KSA Factors

August 17, 2007 – 10:48 am

KSAs—an acronym for Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities—are a set of questions to help determine if you are a good fit for a job, based on (you guessed it!) your combined set of job-related knowledge, skills, and abilities.Vacancy announcements list the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities an agency wants to see in a candidate. In your application you need to describe in writing how your experiences match the desired KSA factors. KSAs are very important to federal employers—how far you get in the application process will likely be determined by your ability to convincingly address these factors. Be sure to include as much information as you can that responds to each KSA factor, even if that information is already included on your federal resume.Isn’t My Resume Enough?A resume is an important component of the job application process, but addressing the KSAs listed in a federal job opening gives you an extra chance to draw attention to your strengths and expand upon the specific factors the agency is looking for. Don’t exclude anything from your KSA responses just because it is on your resume.Decoding KSAsThink of KSAs as a set of interview questions. This way, you can look at the KSAs as an opportunity to use real-life examples to sell the experiences, education, and activities listed on your resume. Below are examples of real job openings and their associated KSAs from USAJobs, plus a question that an interviewer might ask to get at the same information.Investigative AssistantGS 5/6 Ability to gather facts and communicate findings clearly, both orally and in writing. “Tell me about a project you worked on in school or in a previous job in which you had to write a report and present the findings to an audience.”AccountantGS 5-12 Professional knowledge of accounting methods, principles and procedures in order to evaluate, design, implement and modify systems for adequacy and accuracy of accounting information. “What accounting methods and principles have you learned that will enable you to evaluate or modify accounting systems? Also, can you tell me about any internships or school projects in which you utilized accounting methods and principles, and how you used them?”Park RangerGS 7 Knowledge of recreation site operation and maintenance techniques and ability to apply them to work. “I see you volunteered regularly at the regional nature center during your four years in college, and that you worked as a life guard for a few summers. What did you learn in those experiences and how would you apply it to this job?”MicrobiologistGS 7-9 Knowledge of safety procedures and safe handling of hazardous biological agents. “What experience do you have working in a lab with hazardous biological agents? If somebody in your lab accidentally knocked over a hazardous sample, what procedures would you follow?”Intelligence SpecialistGS-9 Skill at making presentations in front of a group. “Tell me about a time when you had to make a persuasive argument, perhaps for a class project or internship. Tell me about another time when you had to make a presentation for a large audience and the tools and techniques you used.”

  1. 2 Responses to “KSA Factors”

  2. Where can the KSA questions be found and can they be downloaded

    By Kevyn on Jan 3, 2008

  3. KSAs will be found in the job announcement and will often be unique to the position.

    When using USAJobs.com, you can click on the “Qualifications and Evaluation” tab. The KSAs will be listed there.

    Here’s an example of the KSAs for “County Executive Director”, Job Announcement Number: LA080001


    Your rating will be based on an evaluation of your experience, training, awards, performance appraisals and education as it relates to the qualification requirements and on the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) listed. You should provide detailed evidence of your possession of the KSAs in your application as well as in your KSA responses with clear, concise examples that include level of accomplishment, and degree of responsibility. Supplemental KSA statements may not be more than 2 single-spaced pages per KSA. Failure to address any KSA described below will disqualify applicants from receiving further consideration:

    1. Knowledge of Farm Service Agency programs, farm practices, and customs.

    2. Knowledge and skill in managing an office comprised of multiple program responsibilities to ensure the effective accomplishment of the program’s mission.

    3. Ability to plan, work and make decisions independently.

    4. Knowledge and ability to provide leadership and supervision for a diverse group of employees, approve leave requests, evaluate employee performance, evaluate training needs of subordinates and provide employee recognition and supervision.

    5. Ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing in order to prepare reports and correspondence, explain practice standards, agency policies and program rules to staff, partners and clients.

    6. Knowledge of Farm Service Agency’s Civil Rights/EEO and Outreach policies.

    By federal guru on Jan 3, 2008

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