Use the KSA to Help You Hone Your Resume
Preparing a KSA is an excercise that will help you write or re-write your resume.
Definitions by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA's)—The attributes required to perform a job and are generally demonstrated through qualifying service, education, or training.
- Knowledge - Is a body of information applied directly to the performance of a function.
- Skill - Is an observable competence to perform a learned psychomotor act.
- Ability - Is competence to perform an observable behavior or a behavior that results in an observable product.
Scoring the KSA
The scoring is based on a scale of from one to 100. Job applicants must score above 70 to be considered for the position.
To Score High
- Answer the KSA question as specifically as possible
- Provide examples from previous employment or training that clearly demonstrate you meet the qualifications
- Always use a Federal Resume in addition to KSA statements
- How to Write a KSA
- Write Knowledge Statements
- refer to an organized body of information
- Use facts or and process descriptions
- Demonstrate your body of information applied directly to the performance of a function.
- Skill Statements
- Use solid examples of you proficiency in doing things or thinking things through and arriving at a successful outcome
- Demonstrate skills measured by performance tests
- Use quantity and quality of your performance by giving examples in numbers, or time
- Give examples your skills in typing or operating a vehicle.
- Provide examples of proficient manipulation of data skills in computation using decimals,
- Give examples of skills in writing, editing.
- Ability Statements
- Demonstrate your power to perform an observable activity at the present time—not in the past, not in the future.
- You must show that your activities are similar to activities or behaviors required on the job—ability to plan and organize work.
- Use abilities not aptitudes. Abilities are different from aptitudes. Aptitudes are only the potential for performing the activity. You can have an aptitude for working on cars, or you have worked on fifty five cars.
Action Words and Power Verbs
It helps to use power verbs. We have compiled 199 of the top verbs used in today's environment. These are cross-referenced across nine major skill categories, plus a special category to use in describing accomplishments:
These power verbs are listed in an Excel spreadsheet which may be a handy reference for you to use when you are writing your KSA or Resume. The power verbs were selected from more than 100 wide-read, business and Federal government publications, written by professionals in government and journalists who write in these specific areas. The power verbs were selected because they had the highest frequency in all of the publications studied.
Download the Power Verbs
Tips for Writing Responses to Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs)
Agencies may assign weights to each KSA to identify which are most important to them. Some will decided that a KSA is Mandatory (M) or Desirable (D), so focus on responding to heavily weighted KSAs or the mandatory ones, but address every one on the list. All KSA must be job-related—don’t explain to the agency that you know how to use Photoshop really well if that skill is not in the job’s position description.
Present the information clearly—content and form are important.
Reviewers don’t just pull information out of your application package and understand immediately the most important points. They will not infer anything—just because you graduated from MIT does not immediately give you the skills to do the job they want you to do. The fact that you may have 25 hours of graduate work doesn’t mean anything except that you did not get your Masters.
- Read the Ardelle Job Order or announcement carefully
- Gather the information you need to begin writing
- Get to the point quickly
- Be specific
- Be precise
- Use lots of examples
- State specifically what you have done—at Ardelle I recruited 254 accounting specialist in 10 months.
- Never use acronyms
- Use Plain English—http://www.plainlanguage.gov
Do not borrow language from the position description—the best approach is to outline the position description, reorganize it to “fit” your experience – strengths at the top. Prepare headers that address the main points of the position description. Tel them what you did, how you did it, how much, for whom. Tell them how much, how often. Tell them why it was important. End with how your efforts succeeded and how they were acknowledged.