The New SES Application

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Writing the Traditional ECQs and the New Five-Page Senior Executive Service Resume

Roughly 50% of SES executives will qualify to retire within the next three years. Uncle Sam will need strong and motivated executives to take the retirees’ place and lead the government’s civilian workforce. These coveted high-level positions pay up to $179,000 per year. Begin your journey of entering into government leadership with this resourceful book.

“It is apparent to me that they have the experience, and they understand the process. You can rest assured that if anyone knows the process, Kathryn and Diane do.” ~ Bryan Hochstein, Hiring Expert formerly with Monster Government Solutions

Learn All the Nuances of Writing a Leadership Application Package That Will Get You Qualified

The SES job application is complex. This book breaks it down into a step-by-step process based on a popular workshop taught for over 10 years. Plus, the book has updated the SES info to help you navigate hiring reforms currently impacting the Senior Executive Service.

Starting with basics on SES, the book moves on and explains what it takes to qualify, describes the different SES application formats currently in use, provides excellent writing tips to prepare the entire SES application package, and preps you for the interview process using two inspiring success stories with their accompanying winning applications. This is the real deal, as both authors have led the SES writing workshop across the nation and currently write SES applications for executives.

This Book Will Help You:

  • Determine if you are qualified, and if not, what it will take to become qualified.
  • Study the before-and-after samples and understand how these resumes are different.
  • Be briefed on current changes and how they have created three basic types of SES application packages.
  • Get ready to scrutinize the vacancy announcements to determine which package to use.
  • Thoroughly covers the new 5-page SES “super resume” as well as the traditional 10-page SES package with or without a questionnaire.
  • An entire chapter reveals mistakes to avoid based on the missteps of others and the feedback they received from the Qualifications Review Board.
  • Learn how to focus on your accomplishments, rather than on what “your team” did, and why this is essential in the writing process.
  • Kick-start your writing with a proven approach.
  • The SES Application Writing Workshop covers all the requirements for applying for SES and GS-14/15 level positions: the Executive Core Qualification narratives (ECQs), Technical Qualification statements (TQs), Leadership Competencies and keywords for each ECQ, the CCAR writing format, accomplishment examples, 5-page resume, dealing with questionnaires, the executive cover letter, and the structured interview process.
  • Prepare to handle the scored, structured interview process with advice from the experts.

About The Authors

  • Kathryn Troutman is the leading expert in federal resume writing, and a best-selling author with seven current publications on federal career development.
  • Diane Hudson Burns is an expert SES trainer, consultant, writer and career strategist.

Who Should Buy This Book

  • Senior federal managers
  • Federal program and project managers seeking SES careers
  • Military officers considering SES or senior GS positions (GS-14/15) opportunities
  • Private industry executives thinking about SES or senior GS careers
  • Executive human resource specialists
  • Career professionals advising executives in career advancement


“This book provides both the government insider and the outside candidate what he or she needs to know to compete for these difficult-to-land positions. Ms. Troutman knows how to help talented executives compete successfully for SES jobs.” ~ Paul Thompson, Human Resources Management Consultant

“The book provides a clear road map to the SES process. It provides critical insight into the steps that one’s application will take and who the decision makers are along the way.” ~ John Powell

“Great structure, extremely well-written, with concrete examples, highly useful for you, the reader. Indeed, if you are looking for a book that guides and helps you, this is IT.” ~ Dr. M. Newman

Book Reviews from

  • “This is an incredible book for those aspiring to the SES ranks.”
  • “This is a MUST READ for anyone planning to apply for a Federal SES position. “OUTSTANDING BOOK! THE BEST content, for THE BEST professionals from THE BEST federal writer.”
  • “Finally, a well organized, comprehensive, easy-to-decipher book on the SES resume application and interview process.”
  • “FINALLY, a reference book that will not rest on my shelf.”
  • “This is a great book! I am also fortunate to know the coauthor, Diane Burns, personally in that she is my resume writer and career coach.”
  • “During this period of turmoil in the conversion of the USAJobs 3.0 application system, this how to manual bursts on the scene with fresh CURRENT information.” – Steve Gallison, Maryland’s Resume Doctor
  • “The New SES Application is an outstanding SES resume development book.”
  • “I was particularly interested in the Leadership Journey chart.”

Bulk Order Discounts Available On Our Website

Book ordering info

  • Individual book, retail price: $21.95 ea (available on
  • 10 – 49 books: $13.00 ea
  • 50 and up: $10.00 ea

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The New SES Application

1st Edition Info

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Released: Sept. 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-9824190-4-5
  • Size: 8.5″ x 11″ inches

“The SES application package requires a detailed resume which fully articulates ones career history by recounting top-level leadership accomplishments. The application also requires detailed accounts of these accomplishments through mini-writing samples. Applicants will benefit by using a Challenge-Context-Action-Result (CCAR) model to describe their experiences. Finally, the application process includes behavior-based interviews, references, and a background check.Applying for SES positions has become so complicated that an entire industry of SES application consultants has grown. If you seek an SES position, a great reference would be The New SES Application by Kathryn Troutman and Diane Hudson Burns, published in 2011.”

– Ted Daywalt, President

Federal News Radio 1500 AM

Listen to Kathryn Troutman on Federal News Radio discuss “Tips for Jumping into the SES pool”