SES Success Stories

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SES Success Stories

A Senior Finance Manager with GSA is hired as CFO for Large Healthcare Agency ! by Emily Troutman:

Jan 6 – First contact about the 5 page SES Federal Resume

Dear Kathryn – yes I think I need assistance. I have not applied for an SES position since 2002 and have not used the 5 page resume format. I have been working to revise my resume, ECQs and drafting my top 10 list (excellent technique) – I am attaching the draft (very rough) resume and my top 10 list (which I am still working on). I will also add to your website.

March 26 – Getting Interviewed!

Kathryn – I am doing well. I am currently working on my notes for my second interview scheduled for Wednesday with the agency’s deputy. They conducted the panel interview last week and my name was submitted to the deputy for the second round of interviews. I believe there is a third round with the Deputy Sect and CFO if I “pass” my interview with the deputy tomorrow. I have been able to use my resume for an application with another SES position. I will let you know results for all – keep your fingers crossed for the position. Thanks!

May 30 – SUCCESS, HIRED!

Kathryn – I just heard from my agency. I have been offered and accepted the agency CFO position. I begin 16 June. Thank you for all your hard work on my resume. It made the difference! I’m so thrilled – can’t wait to start.

Candidate is Best Qualified, Referred and Interviewed

April 2013

Jobseeker: GS to SES

Strategy / Process: We prepared a full SES package with 10 pages of ECQs and additional TQs; as well as a five-page SES/ECQ resume-based application. Client applied for positions using both types of packages. Client moved to the interview process for a 5-page resume application; and was referred to the hiring official for another agency, using the traditional SES/ECQ application.

“Diane:

Thank you for an outstanding job preparing me for a Senior Executive Service (SES) opportunity as the Executive Director, Corporate Analysis and Evaluation, at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Your ability to transform the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) (that you were also instrumental in developing) into a 5-page SES resume was astounding. The package sailed through five of the seven steps in the VA’s extensive evaluation process. Your expert knowledge of ECQ and Technical Qualification fundamentals ensure easy clearing of the VA’s steps one and two (minimum ECQ and Technical Qualification screening). The quality of the package resulted in my package being rated “best qualified” in step three (Executive Review Board rating and ranking). The initial help you provided in construct of a full set of ECQs was critical to my excelling in step four of the process (structured interview). I specifically want to thank you for sharing your knowledge in my preparation for step five (screening by nominating organization, which included a second interview).

Although I was not selected (I did not have hands-on strategic programming experience), your assistance and preparation were invaluable to my success in making it that far. My hats off to you…thank you for all that you do!” – G.F., Director, Corporate Secretariat, NRO

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

Best Qualified, Referred, Interviewed Twice, Being Referred to QRB

April 2013

Jobseeker: GS to SES

Job Title: Service Director

Strategy / Process: We wrote a full SES and ECQ package with detailed CCAR stories, as well as TQs – for a total package of about 23 pages of resume and essays. Client was well prepared for the interview process, due to the development of the essays for the ECQs. Client also attended the SES/ ECQ writing course to prepare in advance to develop the SES application package.

“Diane: I just wanted to let you know I have had 2 rounds of interviews. The first one was a panel internal to determine how the hiring official recommends (technical and interview). I was selected and referred to the agency’s Board for the second round with four individual interviews. I understand from my manager that I will be recommended for the OPM QRB in the next couple of weeks. I will let you know how that goes. Thanks!!!!” – P.E. Service Director

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

Best Qualified, Referred, Interviewed

April 2013

Jobseeker: GS to SL

Job Title: Acting Manager, Stockpile Division

Strategy / Process: We drafted a comprehensive senior-level resume focusing on specific accomplishments. All writing was done at the executive level for this highly complex and technical resume targeted to one position.

“Hi Diane,

Hope all is well with you. Well I have passed two hurdles, I made the certified list, and got an interview. Thanks for your help.” – J.P.

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

Best Qualified, Referred, Interviewed

April 2013

Jobseeker: GS to SES

Job Title: Chief, Plans and Force Management Division

Strategy / Process: We wrote a full SES and ECQ package (using the Air Force format) with detailed CCAR stories, as well as multi-part Technical Qualifications and Desirable Qualifications. Client was well prepared for the interview process, due to the development of full essays for the ECQs.

“Diane,

I wanted to share with you that I was selected for an interview [for the General Engineer position, DOE]. The interview went well. Thank you so much for your support.” – J.D. Chief, Plans and Force Management Division

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

Former Army Captain with eight years of military and four years of federal experience is Best Qualified, Referred, Interviewed and Hired

April 2013

Jobseeker: GS to SES

Previous Job Title: Director, Operations Division, Office of Management and Administration

Federal Job Target: Deputy Assistant Inspector General

Strategy / Process: We crafted a full SES resume and set of ECQs and TQs in advance of an anticipated position. When the position was posted, we updated / modified the TQs to make a good fit. We focused on the specific qualifications for the position, leveraging the client’s superior credentials.

“Diane,

I just wanted to give you a quick update: I was provisionally selected for the position as Deputy Assistant Inspector General! Thanks for your assistance.”

Follow up:

“Diane,

I just wanted to let you know that my package was certified by OPM last week. I will begin my new SES appointment as of this coming Sunday. Thanks and best wishes.” J.W., Deputy Assistant Inspector General

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

Best Qualified, Referred, and Interviewed (for two positions)

April 2013

Jobseeker: GS to SES

Previous Job Title: Acting Director, J4/8C Acquisition/Finance/Logistics

Job Target: Deputy Chief Operating Officer

Strategy / Process: We wrote a full SES/ECQ application including TQs, as well as a five-page resume based SES application. We also conducted mock interviewing practice using the ECQs in the CCAR format as the basis of preparation. The candidate completed interviews for one agency using the traditional executive/SES application; and has been selected for an interview with another agency using the five-page resume application.

“Diane, Thank you for all your help. I know my documents were challenging. Thanks so much!” – T.G., Acting Director

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

Disapproved ECQs, Rewritten and Approved by OPM – Hired

April 2013

Jobseeker: GS to SES

Previous Job Title: Deputy Counsel

New Job Title: Chief Counsel to the Inspector General

Strategy / Process: We rewrote a set of ECQs that were disapproved by the QRB, due to demonstrating a lack of many of the leadership competencies required of the ECQs. Each essay was thoroughly analyzed and rewritten for the CCAR format and leadership competencies required for each ECQ category.

“Diane,

Thanks so much for all your help with this project! Those write-ups looked great! I got the word yesterday that OPM approved my package. Thanks” – V.G., Chief Counsel to the Inspector General

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

Best Qualified and Interviewed in Round one of Extremely Competitive SES Candidate Development Program with 2,200 initial applicants (Applicants were narrowed to 900 minimally qualified, and 300 were selected for the first round of interviews)

April 2013

Jobseeker: PI and Military (Reserve) to SES Candidate Development Program

Previous Job Title: Operations Manager

Strategy / Process: We wrote a 5-page SES/ECQ resume focused on specific leadership competencies and Technical Qualifications based on categories for the target Candidate Development Program. We also engaged in extensive interview preparation and mock interviews, as the candidate was to complete the first interview while deployed in the field, via a cell phone.

“Diane,

Thank you for everything you have done…it’s been fantastic.” – Note from candidate’s wife, as candidate was in training for deployment.

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

SES TRIFECTA II: THREE MORE SETS OF RP ECQs APPROVED BY OPM, FEBRUARY 2013

Dates: September 2012-February 2013

Jobseeker: Fed to SES

Previous Job Title: GS-15

Federal Job Target: First-ever SES position

Result: Revised ECQs approved by OPM!

Writer/Coach: Lex Levin

In September-December 2012, Lex worked closely with three senior GS-15 Federal employees with the Departments of Transportation and Energy and the US Army Corps of Engineers, all of whom had applied for their first-ever Senior Executive Service (SES) positions, won their agencies’ approval and were selected for the position, but then had their original ECQs turned down by OPM, putting their selection in jeopardy. Lex rewrote all ECQs that had been disapproved by the OPM for every client after meeting in person with each client and taking extensive notes on their career history and achievements. He advised each client on whether or not new examples were needed in the targeted ECQs, and wrote new narratives in the CCAR format in those cases where he and client determined that new examples were needed. Lex and his clients reviewed and revised the redrafted narratives extensively until both were satisfied that each narrative was ready and that it clearly demonstrated the many competencies and qualifications required by OPM for each ECQ. As a result, all three clients had their new Resume Place-rewritten ECQs approved by OPM, and were able to begin their new SES assignments in February 2013.

QRB Rejection to Selection Success Stories

May 2012-December 2012

THIRTYSOMETHING GS-15 LANDS DHS CDP SLOT WITH FIVE-PAGE SES RESUME

Writer/Coach: Lex Levin

Jobseeker: Fed to SES

Previous Job Title: GS-15

Federal Job Target: SES Career Development Program

Result: Accepted into program!

In May 2012, Lex worked closely with a fast-rising GS-15 Federal employee seeking to enter the prestigious and highly competitive SES Career Development Program at the Department of Homeland Security. After meeting the client in person for an extensive note taking session, Lex crafted a strong executive SES resume that concisely conveyed the client’s work history and convincingly demonstrated the client’s extraordinary record of accomplishment and mastery of each ECQ competency, all while meeting the CDP’s stringent application requirements: the resume could not exceed five pages and had to contain all ECQ examples within it. Out of the 2,300 people who applied to the DHS SES CDP in 2012, 37 were chosen (1.6% of all applicants), and Lex’s client was one of them. The client wrote: Thank you very much for your help getting my package together. I look forward to working with you and your team in the future! You guys are a big reason it worked out.

OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2012 SES TRIFECTA: THREE SETS OF ECQs APPROVED BY OPM,

Writer/Coach: Lex Levin

Jobseeker: Fed to SES

Previous Job Title: GS-15

Federal Job Target: First-ever SES position Result:

Revised ECQs approved by OPM! In October-December 2012, Lex worked closely with three senior GS-15 Federal employees with the Departments of State, Defense, and Housing and Urban Development, all of whom had applied for their first-ever Senior Executive Service (SES) positions, won their agencies’ approval and were selected for the position, but then had all or some of their original ECQs turned down by OPM. Lex rewrote all ECQs that had been disapproved by the OPM for every client after meeting in person with each client and taking extensive notes on their career history and achievements. He advised each client on whether or not new examples were needed in the targeted ECQs, and wrote new narratives in the CCAR format from scratch in those cases where he and client determined that new examples in fact were needed. Lex and his clients reviewed and revised the redrafted narratives extensively until both were satisfied that each narrative was ready and clearly demonstrated the many competencies and qualifications required by OPM to be demonstrated in each ECQ. The results were stellar: all three clients had their new ECQs approved by OPM, and started their new SES career! Each client thanked Lex for his proven dedication to their success, his expert knowledge of OPM’s requirements, and his strong writing ability.

T.F., May 2012

Acting Assistant Commissioner Promoted to Permanent

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

T.F. prepared his resume for one posting, submitted, and was selected for an interview, a second interview, and his ECQs were approved through the QRB and he was appointed into the permanent position.

Diane:

I completed a first round interview in Mid December and a second round a week later. I was tentatively offered and accepted the position in February, pending the QRB at OPM. As I have told you before, thank you both for your efforts and also being “easy to work with” during this process. I will assume the new SES position effective Mid-March. Thank you for your assistance through this journey. Many Thanks. – Assistant Commissioner (T.F.)

K.W., May 2012

US POSTAL EMPLOYEE LANDS SES POSITION

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

K.W. applied for five positions and qualified, interviewed for, and was selected for the Director of External Affairs position. We drafted a five-page SES application- based resume; and a set of traditional ECQs and an executive resume. We focused each application based on the Executive Core Qualification Statements and the Technical Qualifications. K.W. competed against 60 other applicants and four were interviewed.

Diane,

I wanted to let you know at I did get the job at the Thrift Savings Plan. I applied last July – you helped me with my resume and I’m very grateful. OPM approved my ECQs and I start in February.

I want to thank you for your help in updating and improving my SES resume and helping me to craft the ECQs. I firmly believe that your help in developing a clear and forceful resume was a big part of my landing this SES position.

I have shared your contact information with my former colleagues, as I really believe your help made an enormous difference, and I believe my colleagues will be well served to work with you in the future.

Thanks again. – Director of External Affairs, K.W.

R.P., May 2012

MILITARY OFFICER AND PRIVATE TO FEDERAL LANDS FOUR SENIOR LEVEL INTERVIEWS

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

R.P. applied for numerous positions across the federal government in senior level operations and administrative management. We modified his resume to meet the requirements for specific senior level positions. Overall, we crafted the traditional SES and ECQ resume package and the five-page SES resume-based application. We engaged in mock interview coaching, via phone and Skype.

Diane,

Thank you for your service. You are excellent to work with, very detailed, and provide the personal touch to developing my resume and message. You have gone above and beyond what I expected. Until I started with you, I had received no interviews. After working with you, I have received four interviews, three at the Senior Executive Service level of government. You have far exceeded my expectations in the service provided and truly feel the cost is well worth the assistance I am receiving. If I hear of anyone else thinking of retiring, I will again recommend you and the service provided by The Resume Place. – Colonel, Army Reserve; Operations Manager/Industry – R.P.

R. B., January 2012

REAR ADMIRAL HIRED AS CEO FOR NAVY COMMAND

Writer/Coach: Lex Levin

R. B. was a senior US Navy officer and a first-ever applicant for an SES position. Lex Levin worked closely with him to develop and write his SES resume, Executive Core Qualifications, Technical Qualifications, and Cover Letter in support of his application to this highly technical, demanding senior US Navy position. We successfully demonstrated in detail client’s record of progressive, successful executive and managerial leadership and his mastery of the nine qualifying factors required for this position. R. B. was referred, interviewed, and hired for the job!

M.C., November 2011

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

“I’d like to thank Diane Hudson Burns for her assistance in helping develop my five page SES resume. This is a new approach in SES applications and capturing the key qualifications and competencies in sufficient detail is challenging in only five pages. Diane’s approach with providing preparation material to develop “stories” in the CCAR format (Challenge Context Action and Result) made the exercise challenging and fun.

As a result of Diane’s support, my application qualified me for an interview, and by utilizing the CCAR format, I was prepared to present my competencies for the position in the manner the panel was looking for to score my responses, potentially better positioning me above others applicants who did not have the benefit of that approach.

Diane is professional, flexible and understands the SES hiring process is great detail. I would recommend Diane to anyone needing professional services in career coaching or related services.”

L.B., October 2011

Writer/Coach: Lex Levin, Pam Sikora & Rod Jussim

This client is trying to move from the private sector into an SES position. The client’s most recent occupation has been managing the U.S.-Flagged division of a major international shipping company. The writers/coaches (Rod Jussim, Lex Levin, and Pamela Sikora) extensively interviewed the client and examined numerous professional documents. He wrote a 5-page resume, entirely addressing career accomplishments from the perspective of the 5 ECQ and 2 TQ questions. The resume demonstrated the client’s leadership and accomplishments in vastly improving the efficiency of a large company, managing a very sophisticated worldwide shipping operation and his vast technical knowledge of Cargo Preference laws, which govern the shipping industry. The client was Referred, found Best Qualified, was Interviewed, and is awaiting his results.

B.H., July 2011

“Back in late June, OPM advertised an SES position for the Assistant Director, Integrated Hiring Solutions.

It opened June 28th and closed on July 11th. It was the perfect role for me and I had to apply. Only one problem; I needed an SES federal resume that addressed 5 Executive Core Qualifications: Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen, and Building Coalitions.

If you look at my LinkedIn profile, you’ll notice a bunch of bullet points in the rough form of a resume. Nothing special and certainly not awe inspiring for an SES position within the federal government. Ironically, when I created QuickHire, my vision was to rid the world of resumes. More or less, I failed.

Fortunate for me (and the reason I don’t burn bridges, ha ha), I knew someone who’s business is built around federal resumes and the SES format is their specialty.

So I made a call to Kathryn Troutman, founder of The Resume Place (www.resume-place.com). I’ve known Kathryn for over a decade. While we hunted for business in the same sector we never competed against one another.

The Resume Place has been in operation for almost 40 years and now has over 20 employees most of which are resume writers. Starting out, The Resume Place helped law students write their resumes for Corporate America. Soon after inception, The Resume Place began helping people fill out the KSA’s for the SF 171. Over the years, Kathryn & Associates have written several books on the federal hiring process, created numerous training classes for applicants, Hiring managers and HR alike.

Kathryn’s first book “The Federal Resume Guidebook” is now in its 5th edition (I have a signed copy). Kathryn has written 6 books (20 editions) on federal hiring cover military, students, etc. The most surprising thing to me is that The Resume Place has reinvented the federal resume format several times. It’s like an ever evolving science and it works! Kathryn was excited about the OPM vacancy announcement too and matched me up with Diane Hudson Burns. Kathryn and Diane had just completed a new book and training course on SES Hiring, so the timing couldn’t have been better.

While we never met face to face, Diane, who lives in Idaho was excellent at guiding me through the process of developing an federal SES resume. She is organized, experienced, knows federal hiring and is easy to work with. She started with the requirements of the position and why I felt it was for me.

She interviewed me at least 4 times and numerous emails eliciting my work experience and anecdotes. She had a process and guided me through it. In the end we had to cut out some really good material to meet the 5 page limit. The best part was that working with Diane was like going down memory lane. I have accomplished a lot in my career and it was good to document.”

H.S., June 2011

Writer/Coach: Lex Levin, Pam Sikora & Rod Jussim

This client is currently employed in the Federal Contracts Management field, following a 25 year career in the Air Force. After working with The Reume Place team, she was found Best Qualified, Referred To, and Interviewed for a Senior Executive Service level position. Our writing and coaching team extensively interviewed the client and examined her numerous professional documents. We then wrote 5 ECQ essays detailing how the client exhibited outstanding leadership, tremendous business acumen, exquisite technical skills, and a rare sense of diplomatic insight. The client’s most memorable accomplishment involved her successful partnering with military leaders from other countries during a high-profile multinational military operation.

This SES project was handled as a team effort. Rod Jussim wrote and copy-edited all of the ECQ essays. Lex Levin proofread for content, confirming that all specific SES topics were addressed. Pamela Sikora then proofread for grammar, punctuation, and typos. This effort set a model for teamwork that The Resume Place is now implementing for all Senior Executive Service projects.

V.M., June 2011

Writer/Coach: Diane Hudson Burns

“Diane,

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your dedicated support. You helped me transform my ECQ’s into a superb package. As a result, I got three SES interviews with three different agencies and received two job offers! You helped me attain a personal goal. I have been dreaming of obtaining an SES position for 25 years. Thank you again for your professionalism, superb expertise, guidance, and perseverance. I could not have done it without you. You are wonderful.

S.R., February 2011

Writer/Coach: Lex Levin

Lex,

I wanted to let you know the results of my second QRB pass. They were approved with the comment that it was one of the best packages OPM had seen in a long while! Thanks for all your help and kudos to Resume Place.

T.A., January 2010

Ms. Troutman:

A couple of years ago, I retained your group to help prepare and/or tweak my Resume, my ECQs, and my Technical Qualifications (TQs) for governmental executive positions. At that time, I worked as Senior Attorney, GS 15 equivalent for a Federal Agency. It was my pleasure and privilege to work with Mike Ottensmeyer on that and another occasion.

Some time later, you used my resume in your publication regarding successful resumes. Last month, I was selected to become the Regional Counsel for a Federal Agency, GS-17 Equivalent.

Without the help, sage advice, and diligent recommendations from Mike and your organization, it is safe to say that I would not have been successful in my efforts to earn this recent promotion. I appreciate your business focus.

Thank you!

H.W, October 2009

Nancy,

I just wanted to let you know that I have an interview for the job you helped me prep my application for tomorrow afternoon. They told me that they had an overwhelming amount of applicants and have selected the top nine for an interview. So thanks to your hard work, I was very competitive. They sent me the job description which is quite similar to my current PD.

Thank you very much for your help. Getting called for an interview on my first try at applying for other SES positions is most encouraging and more than I expected.

P.M., September 2008

Just thought you should know, I closed the deal today with NASA. Long journey, but worth it. Could not have done it without your help. Thanks a million.

K.N., August 2008

[My husband] Vaughn was placed in an SES role for the EPA and now works in downtown DC during the week. Vaughn came from private industry. This is a huge success story…I’ve been in the government (DoD) for almost 20 yrs and this is almost unheard of … very impressive! I’ve told several people about what you did and most people don’t realize that there is a business that actually does this sort of thing.

P.B., May 2008

I wanted to thank you again for your great help in editing my ECQs. Your expertise and experience with OPM were invaluable in working out the changes necessary to pass the QRB! I’m writing to let you know that I finally passed – thanks to you! Great job! Thank you again for all your help!

K.G., May 2008

I wanted to thank you again for your great help with my SES application materials! You did a great job in expressing my leadership under difficult circumstances – so much of what I do can’t be expressed in a public forum! I am writing to tell you that I was given a tentative job offer today for the position for which I was applying. I accepted and now I suppose I start down the next path of this journey. Thank you again for all your help!

C.L., December 2008

[I am sending you] the announcement by Grant Nakayama, Assistant Administrator, EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, regarding my appointment as the new permanent director of the Office of Environmental Justice. The announcement was made on December 21. The OPM Board reviewed and approved my package several days prior. Thanks again for your assistance in helping me get my package into shape for this challenge.

S.M., December 2007

Just wanted to let you know that I just heard that I got selected to be interviewed for the SES Candidate Development Program. Interviews are next week. Thanks again for all of your hard work.

D.B., November 2007

Overall the experience was expensive, but necessary. I did feel a bit rushed at the end as we finalized the application and critique of the ECQs. However, I was confident in my package and I know that I gave it my best. You guys pushed me to get it done and provided guidance and assistance that got me there. Bottom Line: Would I work with you again? Yes!

Charlie, November 2007

Just a quick note to let you know that I was approved for an SES position last month – in no small measure to all the assistance I received from you! As you may recall I contacted you toward the end of April to ask for your assistance in reviewing/critiquing my resume and SES application (ECQs). Unfortunately – for you – I needed a quick turn-around since the job announcement was closing on May 3rd. You could not have been more accommodating. You responded to my initial inquiry the same day and I believe we spoke almost every day for the following week until I was comfortable with my package – including the weekend! You are extremely knowledgeable and experienced in this field, and you provide such excellent service that I will certainly recommend Resume Place to anyone looking for expert, timely, and professional attention in this area. I want to thank you for helping me “make it to the top”. I could not have done it without you.

S.M., July 2007

I wanted to let you know that I was selected for the HHS SES candidate development program. Only 13 people were selected from a pool of about 140. Thanks so much for all of the wonderful work you did that got me to this point. I could not have gotten this far without you. You can add me to your list of success stories.