How to Write an Effective KSA Statement

by fred 22. February 2010

Applying to a Government job is completely different than applying for any other type of job. When a Federal job opening is posted, they may ask candidates to submit a narrative statement known as a KSA in addition to a resume.


KSA stands for knowledge, skills, and abilities, and should be written in a personal, yet professional style to showcase your particular knowledge, skills and abilities to the hiring manager. There are 4 basic steps to creating the perfect KSA:


1. Review the Job opening. Be sure to pay attention to any details. Also be certain that you understand the announcement before you begin writing your essays otherwise you will not be able to provide the proper information to the hiring manager.


2. Brainstorm. This is the part where you come up with your abilities related to the announcement. Writing good KSA statements requires that you relate ANY experience that you have that is related to the position you seek. This includes actual work experience, certifications acquired, or skills that you got through non-work related activities. Don’t limit yourself to your experience here; as long as it is relevant, the experience doesn’t have to be work related. For example, if the KSA statement asks for management skills, it doesn’t matter if you were a manager previously or if you simply managed your scout posse. Both experiences are relevant and should be included.


3. Break it down. Now that you found all of your skills, you need to analyze them and reflect on how they were used in your jobs. The types of questions you should ask yourself include: use of job skills, supervision (if there was), team player abilities, complexity of your job, rules you follow, etc ... When answering these questions, you simply need to focus on who, what, where, when, why, and how of they come up with what you need. These answers will eventually become your very own KSA.


4. Writing the KSA. When you finally write your KSA statements, you need to be very clear and clear in your statements. You need to showcase, in your writing, how the skills, abilities, and knowledge you have relate to the vacancy announcement. Do not assume that the person reading your KSA will be able to connect the dots; instead, make the connection for them.


During the KSA review, your response will be graded on content, not style, so as long as you are getting your message across, it it is not important what your style is. KSA responses are generally limited to 2/3 of a page; longer responses will not impress recruiters. Avoid complicated sentences and technical jargon. If someone can’t get what you’re writing, they probably won’t hire you, no matter how good you are.


KSA writing can seem complicated and overwhelming. Especially since you need to create a new KSA for every job you apply to. As long as you take your time and follow these steps, you should have no trouble producing a good KSA answer.

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