HIGHLIGHT YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS LIKE A SENIOR EXECUTIVE BY USING THE CCAR MODEL

By Katherine Coffman

You might be asking yourself, “How do I highlight my experiences in my resume on how they impacted my organization’s priorities?” 

As a retired federal service senior executive, my response would be: “Write like an executive.” And how to write like an executive is to showcase how your significant accomplishments contributed to your organization’s priorities. 

“How” you may ask? 

My go-to approach on how to showcase your accomplishments is the Challenge-Context-Action-Result (CCAR) Model. Normally used by job candidates who aspire to serve in the Senior Executive Service, the CCAR can also be used for resumes, interviews, and yes…even application KSA essays (they’re still around!).

When it comes to writing your resume, rather than listing your duties, descriptions of programs you lead, or a summary of your responsibilities, it is more powerful to provide a brief summary of your experience to describe your accomplishments by using the CCAR model:

      • Challenge – Describe a specific goal or problem, and highlight that it is directly related to your organization’s mission.
      • Context – Describe who you worked with (individuals, teams, etc.) and the environment in which you worked to address the challenge.
      • Action – Discuss the specific actions you took to address the challenge.
      • Result – Measures/outcomes that had an impact on the organization. This demonstrates the quality and effectiveness of your skills (leadership).

With this model, you can effectively highlight your experience and contribution to the accomplishment of your organization’s mission.

I’ve provided an example of a CCAR below. This is taken out of the Office of Personnel Management’s “Guide To Senior Executive Service Qualifications (September 2012, Page 18).”

As Director of Policy for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, I manage a $1.2 million budget and play a leadership role in setting manpower levels for all Department offices. These decisions are based on the Department’s 10-year Mission and Values narrative, which follows the New Jersey Secretary of Transportation’s goals. (Context)

As chair of the seven-member Executive Committee, I determine expenditures for the Department’s divisions and programs–an annual budget of $3 billion. We set priorities by monitoring expenditures relative to forecasts for each program and the prior year’s expenditures.

For example, several years ago during a particularly bad winter we made a decision to spend additional money on snow removal and to reduce funding for lower priority maintenance such as spring/summer grass cutting along the highways. (Challenge) Before making this decision, I met with Committee members to review upcoming expenditures and how this budgeting shift would impact various office budgets. (Action) In previous years, the Department had been severely criticized for not responding quickly and appropriately to hazardous road conditions. (Context)

As a result of our decision, we had the fewest weather-related traffic accidents in 12 years, and the Department received very high marks from New Jersey citizens. (Result)

Bottom Line

To showcase how your significant accomplishments contributed to your organization’s priorities, write like an executive by using the CCAR method.

# # #

Please follow us on Twitter @FedCareer and join our Federal Career Connection LinkedIn Group or find us on Meetup at meetup.com/mbc-cnm.

 To get updates on upcoming workshops and career coaching sessions, visit https://federalcareerconnection.com.


About the Author

Katherine (“KC”) Coffman, an International Coach Federation (ICF) certified executive and leadership coach, is passionate about helping new executives grow their leadership skills, strengthen communication skills, improve conflict management skills, and engage and mobilize their workforce. KC is an accomplished executive and leadership coach, and a retired career member of the SES cadre, with 33 years of distinguished public service. To learn more about KC and how she can help you grow as a distinguished senior manager/executive, check out Coffman Consulting, LLC.

Author: Federal Career Connection

A free resource for Americans who want to serve in the federal government, while helping the government recruit individuals who possess high standards of integrity, conduct, and concern for the public interest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s