Is 2015 the Year You Will Apply for an SES Position?

December, 24, 2014

The years go fast, don’t they? Are you a high-performing leader who has been thinking about the next step in your career? Have you been thinking about the SES, but still have not taken the time to get your application materials prepared?

If so, what are you waiting for? The federal government needs you to help shepherd it into the future, but you must put yourself out there. With the new year approaching, it’s a great time to actively design the next chapter of your career.

These 10 steps will give you some momentum in the right direction:

  1. Make a decision to apply for SES positions, then pretend you are planning the rest of these steps for one of your colleagues, or maybe a subordinate manager. Thinking in this way, how much time would you realistically give this individual to complete each step? A week, a month, a quarter?
  2. Search USAJOBS for one or two sample SES positions.
  3. Develop the first draft of your SES resume, using the sample positions as a guide.
  4. Develop your ECQs.
  5. Armed with these documents, and preferably AFTER you complete the ECQs, start targeting specific SES announcements.
  6. Select one announcement at a time, paying close attention to the duties, qualifications, and application instructions.
  7. Tailor your resume to ensure it demonstrates as many of the duties and qualifications as possible from the job announcement.
  8. Develop any required Technical Qualifications.
  9. Ask someone you trust—such as a colleague or even a member of the SES—to review your application materials and provide honest feedback.
  10. Make final edits and apply!

Yes, this list makes a sometimes-daunting process sound a bit easier than it is. However, without a plan of action and commitment, it may never get done. If you break down your plan into bite-sized chunks, and you write your ECQs without the pressure of a job closing, you will most likely produce stronger documents. Some people accomplish all of this on their own, but that takes a great deal of discipline, time, and dedication.

In 2014 alone, CareerPro Global’s team has helped numerous executives from corporate America, the federal government, and the various military branches to develop their SES application packages. They still needed the commitment to the process, and they still needed to put in some time to provide information and dig deep for their top career stories, but with an executive coach and writer in their corner, the whole experience became a lot easier and simpler to manage. In fact, although it’s rarely “easy,” many clients look back at the process as very meaningful and empowering, and they feel more confident in applying for that long-imagined SES position.

So, whether you are going to go it alone or seek some professional help, make 2015 YOUR year!

Lee Kelley is an Iraq war veteran, former Army Captain, and author who now serves as the senior writer on CareerPro Global’s writing team. Leveraging the company’s vast expertise in assisting thousands of SES and federal job seekers, Lee has personally developed hundreds of resumes and more than a thousand ECQs. He is also the Director of Training and Veteran Transitions, and has provided USAJOBS resume-writing workshops to hundreds of federal employees and military personnel. In addition, Lee co-authored the book, Roadmap to the Senior Executive Service: How to Find SES Jobs, Determine Your Qualifications, and Develop Your SES Application. His latest book is titled, Inside Marine One: Four U.S. Presidents, One Proud Marine, and the World’s Most Amazing Helicopter.

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