EL2 Selection Criteria and Pitch Writing
How to build a pitch for Executive Level 2 roles, by the writers with an 85% strike to interview.
By Chris Belbin
Table of Contents
For an EL2 role (Director, Chief Officer, Head of Department), you will generally be required to write a pitch to demonstrate your capability against the APS Integrated Leadership System (ILS). 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.
So, how do we write an application that is sharp, concise, and puts your forward as the best candidate for the role?
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 a chance for you to put your best foot forward, briefly detail your achievements, and outline why you should be considered for the role.
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.
How do you choose examples to use in your application?
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 you application is pitched at the appropriately level, refer to the Work Level Standard for EL2, and the integrated leadership framework.
Integrated Leadership System
The Integrated Leadership System (ILS) EL2 profile
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 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 l in the selection of your examples to form your pitch.
Structuring the Pitch
An EL2 application should follow the following structure:
- Introductory Statement (10%)
- Inner content (85%)
- Call To Action (5%)
Introductory Statement Example
An introductory statement is where you highlight your key selling points, experience, and skills in the context of the position you are applying for.
Here is an example of an introductory paragraph for an EL2 application:
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. One technique is to order your examples in reverse chronological order. This would mean including major achievements from your current role before examples from previous roles. Ideally you want to want to include examples from only the last five years. This technique is effective because it follows a content hierarchy principle where the most relevant and highest-level examples are included first, meaning your audience will see you value as soon as they start reading.
Keep this short, as this is just a conclusory sentence or two to round of the application. You can reiterate your value statement from the introductory paragraph and indicate that you would like to be contacted for an interview.