Executive Core Qualifications

Yes, I know that writing an executive core qualification (ECQ) sets your nerves on edge. You want and should show your best professional self in your narratives, and the main key to do this in the right way is sketching your most significant accomplishments in a specific yet concise style.

Executive Core Qualifications

What is ECQ?

ECQs are requirements to enter into the Senior Executive Service. They include a level of quality or attainment necessary for constructing corporate culture at the federal level. That consists of teams focused on results, customers, and coalitions in and outside of the organization. Different agencies use them with the purpose of finding out leadership and performance management professionals.

You should think about your executive potential and expert skill or knowledge in a particular field when developing your ECQs, as they are designed to measure more than technical proficiency. Your final performance hardly depends on your competencies in these ECQs, and you must show expertise in all five of them.

ECQ 1:consists of demonstrating creativity, external awareness, flexibility, resilience, strategic thinking.

ECQ 2: consists of demonstrating conflict management and team building.

ECQ 3: consists of customer service, entrepreneurship, problem-solving and technical credibility.

ECQ 4: consists of demonstrating financial, human capital, and technology management.

ECQ 5: consists of demonstrating partnering and negotiating.

What you should do:

  • Strictly adhere to a 10-page narrative limit.
  • Limit summaries to 2 paragraphs.
  • Follow CCAR (Challenge-Context-Action-Results) model.
  • Describe experience and accomplishments in a clear and organized manner.
  • Do not use the same example for more than one ECQ.
  • Do not use more than two examples or templates per ECQ.
  • Do not use vague statements.
  • Use first person instead of the third person.
  • Avoid grammatical errors and typos.
  • Find three or more objective and knowledgeable individuals to review your ECQs.

What you should not do:

  • Include experiences that are older than 5 years.
  • Refer the reader to other parts of the ECQ narrative.
  • Include many pictures.
  • Overuse bolding and underlining font.
  • Leave readers confused or with questions regarding your responses.
  • Make reference to well-known figures.
  • Make disparaging commenter about former superiors.
  • Reveal information about your political affiliation or activities.
  • Use bad words and expressions.

As ResumeGets says, to prepare strong ECQs, you should spend a significant amount of time: firstly, identifying your examples; secondly, writing them; thirdly, reviewing and editing the content you made.

  • Finding of ECQ examples. Before you begin writing your ECQs, you must identify ten or even more examples/stories to use. Your stories should be in line with competencies (leading change, leading people, result-oriented, business acumen, and building coalitions); be from the last 10 years (5 is better if possible), and be at the executive level. Holding meetings, organizing training, implementing someone else's plan are usually not considered executive. Your examples should demonstrate your strategic thinking and, ideally, influence the entire enterprise. When defining your examples, you may find that you have stories that can fit into more than one ECQ. Try to choose the strongest match between ECQ and the fact that ECQ is at the core of competencies (for example, basic competencies for driving change: vision, strategic thinking, external awareness, innovation/creativity, flexibility, and sustainability).

  • Writing: Once you have defined your stories, you must present your stories using the required CCAR model (Challenge-Context-Action-Result). It may even help write out parts of the CCAR model and then outline each part of the CCAR's details.

  • Describe a specific problem.

  • Context. Describe the people and groups you worked with (for example, clients, colleagues, Congress members, budget cuts, low morale).

  • Act. Discuss the specific actions you have taken to solve the problem.

  • Result. Give specific examples of outcomes that have had some impact on the organization. These achievements demonstrate the effectiveness of your leadership skills.

Once you have a plan, you can start writing. Be sure to focus on your unique leadership skills, and remember to include the essential competencies in your essay. Include as many as possible and make sure that you can prove your results, that everything is about you and not about some hero; you need to prove that you are such a type, using metrics before and after.

  • The last part is Reviewing or Editing: do not forget to leave time for this. Your ECQ should take 10 pages. Ask someone who does not understand your work to review your ECQs. Do not forget to check spelling and grammar! And make sure that you have used “I” rather than “we”.
  • Now let's speak about time. How long does all of this take? You should spend 30 to 70 hours or even more. Writing about yourself as a professional, you will open their eyes to your leadership skills and experience, building your confidence. You are applying because you know you have what they need.
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