How Do You Include KSAs in Your Resume?

We suggest that you incorporate your KSAs in your resume’s Additional Information section. You should title each KSA exactly as listed under the “How You Will Be Evaluated” section, followed by a brief sentence or paragraph citing specific work examples that support your qualification. Quantify the information with numbers, dollars, or percentages. Follow the CCAR (Challenge-Context-Action-Result) model in writing your KSA statements, as follows:

  • Challenge: Describe a specific problem or goal.
  • Context: Talk about the individuals and groups with whom you worked, and/or the environment in which you worked, to tackle a particular challenge (e.g., clients, co-workers, Members of Congress, shrinking budget, low morale).
  • Action: Discuss the specific actions you took to address a challenge.
  • Result: Give specific examples of the results of your actions. These accomplishments demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of your leadership skills.

Assessment Questions are Basically Screen-out Factors

Always be truthful when answering the assessment questions requested in each federal application. There will be questions that require responses that range from no experience to Subject Matter Expert (SME) experience. However, if you do not rate yourself as an SME or as possessing the most experience, this could result in your application receiving a response that you are not qualified for the position. Responses to assessment questions should be supported in the body of your federal resume.

KSAs in the Resume

This change in KSA evaluation has resulted in the “KSA-driven resume,” which squarely places responsibility on the shoulders of the resume to support answers given in the online assessment questionnaire. The presence of short “mini” KSA responses is integral to HR staff members’ ability to determine whether candidates meet the basic qualifications of the position, and whether they are found to be Best Qualified. We have named this type of resume the “KSA-driven resume” because mini-KSAs are included in the body of the resume.

Assessment Questions

Most federal vacancy announcement contain an online assessment question section. Therefore, you will probably be required to complete an online self-assessment questionnaire that will ask you to rate yourself from “no experience” to “expert” in any number of multiple-choice KSA-focused questions. Your overall score depends heavily upon your answers and the support for your answers in your resume as evidence of claims made on the assessment questionnaire. By answering any assessment question incorrectly, you and your application will be considered not eligible or not qualified.