SES Federal Government Hiring Process

For the most part, Senior Executive Service positions are filled using a merit-based open competitive federal government hiring process. In some cases, a position may be filled using a non-competitive process. The competitive government hiring process is generally open to all candidates, including those without prior federal job experience. These are the positions we help you obtain. When positions are filled using the merit-based open competition, the following will apply:

  • The vacancy announcement will be open for a minimum of two weeks
  • The vacancy announcement will be made available to all candidates, including those without prior experience working for the federal government
  • The vacancy announcement will be listed on a number of websites, but for the most part, you can rely on

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“Long story, short… Lee made my accomplishments sound fantastic and I am proud to say my ECQs passed OPM’s review. I am starting my SES career in 3 weeks!!! I couldn’t have done it without [CPG].” – LM

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Who Is the SES Hiring Process For?

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When positions are filled using the non-competitive federal government hiring process, they are generally open to candidates who have already completed an OPM (Office of Personnel Management)-certified SES Candidate Development Program (CDP), who may be placed without competition, or existing SES members may be reassigned or transferred into the position. Such positions are generally outside the scope of our services.

There may be different hiring processes, depending on the department posting the position. In general, though, the position will be posted for at least two weeks, but this is a short period of time to get your entire package put together with maximum impact. If you are serious about working for the SES, then you may wish to prepare the core of your package ahead of time, and then work with us to modify it for each particular position of interest. Time is of the essence!

Applications in the SES Hiring Process

Applications will be reviewed to see if they meet minimum requirements and standards. The reviewing board(s) will identify and select a small list of “best qualified” candidates who are then referred to the hiring official. These are the candidates with supportive and definitive ECQ statements, clearly illustrating leadership and achievement. A panel of experts may review the short list of candidates for the final selection. The selection is made and final approval is obtained from OPM. Street Sign with Six Signs that say Help, Assistance, Support, Tips, Guidance, and AdviceThe review, approval, and certification process may involve more than a dozen review steps. Your resume, ECQs, and other documents must withstand the scrutiny of these multiple reviews. We are ready to help you prepare a bulletproof application package designed to get you to “best qualified” status.

What You Need for the SES Hiring Process

The hiring process begins with an application, which will depend on the position you’re applying for. Your application will generally include:

  • Multiple TQs (Technical Qualifications): Some applications will not require this element, while others will require two or three. When you’re writing these, you’ll want to create a story for every skill and ability you list, preferably using a Challenge, Context, Action, Result (CCAR) structure.
  • Five ECQs (executive core qualifications): The five ECQs of SES applications are Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen and Building Coalitions. Each of these competencies are required for SES positions, and you’ll want to write them in the first person and ensure your stories are those that demonstrate executive leadership. Each one should not be longer than two pages and should clearly demonstrate your qualification. As with TQs, use the CCAR structure if possible, and use specific stats or metrics where you can. ECQs are stories and do not involve your technical expertise.
  • Your resume: Your resume can be up to five pages and should focus on the past 10 years of your professional experience. Some federal agency’s are requesting three to four page resume maximum. Start each HEADLINE or bullet point with an active verb, and avoid using the word “I.” Use different examples than the ones you used in your ECQs and TQs, and best practice may be to tailor your resume for each SES position so that it best reflects the needs of that position.

How Long Does the SES Hiring Process Take?

Since there is an extensive recruiting, evaluation, and approval process before an appointment is made, the entire process can take several months, even though the application window may be short. Since the SES positions are filled by accomplished, visionary leaders, you will know that you are among the best of the best when you are selected to fill one of these vital federal positions. Let us help you get there.

How SES Resume Writers Can Help You With the SES Hiring Process

Writing an application and resume for the SES process is challenging, and these positions are highly competitive. To get an edge, you may need someone who has successfully helped place professionals in these coveted positions. Having the skills is a great start, but you need to be able to communicate it persuasively to the reviewing boards.

When you want to make sure you end up on the “best qualified” candidates list, remember that working with professionals is an advantage. SES Resume Writers is a team of professionals who have more than 25 years of experience in creating resumes, including SES hiring process applications. We have a 99.6% customer satisfaction rating, in part because we provide nuanced and professional assistance and in part because we help clients land their dream jobs. We’ve already enabled more than 58,000 clients to become success stories, and we’ve helped create more than 3,000 SES applications.

At SES Resume Writers, we’ve written the book on landing your dream job. Literally! Our team has published three well-reviewed books about careers and job hunting. We’ve also been humbled by seven nominations for the TORI (Toast of the Resume Industry) awards. Our team has multiple certifications, including Master Military Resume Writer (MMRW), Master Federal Career Advisor (MFCA), Master Federal Resume Writer (MFRW) and Master Federal Career Advisor/Trainer (MFCA/T).

Behind the scenes, we’re the only career service company to use a quality management system, which means we have a process in place to ensure that every resume goes through a comprehensive editing stage and through proofreading, allowing us to stand behind every resume.

We’re so confident that we offer an industry-leading 5-point guarantee. To learn more about how we can help you with your SES application, contact SES Resume Writers today.

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