Read Writing KSA's--format suggested by Kathryn Troutman, a consultant with TheResumePlace, Inc text version

TSA Federal Application Handbook Part 2 ­ Developing Your KSAs

Although the application process is undergoing change at TSA, KSAs are still required for certain positions. "KSA" is an acronym for Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities - a set of job-related qualification statements designed to help determine if you are a good fit for the job. Some agencies may refer to KSAs using other names, such as Quality Ranking Factors or Supplemental Statements. In some cases you may see statements that refer to job "competencies," which encompass knowledge, skills, and abilities as well as attributes such as leadership potential and initiative. Typically, you will be asked to respond to anywhere from three to six KSAs. Take advantage of the opportunity the KSAs offer you to fully describe the skills you would bring to the job, and provide concrete examples that will set you apart from other applicants. Knowledge statements refer to an organized body of information usually of a factual or procedural nature which makes adequate performance on the job possible. For example, knowledge of policies, programs guidelines and procedures relating to human resources and other administrative areas related to airport security. Skill statements refer to the proficient manual, verbal or mental manipulation of data or things. Skills can be readily measured by a performance test. Examples of proficient manipulation of things are skill in typing or skill in operating a vehicle. Examples of proficient manipulation of data are skill in computation using decimals or skill in editing for transposed numbers. Ability statements refer to the power to perform an observable activity at the present time. This means that abilities have been demonstrated through activities or behaviors that are similar to those required on the job, such as ability to plan and organize work. Developing KSAs is perhaps the most challenging part of preparing a federal application packet. At minimum, it's a time-consuming process that requires patience, persistence, and attention to detail. Following are some generally accepted tips to help you maximize the time you spend developing your KSAs. 1. Read the job announcement carefully, highlighting key words or phrases describing the position responsibilities so you remember to address those points in your KSA responses. 2. Read each KSA carefully and clarify any words, concepts, or statements that may be unclear to you. Pay special attention to whether the statement requires you to describe knowledge, skills or abilities. CDA, 2005 1-866-619-3697 1

3. Review your resumé and create list of specific experiences you've had that address each KSA. Determine the items that best illustrate a link between your experience and each KSA. Two or three strong examples are usually sufficient. 4. Add information relevant to each KSA that may not be included in your resumé ­ such as any specialized training, volunteer work, or hobbies. 5. Link all these different examples explicitly to the KSA statements in a way that demonstrates that you are the best candidate for the job being advertised. 6. Write your KSAs in the first person, and use concrete examples to illustrate your skills. This is your opportunity to more fully explain the skills and responsibilities outlined in your resumé. To be certain, examples are much more descriptive and memorable than merely claiming that you have certain knowledge, skills, or abilities. 7. Focus on any outcomes to which you directly contributed. Be specific. For example, explain results in terms of how much or how many. Point out any positive change or improvements to the organization. 8. Be sure to clearly indicate your level of responsibility, and identify with whom you interacted and how, such as "providing key information to a manager, working with a group of peers, or supervising a team." 9. A well written KSA response is typically between half a page and a page in length, typed, of course. Put each KSA on a separate page. Include name, SS#, and vacancy announcement# on each page. Always use plain language and don't use acronyms! Focus on content, and don't forget to proofread! 10. Review, evaluate, and revise your responses to ensure they are succinct, easy to read, describe relevant experiences, that your responses flow well, and that the answers don't contain any typos or grammatical errors. You can request that a TSA Career Coach review your finished responses. Call Toll Free: 1-866-619-3697; (TTY callers: 1-800-877-8339 and request 1-866-542-9096).

CDA, 2005



FORMAT AND CONTENT TEMPLATE Name SS# Vacancy Announcement #

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities 1. Write out the KSA word for word as stated in the vacancy announcement 2. Compose the KSAs using the following tips: · · Write an introductory paragraph generally stating your qualifications relevant to the KSA Provide 1-3 specific examples that support the claim you make in the introductory statement. One format is the CCAR Approach (Kathryn Troutman, The Resumé Place) o Establish the context (your role or position, the specifics of the situation) o What challenge(s) did you face? o What actions did you take? o What results were achieved (quantify with numbers, if possible)? For knowledge KSAs, tell how you acquired the knowledge (reading, courses, observations, training), how you apply it (1-3 examples), what you do to keep your knowledge current For skill KSAs, show that you can perform some actions proficiently and your performance is measurable (by a test, for example) For ability KSAs, demonstrate your capacity to carry out an activity because you have either done that activity before or a similar activity in another setting For any KSA, identify relevant training or degrees, if applicable List any relevant awards, if applicable Write a statement or quote from a supervisor or coworker that supports your KSA, if applicable

· · · · · ·

3. Conclude the KSA with a summary statement that briefly restates your knowledge, skill, or ability.

CDA, 2005




Source: Ten Steps to a Federal Job by Kathryn Troutman, 2002, The Resumé Place, Inc. Used with permission of author.

Richard E. Camden SS# 567-89-1234 Financial Management Specialist, GS-501-13 Announcement # 97-323-B KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES 1. Knowledge of the concepts, principles and practices associated with loan and debt management and the preparation of auditable financial statements. I have twenty years' experience preparing financial statements, managing long and short term obligations, and debt management both in the private and public sectors. My training as a Certified Public Accountant and as an MBA in Finance has strengthened and enhanced my professional experience as an accountant, budget control officer, chief financial operating officer, controller, and consultant. As the Assistant Controller for Standard Medical Imaging Systems, Inc., a $20 million annual health services corporation; and as the Chief Financial Operating Officer for Capitol Ambulatory Care Center and [the real estate holding partnership] Capitol Ambulatory Care Associates, a $12 million annual healthcare and medical billing services corporation, I prepared the financial statements, documents, reports and notes for both companies. Arthur Anderson, LLC (a big 6 accounting firm) audited my work for Standard Medical Imaging Systems and the corporation passed the audit with an "unqualified opinion" from Arthur Anderson. Crestar Bank external accountants audited Capitol and that company passed the audit with an "unqualified opinion." In my current position at the FCC, I work with the Assistant Chief of the Billings and Collections Branch in the loan and debt management programs for the spectrum auctions. I help to verify and ensure that the Security Agreements for the long term obligations are well prepared, including seeing that proper collections and billings are carried out by tracking auction payments, calculating present and future values of long term licensee obligations and calculating the down payment amounts for new licensees. As assistant controller at Standard Medical, and as chief financial officer at Capitol, I prepared all the loan packages for their short and long term debts. At both businesses, I helped arrange to buy their office buildings ($4 million at Standard Medical, and $3.6 million at Capitol), and by leasing out office space was able to create a positive cash flow at Capitol and completely offset the mortgage payments at Standard Medical.

CDA, 2005



Begin with a general overview of your skill & where it was developed

Required on each page of KSAs

JANE BROWN SS# 123-45-6789 Lead Screener, Announcement # xx-98766

Always write out the KSA, including the number, as stated in the vacancy announcement

4. Skill in working with the public to include resolving conflicts, communicating process and procedures, and enhancing understanding of the TSA mission, vision and values. Throughout my career I have worked in a variety of public settings and can adjust my behavior accordingly. As a screener, prior law enforcement officer, and emergency medical technician, my communication skills have been developed to resolve conflict, defuse emotional situations and to give precise directions to ensure safety. As Acting Lead Screener, I am counted on to detect angry and sometimes hostile passengers. In each situation, my interpersonal communication skills provide me the opportunity to understand passengers' frustration and help them through their travel experience while upholding TSA's mission to protect the nation's transportation systems while ensuring freedom of movement for people and commerce. While at the checkpoint, I make certain that all passengers are treated equally and respectfully. When I conduct a secondary screening, I thoroughly explain the procedure before I begin and continue providing information throughout the screening. My approach is to speak in a clear and respectful tone in order to minimize anxiety and reduce the potential for conflict. On occasion, an individual becomes anxious or upset during the screening process. When this occurs, I stop, explain the procedures again, and ask if they prefer a private screening. By maintaining self-control, listening to the concerns of the passenger, explaining procedures clearly, respectfully and professionally, I avoid or resolve most conflict issues at the Specific checkpoint. example My customer service and communication skills have always been an asset throughout my career and have been noted by supervisors on my performance appraisals in all jobs held. Since I am fluent in sign language, I am frequently called upon to communicate the screening procedure through sign language to unaccompanied deaf passengers. During one extremely busy holiday season, a couple who were deaf was stopped for having a prohibited item in the carryon bag. They were becoming highly agitated as they did not understand the explanation of the screener. Another screener was aware of my skill located me in another area of the airport and asked me to provide assistance. I explained in sign language the options available to the couple. Once they understood, they complied and thanked me for taking the time to explain the rules and procedures to them, and left the checkpoint calm and content. The customer service we provided was truly in keeping with the TSA values of excellence in public service through integrity, innovation, and teamwork In summary, I have continually received accolades from my superiors and the traveling public for my customer service and support of the vision of TSA to continuously set the standard for excellence in transportation security through its people, processes and technologies. I have learned the SOP's and AVO's and have applied them on a daily basis. I readily teach and mentor new hires. I have also continued to enhance my skills through courses I have completed through the On-line Learning Center such as Excellence in Service: Communicating with Your Customers (TSA-CS-COMMCUST-0001), Excellence in Service: Providing Superior Customer Service (TSA-CS-PROVSUP-0001), and Excellence in Service: Working with Upset Customers (TSA-CS-UPSETCUST-0001). Shows initiative, commitment, and desire to develop skills

Describes specific communication skills

PLEASE NOTE: This KSA sample is fictitious and does not represent a real person. Any similarity to a known individual is coincidental.

CDA, 2005




Writing KSA's--format suggested by Kathryn Troutman, a consultant with TheResumePlace, Inc

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