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  • KSA Samples

    What are KSAs – Knowledge, Skill, Ability?

    KSAs, knowledge, skills and abilities are statements related to the unique qualifications and personal attributes necessary for the successful performance of a position. The primary purpose of KSAs is to measure those qualities that will set one candidate apart from the others. Your KSA responses will be used to determine if you are among the “best-qualified” candidate group from among a group of individuals basically qualified for a position. KSAs and other application materials are evaluated by raters who have thorough knowledge of the position to be filled. It is good to have some KSA samples to design the best KSA for that specific job.

    KSAs are often times referred to in a vacancy announcements as:

    Evaluation Factors,Rating Factors,Selective Factors,Quality Ranking Factors, or

    Knowledge, Abilities, skills and Other Characteristics

    Knowledge, skill and ability are defined as:

    Knowledge: an organized body of information, usually of a factual or procedural nature which, if applied, makes adequate performance on the job possible, e.g., knowledge of EEO and personnel laws, regulations….
    Skill: the proficient manual, verbal, or mental manipulation of data or things. Skills are measurable through testing, can be observed, and quantifiable, e.g., skill in counseling, negotiation…..

    Ability: the power or capacity to perform an activity or task at the present time. Abilities are evidenced through activities or behaviors that are similar to those required on the job, e.g., ability to plan and organize work.

    How are KSAs Determined?
    KSAs are determined by a Human Resources Specialist conducting a job analysis of the position description. Each KSA must be:

    • Supported: by the position description
    • Measurable: the reviewer must be able to distinguish the outstanding candidate from an average candidate

    How is a KSA Statement Response Measured?
    A “Crediting/ Rating Plan” is created as a means for measuring each KSA. Point scores are assigned to each category/level:

    • LEVEL 3 – GOOD

    Each scoring level has a description of benchmarks (i.e., experience examples) the applicant will be scored against. As an example, a crediting plan’s benchmark description may contain the following for….

    KSA: Ability to communicate orally in performing clerical work.


    Experience expressing thoughts, ideas, or opinions in a logical sequence….


    Has served as a point of contact for other clerical personnel …..


    Has experience as a receptionist….

    Notice as levels increase, the experience level described also increases.

    Writing Successful KSA Responses
    Although KSA statements are not written as a question, each KSA requires a response. Your response to each KSA tells an employer whether you would be an appropriate candidate for the job. Well-written responses to KSA statements can identify you as a best-qualified candidate, or poorly written or incomplete responses may prevent you from being considered among the best-qualified (BQ) candidates.

    Writing KSA responses is generally a challenge, because most applicants don’t understand how to respond. The following 5 steps will guide you through the KSA response writing process.

    STEP 1. Learn as much about the position as possible.

    KSAs are always related to the duties of the job to which you are submitting an application. Before you begin responding to each KSA, review the vacancy announcement and…..

    1. Read each KSA thoroughly
    2. Read the major duties of the position very carefully
    3. Read the specialized experience description located in the qualifications section of the vacancy announcement
    4. Match described major duties and specialized experience descriptions to KSAs. Come descriptions will apply to more than one KSA.

    STEP 2. Gather information about yourself. Keep in mind the KSAs, position major duties and required specialized experience as you gather the information.

    1. Your employment background.
    2. Your accomplishments (concrete evidence that proves your knowledge, skills, and abilities).
    • Did you resolve a long-standing problem?
    • Did you discover a new and better approach for getting things done?
    • What was solved, created, changed for the better or improved because you were there?
    • Did you take on any extra responsibilities above and beyond your job description?
    • What have your supervisors commended/cited/awarded you for?
    1. All of the training and education you have received.
    2. All training and education you have provided to others.
    3. Special assignments, details, team responsibilities, acting positions.
    4. Any publications, products, or research to which you contributed, whether as part of a team or independently.
    5. Presentations and briefings you have made, whether in-house to key people, to other agencies, or at conferences.
    6. Honors/awards (within the past three years).
    7. Performance awards (they serve as “memory joggers” for your accomplishments)

    STEP 3. Link experience, accomplishments, education, training, honors and awards to each KSA. Some experiences, etc. will apply to more than one KSA.

    STEP 4. Analyze linked experiences. Ask yourself five standard questions as a “checklist” regarding individual tasks you performed.

    1. What action was performed?
    2. Why was the action performed?
    3. For whom was the action performed?
    4. What were the accomplishments?
    5. Did the action produce a significant impact on others or the work environment?

    By asking these questions, you think critically and objectively about the tasks you performed. In addition, it will help remind you to think “only” about tasks directly related to the specific KSA.

    There are times when a particular task performed will apply to more than one KSA. In those situations, you should discuss the same task under different KSAs, but be sure to show the direct relationship of those tasks to each specific KSA.

    When preparing KSA responses, you may write a long list of examples of tasks for each KSA. If responses become too long, identify those tasks which are most critical.

    STEP 5. Time to write your KSA responses.

    Tell about your experiences in a way that clearly shows how they relate to the specific KSA. Give examples that show….

    1. Initiative: You saw a problem and resolved it.
    2. Innovation: You developed a new system; used software for a new purpose.
    3. Leadership: You mentored less experienced employees.
    4. Complexity: You experienced challenging times on the job.
    5. Scope: You were involved in a variety of work that covered many functional areas (e.g., personnel, budget, information technology, etc.
    6. Teamwork: You were part of a team activity whose members possess different skills and abilities, shared a common purpose, and worked together to achieve clearly identifiable goals (remember when showing team activity to identify YOUR role in the team, not the roe of the team.

    Do not assume the relationship is obvious to someone else even though it may be obvious to you. Remember, the rater can not properly credit what you tell them, unless you give specific examples showing how and why your experience relates to the particular KSA.


    1. Edit and proofread
    1. Check for typos
    2. Check for misspellings
    3. Check for discrepancies between your resume and KSA responses
    4. Check for neatness and readability

    Tips for Writing KSAs

    • § Carefully read the vacancy announcement and note the required qualifications, KSAs, and major duties of the position.
    • § Type your application. Make sure it and support information are neat and legible.
    • § Address the KSAs separate from the resume.
    • § Type your name, announcement number and number each page of your documents.
    • § Each KSA response should be no longer than a page and a half page of single-spaced, typewritten pages.
    • § Don’t use words from your position description in writing your KSA responses.
    • § Do not be humble, but do not exaggerate. Include concrete examples, dates, results, by stating specifically what you have done.
    • § Write KSA responses as though the person reviewing them does not know you or the job you do.
    • § Get to the point. Write clearly and concisely; be sure to say what you mean using lots of examples to support your claim of possession of the KSA.
    • § Use the old Journalism technique, Who, What, When, Where, Why and How, this method will help you create a well written product.
    • § Refrain from giving generalized statements, since no assumptions can be made from statements such as, I have thorough knowledge of, or familiarity with, or considerable skill in, these statements cannot be measured.
    • § Use strong action verbs. Direct language is more likely to impress raters than vague, flowery prose.
    • § Express accomplishments in specific terms, number of kinds. An example would be “wrote a monthly column for three weekly newspapers with a combined circulation of 40,000.”
    • § List your actions and results achieved, not the philosophy on how things should be.
    • § Show increases in output or other indicators of progress.
    • § Your response to a particular KSA should stand on its own. Do not refer the rater to other documents in the application package.
    • § Do not ignore a KSA if you do not have the experience. If you lack certain experience, say so, but mention pertinent training or other related experience such as voluntary experience. (i.e., volunteer basketball coach demonstrates the ability to train and coordinate other’s activities).
    • § Don’t assume the reviewer will know what you’ve done based on the titles of positions you have held. Reviewers assume nothing – you must explain.

    Tips for Writing KSAs continued…….

    • § Avoid using acronyms or abbreviations.
    • § Do not use bullets, you could get too brief and not provide sufficient information. On the other hand, do not be wordy or needlessly repetitive.
    • § You may want to have another person review your application package to ensure the materials are complete, easy to read, and concise.
    • § Finally, edit and proofread.
    • § AND REMEMBER – your application materials are the first impression you make and may be the only impression you make!


    • § Using one-size-fits-all KSA responses – responses should target the announcement for which you are submitting an application.
    • § Including responses to KSAs not included in the vacancy announcement – respond only to the KSAs listed in the announcement to which you are submitting an application.
    • § Typos, misspelling, discrepancies – proofread, proofread, proofread! Have someone who knows you do a final proofread.
    • § Referencing an incorrect announcement number – again proofread!
    • § Sloppy, difficult to read application materials – your application is a reflection of your best work.
    • § REMEMBER – Your application materials are the first impression you make!

    Key Words

    A C convened drafted fulfilled investigated operated
    accomplished catalogued converted duplicated G involved ordered
    achieved calculated conveyed E gathered issued originated
    acquired caused conveyed earned generated J organized
    acted centralized convinced edited graded judged outlined
    adapted certified cooperated educated granted justified oversaw
    added chaired coordinated eliminated guided K P
    adjusted changed corrected employed H ————— participated
    administered clarified correlated enabled handled L performed
    advanced classified counseled encouraged helped launched persuaded
    allocated closed created endorsed hired lead pioneered
    allotted collaborated critiqued enforced hosted lectured planned
    allowed collected cultivated engineered I linked prepared
    analyzed combined D enlarged identified located predicted
    anticipated commended dealt enlisted illustrated logged presented
    applied communicated debated ensured implemented M prevented
    appointed compared decided equipped improved maintained priced
    appraised competed defended established incorporated managed printed
    arbitrated completed defended estimated indexed mandated processed
    arranged composed defined evaluated indicated marketed procured
    assessed computed delegated exercised informed measured produced
    assigned conceived delivered experimented influenced mediated programmed
    assisted conceptualized demonstrated explained initiated minimized projected
    assured concluded described F innovated modified promoted
    attained conducted designated facilitated inspected monitored proposed
    audited conferred designed filed installed motivated protected
    authorized confirmed developed financed instructed N provided
    awarded considered devised finished insured negotiated publicized
    B consolidated diagnosed focused integrated notified published
    based constructed directed forecasted interacted nullified purchased
    bought consulted discovered formed interpreted O pursued
    briefed continued disseminated formulated interviewed observed pursued
    budgeted contracted distributed fostered introduced obtained —————–
    built controlled documented founded invested opened —————–
    Q reduced requested screened specified translated W
    qualified redacted required selected staffed transmitted weighed
    quantified referred researched separated T triggered wrote
    questioned regulated resolved serviced tabulated turned X
    R rejected responded set up targeted U ——————-
    ranked released reevaluated settled taught updated Y
    rated reorganized reviewed simplified tested upgraded ——————-
    recognized replaced revised simulated testified utilized Z
    recommended replied rewarded solicited trained V ——————-
    reconciled reported S solved transcribed validated
    recruited represented scheduled sorted transferred volunteered

    One Response to “KSA Samples”

    1. Free tattoo designs Says:
      July 17th, 2010 at 5:50 am

      Good work ! Keep us posting, you are very good writer.


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  • Good work ! Keep us posting, you are very good writer.