only do ECQs need to establish the competency and expertise of job applicants, but they should also incorporate personal experiences as they relate to ECQs. For example, excellent ECQ essays include in-depth descriptions of interpersonal skills, oral communication abilities, consistency of ethical and fair behavior within the workplace, and commitment to serving the best interests of the public. Each ECQ will provide real-world examples of how the applicant contributed to “leading change” and “leading people,” while supporting these examples with personal insights into each example.

ECQs and personal experiences should reveal applicants as being flexible employees who are open to new ideas and information. They should show applicants as being resilient, optimistic, and unbending under adversity. Examples provided in an SES resume must present the applicant as someone who employs strategic thinking techniques, combined with strong leadership and visionary skills for addressing a company’s long-term goals.

Additionally, ECQs and personal traits should promote the applicant as someone who is adept at conflict management, inspiring commitment to teamwork and facilitating cooperation among key players.

How to Format ECQs

ECQs must be written according to the Challenge-Context-Action-Result (CCAR) model, in which “Challenge” describes a problem encountered by the applicant, “Context” summarizes how the applicant tackled the problem, “Action” discusses specific actions the applicant took to resolve the problem, and “Result” provides examples of positive outcomes emerging from the applicant’s actions.
Effectively written ECQs should be descriptive but easy to read, incorporate bullet points and paragraphs for emphasis, insert categorical headings and subheadings, where applicable, and avoid subjective statements when writing about ECQs and personal traits. Copies of awards, certificates, or diplomas should not be attached, nor should an SES resume identify the age, sex, ethnicity, or religion of the applicant.

How to Format SES Resumes with ECQs

The 5-page resume format and the 10-page resume format are the most difficult resumes to create. These resumes include the applicant’s executive career experience, summaries of their five ECQs, Technical Qualifications (TQs), personal traits conducive to the success of the organization, and other essential SES qualifications.

Hiring managers expect ECQ and SES resume formatting to adhere to specifications. Consequently, an SES resume containing errors in formatting may not receive the attention needed for the applicant to be asked to a first interview. Relying on professional resume writing service experienced with the 5-page resume format and the 10-page resume format is strongly recommended when applying for an SES position.

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