KSAs in the Federal Resume

John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, is planning to eliminate the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) essays during his term in order to make federal applications less cumbersome. http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0310/031610p1.htm

Even so, it is still important to demonstrate in your federal job application that you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform a job. How do I recommend that you do that? Include the KSAs in your federal resume! In fact, vacancy announcements are already listing KSAs in the qualifications section with the note that the KSAs should be included in the text of the resume.

The best way to make your KSAs stand out in the federal resume is to use our recommended Outline Format Resume for USAJOBS and other online builders. The sample federal resume in this article, which is in USAJOBS format, includes the KSAs found in the vacancy announcement.

Recommend Format for KSAs in the Federal Resume

The Outline Format for your federal resume was first developed in 2000 when Department of Defense agencies introduced the Resumix system. The Resumix system is a keyword system and is still the resume format used today by Army, Navy, and Department of Defense agencies. The Outline Format features keywords that could be the search terms used by the human resources specialists and supervisors.

The KSAs can also be highlighted in the Outline Format by carefully selecting KSA keywords as the paragraph headers, then formatting these headers in ALL CAPS so that the information is very clear to the human resources specialist. The sample federal resume below clearly features the KSAs from Duties; Qualifications; and Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities statements listed in the announcement.

Readability is Key to Success for KSAs in the Federal Resume

Federal resumes posted in USAJOBS are read by federal human resources specialists, not a machine or artificial intelligence system. Being able to easily find the KSAs in the federal resume will make it easier to determine that you are Best Qualified for a certain position. Using a limited amount of ALL CAPS in your USAJOBS or builder resume can help HR and the supervisor see your KSAs and specialized experience.

How to Include KSAs or Qualifications in Your Federal Resume

1. Find the KSAs in the announcement in the Qualifications section.
2. Copy them into a Word file.
3. Copy the KSA into your resume.
4. Match your current resume duties and accomplishments to the KSAs.
5. Create the Outline Format, so that the KSAs stand out for the HR specialist.
6. Write a description of your skills in each KSA area and give a short example if you can. It is important to give an example that demonstrates your past performance for each KSA.
7. Write the KSA information within the Work Experience section of your resume.
8. Emphasize the KSA skills within the last 10 years if you can.
9. Emphasize the KSA skills within the most recent one or two positions if you can.
10. Give example for the KSAs if you can. This will improve your chances of being best qualified.

KSAs in the Resume – Sample Outline Format from USAJOBS

The KSAs for this position are the following:
– DATA COLLECTION: Gather, evaluate, and compile variety of data and information to report progress.

4567 Dandelion Way
Washington, DC 20009
Mobile: 202-222-2323
Email: smjacobs@verizon.net

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate
8/2009 – Present
Washington, DC US Grade Level: GS-07
Salary: 52,794 USD Per Year
Hours per week: 40
Management and Program Assistant, 0344

TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT AND PROGRAM SUPPORT to an analytical workforce. As the sole Management Assistant to 10 Analysts, I support higher-level analysts in research and analysis of weapons of mass destruction. Conduct special research projects as assigned or as a team member. Support analysts with administrative tasks and assist in conducting studies concerning research on weapons of mass destruction.

DATA COLLECTION: Gather, evaluate, and compile variety of data and information to report progress. The analysts depend on me to compile and write drafts of final reports to include editing for obvious omissions or errors, as well as compliance with established format. Produce charts and graphics with content provided by analysts and original research.

REPORT PRODUCTION AND DATABASE ADMINISTRATION: I am the quality-control check and proofread reports and other documents for correct information. Coordinate administrative requirements with other Dept. of Homeland Security offices. I maintain the WMD databases, identify trends/patterns, compile reports, and apply data-gathering methods to collect information.

CUSTOMER SERVICES AND OFFICE ADMINISTRATION: I am the primary point of contact for the Directorate Analysts. I also hold primary responsibility for administrative programs and ensure compliance with all procedural requirements.


+ Updated the WMD database with more than 2 months of data collected by the analysts. Created a spreadsheet with the updated information to summarize data collected, as well as news summaries from major news outlets. Received recognition from my supervisor for attention to detail.

+ Developed a spreadsheet to maintain project status of the Analysts’ research, which was posted for easy access and 24×7 viewing. This resulted in less repetition in research and immediate information on available date. (Contact Supervisor: Yes, Supervisor’s Name: Joette Zimmerman, Supervisor’s Phone: 202-222-2222)

*Sample from the Federal Resume Guidebook & CD-ROM, 4th, Edition, Publisher: JIST, Inc.; Author: Kathryn Troutman

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