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Tips for Writing Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs)


  • Strictly adhere to 1 inch margins, 12pt font and 10 page narrative limit. Number pages
  • Limit summaries to 2 paragraphs (counts towards 10 page narrative limit)
  • Follow CCAR (Challenge-Context-Action-Results) model
  • Spell out and limit the use of Acronyms
  • Describe experience and accomplishments in a clear and organized manner
  • Write in Layman’s terms
  • Avoid using the same example for more than one ECQ
  • Avoid using more than 2 examples per ECQ
  • Avoid vague statements
  • Show measurable results
  • Use personal “I” instead of the third person
  • Proofread. Avoid grammatical errors and typos
  • Find three individuals, preferably objective and knowledgeable individuals, to review your ECQs


  • Use examples or experiences that are older than 10 years
  • Refer reader to other parts of ECQ narrative
  • Include pictures
  • Overuse bolding and underlining
  • Leave readers confused or with questions regarding your responses
  • Make reference to known figures (E.g. Senator Smith)
  • Make disparaging remarks about former superiors
  • Reveal information about your political affiliation or activities
  • Use bureaucratic words and expressions
  • Use statements that describe your personal beliefs, philosophies, or commitment to a social or political cause