The Ultimate EU Career Development Book

The-Ultimate-EU-Career-Development-Book-by-Jan-De-SutterWhat is the book for?

Unlocking and developing the potential of staff is a challenge for all organisations, whether private or public sector. It is especially an issue for the EU administration given its relatively slow turnover of permanent officials and the scale and changing nature of the challenges its staff face.

Staff selection for the EU institutions is now focused, in its final stages, on candidates’ “core competencies” – the personal qualities that will long-term be key to their becoming successful officials. This book provides a toolbox for personal development in the areas of those core competencies – the same competencies that have been evaluated at the Assessment Centre.

The book draws on best practice in current public and private sector organisations and then applies it to the specific context of EU institutions and the particular challenges EU staff face.

The aim is to help individuals improve their own performance – and in so doing, improve the effectiveness of the EU institutions they work for.

Who is the book for?

This book is designed to be used by individuals to help their own personal development in the core competencies. It has been written keeping in mind the maxim that “coaching is helping people to learn rather than teaching them”.

The book will, of course, also be relevant to help shape the strategies and improve the understanding of those who have a management, training, human resource or other personnel development role.

  • EPSO candidates who want to improve their general competencies during their preparation time

  • People who have received their EPSO Competency Passport after the Assessment Centre, and realise that they have to improve certain competencies

  • Existing EU staff, who realise that personal development is in the interests of their career progression

  • National officials interested in how the EU is dealing with these matters

  • HR and management staff with a performance development and monitoring role

Many ‘EU staff’ are not permanent officials – and such staff have a vital role to play in the delivery of EU services. The competencies apply just as much to them and this book is very definitely for them too, not just the established permanent officials.

How is the book organised?

The book takes the EPSO competencies as its starting point and is organised around them. There are 10 chapters, as follows:

  1. Introduction

  2. Know yourself to understand others

  3. Analysis and problem solving

  4. Communicating

  5. Delivering Quality and Results

  6. Learning and Development

  7. Prioritising and Organising

  8. Resilience

  9. Working with Others

  10. Leadership

Annexes provide a series of Worksheets for self-assessment (with scoring grids) against each of the competencies, plus information on the Competency Passport, and a draft Personal Development Plan.

The book is designed to be as accessible and easy to read as possible, practical and informal. It includes plenty of useful checklists and other learning aids – and with cartoons to inject an occasional moment of humour. It is designed to encourage, illuminate and inspire rather than to lecture.

Online Toolkit

In addition, a specially created free online toolkit accompanying the book allows users to carry out a self-assessment for their competencies easily online, automatically generating a personal competency passport and priorities for action. You can even, if you wish, get anonymised 360-degree feedback from family, friends and colleagues so you can compare your self-assessment with other people’s evaluation of you!

Using the book and free online toolkit in conjunction provides a complete package for understanding the competencies and your personal strengths and weaknesses, and planning your personal development needs. It can be used for private self-development and as a basis for training and team building.

We invite you to try out the online toolkit first. It is completely free to use and totally anonymous – you can register with a nickname and no identifying details are required.

Do try the toolkit. We are sure this will convince you of the great value the book will have for all EU staff!


Jan De Sutter, the lead author, is a trainer and coach with wide knowledge of the public and private sectors. He has also worked as an EU official and served on EPSO assessment boards, including as a president.

Jan has obtained input from trainers, human resources staff and other managers within and outside the EU to make sure the book deploys the widest and most up-to-date knowledge.

The Ultimate EU Test Book series

The Ultimate EU Test Book is the leading book used by candidates preparing for EPSO selection competitions. Individual books focus on the pre-selection tests (with separate AD and AST editions) and the Assessment Centre. This new book carries the concept forward – it is a tool for those who are now working for the EU and are committed to their own further development.

For more information please check here.

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