FAQ on Core Qualifications

What are Executive Core Qualifications?

Core qualifications are the five different ECQs that the Office of Personnel Management for the United States government requires be met for those attempting to enter the senior executive services. These are, in essence, business people making the switch to public employment, and because of this they need to understand first what are executive core qualifications and second how each individual core qualification not only applies to their experience but why they feel that they have met the standard of accomplishments necessary to hold up under withering scrutiny. Core qualifications include things like being able to lead, being able to make change, being able to build partnerships, and other ideas common within the business world. If you’re wondering what are core qualifications, there are lists available online, but think of it as the basic necessities of succeeding at business.

Why do I Need Core Qualifications?


Chances are you already possess every core qualification necessary, even if you don’t know it. The idea is that you must make these core qualifications evident in your resume and in the interviews you do, which also means that you have to be able to look back at your history of accomplishments and experience and draw each core qualification out from them in order to then verbalize it and write it down. As we said, you may wonder what are executive core qualifications but in all likelihood you possess them, you simply have not framed your experience in the manner required by OPM.

How will a Core Qualification Help Me?

Apart from the obvious help that core qualifications will render to you in your daily work day, they are also a means for OPM to codify requirements for being hired. Just as other branches of the government have tests that must be met or exceeded in order to be considered, understanding what are executive core qualifications and meeting those, too, will get you in the door of the senior executive service.