EL1 Selection Criteria and Pitch Writing

EL1 Selection Criteria and Pitch Writing

How to write a successful pitch for Executive Level 1 roles, by the writers with an 85% strike to interview.

By Chris Belbin

Home » Advice » Australian Public Service » EL1 Selection Criteria and Pitch Writing

Navigate to:


The difference between Executive Level 1 (EL1), Executive Level 2 (EL2), and Australian Public Service Band 6 (APS6) employees in the Australian Public Service can be somewhat confusing initially to understand. These three levels of employment have distinct responsibilities and remit, which APS6 reporting to EL1s, who report to EL2s, and so on. Each role is underpinned by the Work Level Standards and the Integrated Leadership System for that level. The Australian Public Service refers to the federal government.

Executive level 1 explained:

An EL1 employee is responsible for leading and managing a team, shaping strategic thinking, achieving results, cultivating productive working relationships, exemplifying personal drive and integrity, and communicating with influence.

These roles are generally assistant director, senior, or principal roles.

They play a key role in providing strategic leadership, achieving government and minister directives, and are expected to have a very high level of knowledge and skills.

When applying for an EL1 role, one is usually required to submit a one-page pitch along with a tailored 2-page resume that explicitly explains, with examples, their capability for the role.

Executive level 2 explained:

An EL2 employee is at an advanced level of management and leadership, who takes on added responsibilities and challenges. They are expected to have greater autonomy and decision-making power.

These roles are generally director, general manager, chief information officer, deputy, and roles that report directly to the most senior in a department.

EL2 positions typically require extensive experience, specialised expertise, and demonstrated leadership abilities. These roles often involve not only managing large teams but also making significant contributions to organisational strategy and engaging with high-level stakeholders, including ministers and other government executives.

Application requirements usually stipulate a one-page pitch and 2-page resume that detail, with examples, capabilities for the role.

APS6 explained:

An Australian Public Service Band 6 (APS6) employee is responsible for leading and managing a team to achieve results, cultivate productive working relationships, exemplify personal drive and integrity, and communicate with influence. They are expected to have a high level of knowledge and skills, and play a key role in implementing the policies and programs of the government. APS6 is below the executive level management and report directly to the EL1s.

These are team leader, senior policy roles, senior project management roles, and are the middle-management roles of the APS.

Application requirements usually outline a detailed CV, and 1-2 page statement addressing the selection criteria.

Understanding the difference in levels:

It is worth noting the differences between APS6 and EL1 to outline where your application may be falling short of the right capability. 

APS6 applications will generally require the demonstrated ability to support projects and initiatives, where an EL1 will be lead the implementation of those initiatives.


  • Understand, support and promote the organisation’s vision, mission, and business objectives. Identify the relationship between organisational goals and operational tasks.

Executive Level 1 (Assistant Director, Managers, Project Leads, Senior Technical Roles)

  • Provide direction to others regarding the purpose and importance of their work. Illustrate the relationship between operational tasks and organisational goals.

The ILS differ between EL1 and EL2. Here are similar examples which fall under Leadership and Accountability in each level. 

Executive Level 1 (Directors, Chief Officers, Department Heads)

  • Provide a significant contribution to innovation and business improvement strategies.

Executive Level 2 (Assistant Director, Managers, Project Leads, Senior Technical Roles)

  • Provide leadership in implementing and promoting a climate of change and continuous improvement.

EL2 roles provide the key conduit between the Senior Executive Service (SES) to operational execution, by leading, shaping and guiding the operational execution of department strategy set at the SES level. 

While EL1s provide key leadership to the higher APS bands; EL2s lead execution of SES decision making. 

While you may not have examples which demonstrate capability at the EL2 level if you have not worked or acted in an EL2 capacity, it is still worth considering the integrated leadership system and thinking about examples which demonstrate EL2 level capabilities if you are making a jump upwards.

Always keep in mind the Integrated Leadership System in the selection of your examples to form your pitch.

The Integrated Leadership System:

The ILS define broad categories with specific capabilities under each.

These are:

  • Shapes strategic thinking

    • Translate strategy into operational
      objectives and encourage others to contribute to the strategic direction of the business unit.
    • Explore new ideas and opportunities from a range of range of sources and navigate emerging developments that impact operations.
  • Achieves results

    • Evaluates performance and identifies
      success factors to build appropriate team skills and ensure continuous
    • Establish clear plans, timeframes and specific activities for projects and responds with
      agility to changes and uncertainty.
    • Ensure delivery of intended results by monitoring progress, seeking feedback from stakeholders to ensure satisfaction, and identifying risks. 

  • Cultivates productive working relationships

    • Build relationships and networks with key people and recognise mutually beneficial outcomes.
    • Guide, mentor, and develop people by establishing clear performance standards, offering praise and recognition, and providing support when required. 
  • Exemplifies personal drive and integrity

    • Adhere to APS Values and Code of Conduct, act with impartiality,
      and operate within the scope of organisational processes and polity.
    • Engage with risk constructively, take accountability for mistakes, and seek guidance when required.
    • Reflect on own performance, seek feedback and act on negative feedback, and embrace challenges and opportunities for self-development. 
  • Communicates with influence

    • Present messaging clearly, translate technical information when necessary, and use the appropriate channels for disseminating information.
    • Listen to others to ensure understanding and adapt to the audience when necessary. 
    • Negotiate effectively, anticipating the position of the
      other party with a strong understanding of the desired objectives. Demonstrate the ability to work towards mutually beneficial solutions.

Structuring the pitch:

Your pitch should follow this structure as a loose guide:

  • Introductory Statement (10-20%)
  • STAR Examples (80%)
  • Conclusion/ Call to Action (5-10%)

Introduction example:

“I am writing to apply for the advertised position of Assistant Director EL1. I am confident that I am well suited to the position, with extensive experience in complex project management and leadership. I possess highly developed skills in resource management, budget management and reporting, and leave an enduring legacy of empowered, effective leaders in all my roles. I have also had experience operating at the ministerial level in my work on the COVID quarantine policy in 2020. I believe in the Department of Government’s mission to improve the lives of Australians.”

Selection criteria/STAR example:

“I have a proven record in strategic planning and project management, including in Agile, PMBOK, and Lean project management. As Director, I developed a five-year strategic plan for Watson Best Pty Ltd (SITUATION). I consulted broadly with partners and professional networks I had developed in my previous role as an electrician. I negotiated with them on subcontract rates and partnership opportunities, which allowed me to develop an initial understanding of my business capability. I then developed a high-level plan which identified opportunities in the market to sell digitisation and automation. I led the development of internal processes around that goal and developed systems and processes using simPRO (a system for end-to-end field service management). Concurrently, I identified and defined target customer segments, and was then able to lead competitive tendering. By building efficient system and strong partnerships, and by defining a clear market, I was able to meet and exceed the goals of the five-year plan (ACTIONS). As a result, the business grew year-on-year. While the growth was faster than anticipated, the agile systems I established could keep pace, and the business was successful and profitable in the short and long term. (RESULT)”

STAR means situation, task, action, and result, and you can see how the story organically flowed using this structure.

This body section should constitute the bulk of your pitch, as this is where you can provide the most value by demonstrating your actions in action.

To select examples, think back to major projects or initiatives you have been involved in. If you can demonstrate a positive outcome or change as a direct result of your contribution, then this is especially valuable.

While each example should be distinct, it is important to write this section with a focus on readability and flow.

Conclusion/call-to-action statement

This purpose of the last paragraph is to reiterate your claim of suitability for the role and include a call to action by indicating that you would like to be contacted for an interview.

“I am confident that my proven achievements in commercial strategy and building effective, cutting-edge business system lend to the challenge of the role.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on the details contained herein for further information or to arrange an interview.”

We hope this helps guide your thinking around the structure and content of your pitch documents.

As always, happy hunting!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.