EL2 Selection Criteria Pitch and Application Writing
Follow this formula to ideate, construct, and polish perfect application and pitch content.
By Chris Belbin
For an EL2 role (Director, Chief Officer, Head of Department), you will generally be required to write a pitch to demonstrate your capability for the role against the APS Integrated Leadership System (ILS) and in the context and mission for that role.
Application requirements vary depending on the department; by way of example, the Department of Defence generally require a 1000-word statement, while the Department of Home Affairs require a one-page pitch in Arial, 11pt font.
You can expect the EL2 pitches or statements to be anywhere from 400 – 1500 words depending on the department.
There has been a recent shift towards the CV needing to be 2 pages long for most departments.
As government recruitment moves away from traditional selection criteria – where you are asked to respond to each criterion individually – short form cover letters, suitability statements, and pitches are becoming the norm and, regardless of the name, they all serve the same function.
They are in essence recruiters outsourcing their job to you. Your application either demonstrates your capabilities for the role and you gain access to the next phase of the recruitment process.
Or it does not.
Although a pitch differs from traditional selection criteria in terms of form, we still want to use STAR responses as the core structure for the piece. We’ve written extensively about responding to selection criteria and using the STAR method, and you can read some examples here.
Choosing the right examples:
If you download the position description, you will find a section titles either ‘Success Criteria’, ‘Essential Requirements’, ‘Our Ideal Candidate’, or ‘Selection Criteria’. Here you will find a list of bullet points to which your examples should respond. You may not have the scope to provide examples to each one. Ideally your examples will cover more than one criterion. For example, an example of change management may encompass stakeholder management, communication, and leadership skills.
When selecting and writing examples, you should ensure that you are writing to the Executive Level. As an EL2, you are required to undertake work with a high level of complexity and operate under broad direction. You will be directly involved with influencing strategy and high-level decision making.
To ensure your application is pitched at the appropriate level, refer to the Work Level Standard Executive Level (EL) classification, and the Integrated Leadership System.
The Integrated Leadership System:
The ILS define broad categories with specific capabilities under each.
- Shapes strategic thinking
- Inspires a sense of purpose and direction
- Focuses strategically
- Harnesses information and opportunities
- Shows judgment, intelligence and commonsense
- Achieves results
- Builds organisational capability and responsiveness
- Marshals professional expertise
- Steers and implements change and deals with uncertainty
- Ensures closure and delivers on intended results
- Cultivates productive working relationships
- Nurtures internal and external relationships
- Facilitates cooperation and partnerships
- Values individual differences and diversity
- Guides, mentors and develops people
- Exemplifies personal drive and integrity
- Demonstrates public service professionalism and probity
- Engages with risk and shows personal courage
- Commits to action
- Displays resilience
- Demonstrates self awareness and a commitment to personal development
- Communicates with influence
- Communicates clearly
- Listens, understands and adapts to audience
- Negotiates persuasively
The difference between EL2 and EL1:
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.
Structuring the pitch:
An EL2 application should follow the following structure:
- Introductory Statement (10-15%)
- Inner content (80+%)
- Call To Action (5-10%)
EL2 Introductory Statement Example (10-15% of your pitch)
An introductory statement is where you highlight your key selling points, experience, and skills in the context of the position you are applying for. It also outlines the capabilities your pitch is going to focus upon.
Here is an example of an introductory paragraph for an EL2 application:
“I apply for the role of EL 2 – Director – Strategy with Services Australia. I am confident that I am the most suitable candidate for the role, bringing a nuanced understanding of the contemporary needs of Services Australia, having recently successfully developed and launched the Services Australia strategic framework which saw me nominated for an Australia Day award. From April 2020 until the current time, as the Acting Director, Strategy, with the Services Australia People Group, I have led the development of robust and future-proofed plans, defined position descriptions, and led recruitment activities. Presently leading a fluctuating team of between 20 – 30 permanent and non-permanent staff across three divisions, I possess the leadership, change transformation, and subject matter expertise to achieve the strategic aims of the People Group.”
Inner content should be where most of the word limit is focused as this is the most valuable part of the application.
This is where you provide the specific examples to back-up the claims you made in your introductory statement.
How you structure the inner content affects the flow, readability, and coherency of the application. Ideally you want to want to include examples from only the last five years. Application material is usually in a reverse chronological order and written applications are no different, so use your newest examples first, or if a better example is a couple of years old, use that.
Be wary that drawing upon old examples is a red flag to recruiters.
STAR EL2 examples (80% of your pitch):
“I have been successful in delivering the draft strategic framework in a rapid eight-week turnaround. This has also involved the production of accompanying operational plans which are critical documents for ensuring that the strategic framework is supported and embedded accurately. To develop the strategic framework, I gained an in-depth understanding of the Services Australia Five Year Strategy and worked closely with various stakeholders up to the SESB3 level to obtain the right information and data from a range of sources. I worked with other divisions of Services Australia throughout this project and was successful in influencing the buy-in of stakeholders in the project. I overcame resistance from work areas operating in a similar space and used this project to nurture collaboration between work areas with aligned goals and skillsets, which has enabled me to leverage a wider pool of internal talent. I was able to deliver the strategic framework three weeks ahead of schedule, and was commended for my efforts by my SESB1.”
Conclusion/call to action (10% of your pitch)
Keep this short, as this is just a conclusory sentence or two to round off the application.
You can reiterate your value statement from the introductory paragraph and indicate that you would like to be contacted for an interview, which is the call-to-action component of the pitch.
We hope this helps you in your hunt.
As always, get in contact if you would like our assistance, and happy hunting.