Senior Executives

There are a couple of different options for you if you’re looking for a senior executive level job in the Federal Government.

  1. The Senior Executive Service (SES)
  2. Senior executive level jobs outside of the SES

Senior Executive Service (SES)

The Senior Executive Service (SES) consists of executive positions, including managerial, supervisory, and policy positions classified above General Schedule (GS) grade 15 or equivalent positions in most Executive Branch agencies of the Federal Government.

To be qualified for an SES job, you must demonstrate exceptional leadership, managerial and people skills and know how to build partnerships and communicate with customers. Senior Executives in the SES share a broad perspective of government grounded in the Constitution, and make sure federal executive management is responsive to the needs, policies, and goals of the Nation.

Eligibility for the Senior Executive Service (SES)

Anyone is eligible to apply to an SES position (as long as you’re a U.S. citizen or national), but to be qualified, you must meet the five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs).

Executive Core Qualifications

The ECQs help determine if you have the broad executive skills needed to succeed in a variety of SES positions. The ECQs are required for entry to the SES and are used by many departments and agencies in selection, performance management, and leadership development for executive positions. The five ECQs are:

  1. Leading Change
  2. Leading People
  3. Results Driven
  4. Business Acumen
  5. Building Coalitions

Learn more about the executive core qualifications

Applying for a job in the Senior Executive Service

There are two ways you can apply for a Senior Executive Service position:

  1. Apply directly to a federal agency for a specific SES position.
  2. Apply for an SES Candidate Development Program (SESCDP).

An SESCDP identifies and prepares aspiring senior executive leaders. If you graduate from this program and your ECQs are certified by an OPM-administered Qualifications Review Board (QRB) then you’re eligible for (but not guaranteed) career appointment to an SES position without further competition.

Senior executive level jobs outside of the SES

Not all senior executive level jobs are in the SES. Agencies in the competitive or excepted service may have executive level jobs, where you may not have to meet the same qualification requirements as in the SES.

How do I know if a job is a Senior Executive job?

In the job announcement look for the This job is open to section. If you see this icon Senior Executive Service or this icon Senior Executives other, it's a senior executive job.

How do I know if the job is in the SES?

There are two ways to know if a job is in the SES.

  1. The pay scale & grade will begin with an "ES"-which means Executive Service.
  2. The Requirements - Qualifications section will list the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) as a requirement.

Documents you may need

  • OPM Qualifications Review Board certification for SES

    The Qualifications Review Board (QRB) reviews and certifies the executive qualifications of each person applying to a Senior Executive position. You must pass the QRB assessment to be considered for a Senior Executive job.

Upload and submit through USAJOBS

You can upload and save documents to your USAJOBS account. Once uploaded, you can submit these forms with your job application as needed. Sign into USAJOBS or learn how to upload documents.