Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Senior Executive Service

by Robin Schlinger, ResumeEdge.com Editor and CFRW

Senior Executive Service (SES) personnel lead the continuing transformation of the Federal government. Leaders chosen to SES positions possess well-honed executive skills and share a broad perspective of government and a public service commitment which is grounded in the Constitution. Per the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, the SES was designed to be a corps of executives selected for their leadership qualifications.

SES personnel serve in the key positions just below the top Presidential appointees, and as such, are the major link between these appointees and the rest of the Federal work force. They operate and oversee nearly every government activity in approximately 75 Federal agencies.

SES positions are the equivalent of Vice Presidents, Presidents, CEOs, CIOs and CFOs in civilian positions. If you are transitioning from the Military, typically you would have to be at the O-6 (Colonel in the Army, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard - or Captain in the Navy) to consider applying at this level. Occasionally, personnel retiring at the O-5 level can qualify, depending on your background and number of years at that level. If you are already in the Federal Government, SES positions require you are at the GS-14 or GS-15 level to apply.

If you are not at this level, FederalResumePros recommends you look at lower level positions, where your leadership and background will give you a better chance at success when applying for positions.

How to apply for SES positions:

Step 1:

Find the announcement - search at
www.usajobs.com - select Search Jobs and you can select the SES tab.

Step 2:

Read the job announcement. Make sure you have done most (at least 90-95%) of the duties. Also look at the Job Requirements. You MUST meet ALL of the job requirements, or you will not be considered for the position.

Step 3:

Create the application package. Read the announcement for application requirements.

Generally, SES applications consist of four or five parts:

- Federal Resume - see our Federal Resumes page
- Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) - See additional articles
- Required Factors - not in every announcement - these are written like KSAs and you MUST be able to address ALL of them
- Managerial Technical Qualifications (MTQs) or Professional Technical Qualifications (PTQs) - these are similar to KSAs [put in link to the KSA page]
- Cover Letter - recommended for paper-based applications

Other documentation may be required. You may need to send in several copies of the announcement.

Robin Schlinger, a Certified Federal Resume Writer, specializes in writing Federal resume packages for all levels, from entry to SES. Her expertise is adding value, based on over 20 years in senior level engineering andbusiness positions for Fortune 500 companies. Robin holds a BS in ChemicalEngineering from MIT. Request Robin for your Federal product by keying her last name only, no caps (schlinger) in the 'request your editor' field of the ResumeEdge.com online form.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Using Accomplishments to Set You Apart from Other Candidates

by Darlene Zambruski, ResumeEdge.com Managing Editor, CPRW

Work- or academically-related accomplishments are what set you apart from the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other candidates vying for the same position. Hiring managers know that past achievement is indicative of future performance. They also know that achievers are self-starters, motivated, and an asset to their employers.

Remember, a hiring manager will afford no more than 10 seconds to a candidate’s resume, unless they are compelled to read further. Accomplishments are what capture and retain their interest.

What is an Accomplishment?

1. Any results-related activity that goes beyond your general job description.
2. An achievement that is quantified with dollar figures or percentages, and time periods.
3. Upward progression in your chosen career:
A. Being recruited into the company to achieve specific goals (i.e. cost containment)
B. Being promoted to positions of ever-increasing authority
4. Work-related awards
5. Academic scholarships
6. Industry-specific certifications or licensure (i.e. CPA, RN, MD, bar admissions)

What is NOT an Accomplishment?

1. Completing work you are expected to do and have been hired to do (daily tasks).
2. Promptness.
3. Being congenial.
4. Any activity that cannot be quantified by dollar figures/percentages/results, attainment of an award, scholarship,
certification, or other means of recognition

Do’s and Don’ts of Accomplishments:

1. Don’t write vague statements such as:

Self-starter known for completing projects on time.

The above sounds self-serving to an employer. Instead, quantify what you’ve done (using dollar figures/percentages, and
time periods) and for whom.

The same accomplishment strengthened with quantifying data:

Saved Marriott International $150,000 within eight months of hire by successfully completing a reorganization plan that
eliminated three unnecessary positions.

In the above, there’s no doubt about the employer (Marriott International), the cost-savings ($150,000), the time period
(eight months of hire), or the means by which this was achieved (…by successfully completing a reorganization plan that eliminated three unnecessary positions.)

2. Don’t keep where you achieved these results a mystery.

All too often candidates will have superb accomplishments, and will list each and every one of them, but fail to
include where they took place. Nothing is more exasperating to a hiring manager than to have to guess the where and when of an accomplishment. Nothing diminishes the effectiveness of an achievement faster than withholding important data.

Don’t write:

Salvaged a multi-million dollar account by traveling to London and resolving a large bank’s networking issues.

With the above, the hiring manager may very well wonder – what large bank? – specifically, what networking issues is this
candidate referring to? – for what company was this activity undertaken? – why was travel to London necessary or required?

When an accomplishment raises more questions than it answers, it’s no longer effective, and should be revised using
specific and quantified data.

3. Don’t include accomplishments that have little to do with your career goal and do not enhance your candidacy.

For example – if you were awarded an academic scholarship for the study of journalism, but are now moving into
pharmaceutical sales, the inclusion of the academic award will do little to impress a hiring manager.

However, if you received a research award in Biology at the Masters’ or Ph.D. level, this will enhance your candidacy for a career move into pharmaceutical sales, especially if you have little to no professional experience in the field.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Resumes for the Entertainment Industry

by Lynne Rhys, JD, ResumeEdge.com Editor, CPRW

You sing, you dance, you act, and you’re great behind the camera too. But can you write a good resume? Let’s face it: jobs in your industry are extraordinarily difficult to land, and a good entertainment resume looks very different from one, say, for an accountant. Luckily, there are ways to pump up your resume that can help you stand out when you’re going for that big break.

One important key to a great show biz resume doesn’t have a thing to do with writing. It’s all about record-keeping. You’ll need three lists. First, keep track of every gig you have, even if it’s not in your usual field and even if you didn’t get paid. You may end up with a wild set of credits as a production assistant, writer, director, best boy grip, singer, dancer, set designer, and animal wrangler, but that’s all right – it shows versatility! Get yourself a spiral notebook and keep track of each production, with a description of the production type, director, theater or production company, dates, and your job or role.

Second, keep track of any awards won by you or by the projects you did. You may have played a bit part in a bad movie, but its selection for a film festival looks good on a resume!

Third, keep a list of classes and seminars you’ve taken, because there will probably be some you’ll want to include. For example, master classes can add credibility.

Of course, you probably won’t include everything in these lists on your resume – nobody really cares that you played Martha Washington in your elementary school play. And of course, how you organize your credits will depend on your job goals. But with a full list of credits, an expert can create a resume that really struts your stuff!

Lynne Rhys-Jones is a Certified Professional Resume Writer who specializes in legal, entertainment, and management resumes. A freelance writer and musician, she holds a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard School, a Master of Science in Information Studies from Florida State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Philosophy from the University of New Mexico. Request Lynne for your ResumeEdge.com product by keying in her last name only, no caps (rhys) in the 'request your editor' field of the ResumeEdge.com online form. http://www.resumeedge.com/

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs)

by Robin Schlinger, ResumeEdge.com Editor and CFRW

The ECQ essays are required for entry into the SES and are used by many departments and agencies in selection, performance management and leadership development for management and executive positions. The ECQs define the competencies to build a Federal corporate culture to drive for results, serve customers and build successful teams and coalitions with and outside the organization. Typically these essays are 1-2 pages each. FederalResumePros writes ECQ statements using examples to show how you uniquely add value.

There are 5 ECQ essays to be written:

ECQ 1 - Leading Change
ECQ 2 - Leading People
ECQ 3 - Results Driven
ECQ 4 - Business Acumen
ECQ 5 - Building coalitions

Each ECQ must address the subject of the ECQ and the competencies under each ECQ. In addition, SES candidates must show the following Fundamental Competencies:

Competencies are the personal and professional attributes that are critical to successful performance in the SES. The fundamental competencies are the attributes that serve as the foundation for each of the Executive Core Qualifications. Experience and training that strengthen and demonstrate the competencies will enhance a candidate’s overall qualifications for the SES.

Definition: These competencies are the foundation for success in each of the Executive Core Qualifications.


Interpersonal Skills: Treats others with courtesy, sensitivity, and respect. Considers and responds appropriately to the needs and feelings of different people in different situations.

Oral Communication: Makes clear and convincing oral presentations. Listens effectively; clarifies information as needed.

Integrity/Honesty: Behaves in an honest, fair, and ethical manner. Shows consistency in words and actions. Models high standards of ethics.

Written Communication: Writes in a clear, concise, organized and convincing manner for the intended audience.

Continual Learning: Assesses and recognizes own strengths and weaknesses; pursues self-development.

Public Service Motivation: Shows a commitment to serve the public. Ensures that actions meet public needs; aligns organizational objectives and practices with public interests.

More information on each ECQ is below. The competencies under each ECQ need to be addressed in the ECQ essays:

ECQ 1: Leading Change

Definition: This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.


Creativity and Innovation: Develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages new ideas and innovations; designs and implements new or cutting edge programs/processes.

External Awareness: Understands and keeps up-to-date on local, national and international policies and trends that affect the organization and shape stakeholders' views; is aware of the organization's impact on the external environment.

Flexibility: Is open to change and new information; rapidly adapts to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles.

Resilience: Deals effectively with pressure; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity. Recovers quickly from setbacks.

Strategic Thinking : Formulates objectives and priorities, and implements plans consistent with the long-term interests of the organization in a global environment. Capitalizes on opportunities and manages risks.

Vision: Takes a long-term view and builds a shared vision with others; acts as a catalyst for organizational change. Influences others to translate vision into action.

ECQ 2: Leading People

Definition: This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.


Conflict Management: Encourages creative tension and differences of opinions. Anticipates and takes steps to prevent counter-productive confrontations. Manages and resolves conflicts and disagreements in a constructive manner.

Leveraging Diversity: Fosters an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued and leveraged to achieve the vision and mission of the organization.

Developing Others: Develops the ability of others to perform and contribute to the organization by providing ongoing feedback and by providing opportunities to learn through formal and informal methods.

Team Building: Inspires and fosters team commitment, spirit, pride and trust. Facilitates cooperation and motivates team members to accomplish group goals.

ECQ 3: Results Driven

Definition: This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.


Accountability: Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results. Determines objectives, sets priorities, and delegates work. Accepts responsibility for mistakes. Complies with established control systems and rules.

Customer Service: Anticipates and meets the needs of both internal and external customers. Delivers high-quality products and services; is committed to continuous improvement.

Decisiveness: Makes well-informed, effective and timely decisions, even when data are limited or solutions produce unpleasant consequences; perceives the impact and implications of decisions.

Entrepreneurship: Positions the organization for future success by identifying new opportunities; builds the organization by developing or improving products or services. Takes calculated risks to accomplish organizational objectives.

Problem Solving: Identifies and analyzes problems; weighs relevance and accuracy of information; generates and evaluates alternative solutions; makes recommendations.

Technical Credibility: Understands and appropriately applies principles, procedures, requirements, regulations and policies related to specialized expertise.

ECQ 4: Business Acumen

Definition: This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.


Financial Management: Understands the organization's financial processes. Prepares, justifies, and administers the program budget. Oversees procurement and contracting to achieve desired results. Monitors expenditures and uses cost-benefit thinking to set priorities.

Human Capital Management: Builds and manages workforce based on organizational goals, budget considerations, and staffing needs. Ensures that employees are appropriately recruited, selected, appraised, and rewarded; takes action to address performance problems. Manages a multi-sector workforce and a variety of work situations.

Technology Management: Keeps up-to-date on technological developments. Makes effective use of technology to achieve results. Ensures access to and security of technology systems.

ECQ 5: Building Coalitions

Definition: This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.


Partnering: Develops networks and builds alliances; collaborates across boundaries to build strategic relationships and achieve common goals.

Political Savvy: Identifies the internal and external politics that impact the work of the organization. Perceives organizational and political reality and acts accordingly.

Influencing/Negotiating: Persuades others; builds consensus through give and take; gains cooperation from others to obtain information and accomplish goals.

Robin Schlinger, a Certified Federal Resume Writer, specializes in writing Federal resume packages for all levels, from entry to SES. Her expertise is adding value, based on over 20 years in senior level engineering andbusiness positions for Fortune 500 companies. Robin holds a BS in ChemicalEngineering from MIT. Request Robin for your Federal product by keying her last name only, no caps (schlinger) in the 'request your editor' field of the ResumeEdge.com online form. http://www.resumeedge.com/services/federal-resume/index.php?nav=se.fed