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Applying for a career executive assignment (CEA) job

CEAs are state employees in high-level managerial positions. As a CEA, you’ll develop and implement policy and be part of exciting work. The first step is the application process.

We put together this guide to applying for a CEA job at the state. (It’s one way we’re helping great people join the State of California.)

Understanding the job posting

The job posting provides the core information about jobs at ODI.

Job title

The top of a job posting page. The first line reads, "Job Posting: Research Manager" in large, orange text. Below that is "Office of Data and Innovation" followed by the job posting number (JC-339815), the working title of Research Manager, and the classification of C.E.A.. It also includes a salary range, final filing date, and the Apply Now button.

There are two job titles for every role:

  • The Working Title (which usually aligns with private sector jobs)
  • The California State Job Classification title (the official title) 

All CEA positions use the CEA classification. It’s easier to focus on the Working Title.

Salary information

The salary information is also at the top of the job posting. It shows the monthly salary range of the role.

If selected, we’ll offer you the minimum salary in the range. If you’re a current state employee, we’ll offer you the minimum of the range or 5% over your most recent state salary, whichever is higher.

Final filing date

The final filing date is the last day you can apply. We post most of our positions for 10 business days.

We cannot consider applications received after the deadline. Make sure to submit your application package before 11:59 PM Pacific on the final filing date.

Minimum requirements

The Minimum Requirements section of a job posting. It includes the text, "This position does not have a Classification Specification. Requirements and qualifications for this position can be found in this announcement."

CEA positions do not have minimum qualifications.

This is different from civil service positions. You can find information about the desired knowledge, abilities, and skills in the Knowledge and Abilities and Desirable Qualifications sections. 

We encourage you to apply regardless of whether you think you meet 100% of the knowledge, abilities, and skills.

Anyone can apply for a CEA position. You do not need to have current or previous civil service status. We encourage applications from people who want to start working for the state and those who are already working for the state.

All CEA positions have the same Knowledge and Abilities section.

The Knowledge and Abilities section of a CEA job posting. The key sentence is that "Applicants must demonstrate the ability to perform high administrative and policy-influencing functions effectively."

The Desirable Qualifications section provides information about the type of skills and experiences we’re looking for. Here’s an example of desirable qualifications for a Research Manager position.

The Desirable Qualifications section of the Research Manager position. It lists 7 qualifications that will provide the basis for competitively evaluating each candidate.


There is no formal exam for CEA positions like there is for civil service positions. Your entire application package is the exam. Just submit everything in the Required Application Package Documents section.

For example, the exam for the Research Manager position is:

  • A State Employment Application (Form STD 678)
  • Your resume
  • A Statement of Qualifications (SOQ)
The Required Application Package Documents section of a CEA job posting. The required items are a current version of the State Examination/Employment Application STD Form 678, resume, and Statement of Qualifications.

If you submit the required documents, you’re all set.

How to apply

  • Create or sign in to your CalCareers account

    If you don’t already have one, it’s easy to make one

  • Find the job posting you want to apply to

    You can find all ODI jobs by selecting Office of Data and Innovation in the Department filter.

  • Prepare your documents

    Start by reviewing the Knowledge and Abilities and Desirable Qualifications.

    We recommend writing your Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) by first: including the question, then second: writing your response underneath it in a narrative format.

    For each question, include details about:

    • Years of experience
    • Relevant roles
    • Relevant desirable qualifications listed in the job announcement
    • 2-3 examples (unless stated otherwise)

    Your SOQ is 4 pages (unless stated otherwise). Use single spacing and 12-point, Arial font.

  • Select Apply now

    You can find the button in the top right of the job posting.

  • Select Apply for this Job

    You can find the button after a brief paragraph.

  • Complete the application

    If you’ve applied to a state job before, you can use a previous template. Select Use Application Template.

    If this is your first time applying to a state job, select Use Blank Application.

    Be detailed when listing your duties in your current and past positions. This helps the application review panel fully assess your experience and abilities.

    Complete all 4 steps listed on the left side of the page. Fill out all required fields and upload your documents.

  • Submit your application

    When you’re done, select the Save & Review Application button on the bottom right.

    On the next screen, review your application. If everything looks right, scroll down to the Submit Application section. Choose how you want to submit your application.

    • Electronically: check the two application certification boxes. Select the Submit my Application Electronically button. You will receive an Application Receipt.
    • By mail or drop off: follow the instructions.

After you apply

After the application period ends, we’ll review all the applications. We score the applications using a rubric and invite the top-scoring candidates to interview.

It may take 2-3 weeks before you hear if we selected you for an interview.

Interviewing at ODI

If you’re selected for an interview, an ODI Talent team member will contact you. You will schedule your interview using a tool called Breezy. The email address may be a series of numbers and letters. This is OK. Any replies you send are routed to the talent team member coordinating the hiring.

We conduct all our interviews in a virtual setting, such as Zoom. You’ll get a link to join in advance and information about the interview panel members. We will also send you the topics for the questions we will ask to help you prepare for the interview. 

You must sign a confidentiality agreement before the interview. You’ll agree not to discuss the hiring process or share the interview materials with anyone. 

The panel members have to ask all candidates the same questions and in the same order. The panel cannot ask questions outside of these questions. They can ask follow-up questions to help you fully share your experience. 

We usually have two rounds of interviews. We’ll contact you if you’re selected for a second interview.

If you’re selected

Once we’ve selected who we want to hire (let’s assume it’s you), we’ll send your file to CalHR for another review. They may ask for any documents that are still missing.

We’ll check your references. If you’re a current state employee, we’ll conduct an official personnel file review as well.

If CalHR approves, ODI can make you a tentative offer. You’ll need to read and sign a pre-employment acknowledgement form.

We will make the final offer and discuss your start date after you:

  • Accept the tentative offer
  • Submit the pre-employment acknowledgment form

Current state staff

If you’re a current state employee, we will reach out to your supervisor after you accept the final offer. We will discuss your release date from your current job.   

We’re here to help

If you have questions, we’d be happy to talk! Contact the ODI talent team at