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The Secret to Good KSA’s

The Secret to Good KSA’s

KSAs, otherwise known as Knowledge, Skills and Abilities, are usually dreaded by every federal applicant. It’s basically a series of qualifying statements that used to require page-long narratives included with a resume for a federal application. While a separate narrative is no longer required, it is still highly recommended that an applicant address the KSA’s in their resume.  These statements are a determining factor in the hiring process. A KSA is usually rated using a point system, from 1 to 10. Because KSA’s are so specific, it is important to take the time to compose the very best response for each and every resume you submit.  While you aren’t required to write a separate narrative, you must address the KSA somewhere in your resume to prevent your application from being disqualified.

It is still best to prepare separate narrative statements explaining that you possess the KSAs listed in the vacancy announcement and providing evidence for that. When composing these statements, it’s best to include specific examples of training, volunteer or paid work accomplishments, etc., which clearly demonstrate your own level of experience. These narratives help the HRO to determine your basic eligibility and whether you are best qualified for the job. They also assist the hiring manager in determining whether you will be contacted for an interview.

Remember, in the Federal government, a full and complete application or resume is to your benefit! Tailor it to each job for which you apply with facts about your relevant education and experience (including volunteer activities), respond to all instructions and information requested, and make sure to mail it to the correct location in accordance with closing date instructions.

A few general rules for KSA’s:

• All answers should be written in first person. You should think of this as telling a story. Using “I” is totally appropriate in this case.
• Every answer should be about half a page.
• Every answer needs to include specific examples that demonstrate your abilities. Try to pick your most sophisticated example. It’s better to list one really significant example instead of many smaller ones.
• Every answer should be able to stand independently without the resume, which means that they need to include relevant education, awards, and experience. You will even need to add the dates of when you performed the role you are describing and the position you held at the time.

The CCAR approach, which stands for Context, Challenge, Action, and Result is often used when writing KSA’s. Using this method helps to be specific and to stay focused on the story you are telling.

Following these guidelines, you will improve your chances of success with your federal application.