How to Write Government Application KSAs (Knowledge, Skill and Ability’s)

Federal government applications evaluated by a human resources specialists. They will review your responses to the User Information, Core Questions, and Vacancy Questions. The job specific questions will relate to the knowledge, skills and abilities required of the position. Many applications are “thrown out” because of a lack of KSAs addressed by the applicant.

IMPORTANT NOTE: ALL federal positions are advertised on DON’T be fooled by “other” websites that promise to advertise federal jobs for a “small cost.” Many of these “other” websites charge applicants to view federal positions and merely re-route the job links, but rest assure that these “other” websites are “pulling” information from to get information about advertised federal positions.

No matter what agency you are applying to, the advertised job will have KSAs or Knowledge, Skills and Abilities. You need to read the entire job announcement. At times, federal agencies require applicants to submit addition information about specific job announcement KSAs. (Go to the PRINT PREVIEW button to view the entire announcement requirements)

Example job announcement KSAs:
• Knowledge of the laws and regulations governing the realty program and the ability to use sound professional judgment to resolve conflicts with other resources.
• Skilled in understanding laws and regulation and analyzing realty programs
• Ability to evaluate and process realty applications and proposals and conduct compliance examinations on authorized actions.

This statement is ALWAYS in federal job announcements:
ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS MUST BE SUPPORTED IN YOUR RESUME. If your answer(s) are not supported in your resume, or you fail to follow the instructions for the question(s), you will have your answer(s) adjusted to reflect what is provided, for failure to follow instructions.

This means if your resume does not “match” the required KSAs within the advertised job announcement, the agency may manually lower your application score. Federal applications are scored from 0 points to 100 points. Your goal is to receive as many points as possible. Human resources specialists review applications with the highest scores first.

Overall, KSAs are important and you will be evaluated based the information submitted to the job announcement. The key to writing government KSAs is to put the EXACT KSAs which are found in the job announcement within your resume or application WORD-FOR-WORD. Then go into detail about how your qualifications meet the KSAs.

Happy Job Hunting,

Interview Questions that Count

Your work experience will be the first items up for “conversation” after the small talk with a selecting official.  They will want to know:  Why are you interested in the job?  This isn’t a trick question, it’s a question the selecting official really wants to know.  Are you looking for a career change?  Are you looking for a new position because you were laid off?  The key to answering this question is to be honest, don’t give your whole life story – but be honest.

Many government agencies like to know that the applicants have done some research on the organization.  So, the next question will likely be:  Why are you interested in working for this organization?  This is an open ended question that can be short and sweet.  You should make some kind of reference to the research you have done on the organization.  For example, if you are interviewing for a Fire Fighter position – you could answer with something to the reference of “I am interested in working for this organization because I agree with the mission statement of saving lives and preserving the wild life.”  Yes, it is cheesy, but if it’s true you should say it.  Again, you need to be as professionally honest as possible.  This will also come into handy with the next question:  What do you know about the company?  You will be able to elaborate on the previous answer you gave about the previous question.

The next question is vitally important:  What do you feel you can contribute to this organization?  This is a question that you MUST answer with YOU in mind for what YOU can contribute to the company.  For many selecting officials this question is a “make or break” factor.  If an applicant starts with what they feel they need from a company instead of what they CAN and WILL contribute to a company, the interview will be cut short.  The key is to stay focused on what YOU can BRING to the COMPANY, not what you want from the company.

There are a series of questions that are often asked in conjunction with each other:  Why did you leave you last job? What would your last employer say about you?  Would your last employer re-hire you?  And Give me an example of a situation where you had to make a decision?  What was the situation?  What was the decision?  And what was the result.  Now, these questions are called “character questions.”  These are designed to “weed out” the real applicants from those whom have not been so honest during the interview.  The best advice I can give is to be honest, have professional examples in mind before the interview and take your time answering the questions.  You can ask the selecting official to re-state the questions, you can write the questions down and you have all the time in the world.  REMEMBER:  YOU are there because they saw something in your resume, phone interview or overall application that they liked.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to email me

Happy Job Hunting,