Nov. 1st was Federal Hiring Reform Day. The Resume Place Certified Federal Resume Writers and clients are celebrating the end of the Long Narrative KSAs as part of the federal application for US government jobs with a Bye Bye KSAs cake!
We are all happy to say goodbye to KSA narratives. Many job applicants were turned off from applying for federal jobs because of the requirement for the long narratives required as part of the application. The most popular KSAs are: Ability to Communicate Orally, Ability to Communicate in Writing, and Ability to Plan and Coordinate. Many applicants have writer’s block and struggle to write about how “they can communicate orally and in writing.” We often hear frustrated jobseekers say to us, “What do they want to hear? Of course I can talk and write.”
Has the Process Changed?
Skeptical hiring reform news was reported in the Washington Post today by Ed O’Keefe in his article Federal Hiring Changes Bring Hope, Skepticism for Application Process. According to the article, the status of Federal Hiring Reform among agencies is summarized as:Â “Officials have backed off the president’s deadline, …cautioning that only some agencies are ready. The departments of Commerce, Defense and Veterans Affairs and NASA are in good shape, but others are working through reforms that could take years to complete, according to the Office of Personnel Management.”
Therefore, only SOME agencies have done away with the long, one-page narratives about the most typical KSAs.
It’s true. Here at The Resume Place, people are wanting to apply for federal positions with a simple resume and cover letter. But in most cases, the simple application isn’t here yet.
The KSA Challenge Lives On
Ed O’Keefe quotes Kathryn Troutman, President of The Resume Place: “Troutman cautioned, however, that all the reforms won’t necessarily make the hiring process easier. And although KSAs have been eliminated in the initial application, agencies may use them later in the process, after the initial screening.”
Is the government just shuffling around the information and giving KSAs a new name? Seems like it, to Resume Place Certified Federal Resume Writers and Consultants. We are currently finding requests in the vacancy announcements for various statements about your skills, including: competencies, narratives, essays, questionnaires, knowledge statements, quality ranking factors, selective placement factors, specialized experience, and accomplishment record examples.
Occupational Questionnaires are still a consistent part of most federal job applications. These questionnaires include multiple-choice, Yes/No questions, and, occasionally, essay questions. We are seeing essays in about 1 in 5 vacancy announcements.
Additionally, Troutman said that some job postings still require KSA statements without separate narratives. “People are very confused on how to put them in, where to put them, and what to do with them,” she said. If an application requests a traditional resume instead of KSAs, she recommends including short versions of accomplishments within the resume that explicitly demonstrate the applicant’s knowledge, skills and abilities.