How to Write Federal SES Resumes

How to write SES resumes

If you are considering a SES career then you will need to write a SES resume. Resume requirements for federal Senior Executive Service positions vary from agency to agency. The first thing you should do is check the agency being applied to and see what the specific requirements are for that agency. The federal SES resume you write will most likely be in one of two basic formats:

  1. Traditional format – A senior level federal resume with a set of Executive Core Qualification statements written separately. This will usually be from 15 to 25 pages.
  2. Five page Senior Executive Service resume – A five page resume that incorporates examples of how you have shown you possess the ECQ’s. Essentially you are condensing the 15 to 25 pages of the traditional format into 5 pages, which is actually a more difficult task.

There may be other minor differences between agencies so be sure to read the requirements carefully.

What to include in SES resumes

ses resumesThe five page SES resume that agencies are being encouraged to use contains a great deal of information within the five pages. This includes:

  • Employment history, education background and relevant certifications.
  • Examples of how you have displayed you possess the five Executive Core Qualifications which are 1)Leading Change 2)Leading People 3)Results Driven 4)Business Acumen and 5) Building Coalitions/Communications
  • The 28 leadership competencies related to the ECQ’s should be covered without specifically mentioning the ECQ.

Fitting this information into 5 pages in a coherent fashion is a challenge. Some applicants begin by writing their resume in the traditional format first. Once this is accomplished they revise and edit until they have condensed the initial information into the required five pages.


Tips and suggestions for writing SES resumes

The following are some useful suggestions and tips for writing SES resumes

  • Ensure your experiences match the competencies. With the limited space available, don’t waste any by including experiences that don’t cover one of the competencies
  • Quantify experience whenever possible such as number of employees supervised, size of budget managed, amount of time saved and amount of money saved.
  • Spell out acronyms the first time they are used and be careful not to overuse them.
  • Provide specific information and examples related to your accomplishments. Avoid using general statements.
  • Include as many of the competencies as possible. It may not be possible to include all in which case include those most important to the specific position.
  • Don’t include any irrelevant information such as hobbies.
  • Proofread and eliminate spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Have your resume reviewed by somebody, preferably with knowledge of the SES resume.


SES resumes are hard to write. Consider using a professional service with experienced SES resume writers for the best results.

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