KSA: Knowledge, Skills, and Assessments Overview

What does KSA mean?

Almost everyone calls them “KSAs” and while that may be as good a name as any, how you, the candidate, view them can determine your success (or failure) in obtaining that once-in-a lifetime job. Although you may not appreciate the fact while you struggle to present your talents both on paper and in a structured interview, this process does allow you to convince the Selecting Official that you are what he/she has been looking for in a candidate. The process is not complicated. You just need to draw on your past experiences, education and/or training that prove you can do the job-hopefully better than others in the candidate pool.


The objective of this procedure is to provide guidance in assuring that all qualified candidates receive fair and equal consideration for support positions based on merit principles. It is based on the premise that the best predictor of future performance is past performance in similar situations and is designed to ensure that the SEC staffs most qualified candidates available.

Personnel staffing decisions will be based on valid job-related criteria without regard to religious affiliation or nonaffiliation, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or nondisqualifying physical or mental disability, political affiliation, marital status, or reprisal.

Personnel staffing decisions will be based on job-related criteria without personal favoritism.

Completing KSAs

You are asked to identify your major accomplishments as they relate to the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) required for the position for which you are applying. Each KSA requires you to draw on your past experience, education or training that demonstrates that you possess the particular KSA.

You must also provide a detailed response to each KSA. Address each KSA listed separately. Do not combine KSAs and give one answer. The response to each KSA should include a detailed narrative highlighting your past experience, education and/or training which further justifies that you possess the specific requirements for the position.

Please indicate clearly the proper KSA with the appropriate response. Answers should be typed or pasted in the text box. In order to be considered for this position each KSA must be answered.

Definition of Terms

Knowledge: A body of information, usually of a factual or procedural nature, which, when applied, makes acceptable performance on the job possible.

Skills: The proficient manual, verbal or mental manipulation people or objects. A skill can be observed quantified and improved with practice or training.

Abilities: The power to perform an observable activity or behavior that results in an observable product or consequence.

The following is provided to assist you in responding to the KSAs:

Read the general description of the duties and responsibilities, read the list of KSAs. Look for clues to help you draw from your past experiences the best example that matches what is required for the position. For example, if one of the KSAs listed is “Ability to communicate in writing,” look at the duties and responsibilities and determine what the job requires you to write. If you can show specific past experience in writing the kinds of things required for the job, you would have a better chance of receiving a higher score on this particular KSA.

Write specific and detailed descriptions of your work experiences. Include answers to the following:

  • An estimate of when the experience(s) was acquired.
  • A description of the problem(s) you faced or the objectives(s) you were trying to accomplish.
  • A specific statement of what you actually did.
  • A description of the outcome or results of the activity.
  • The name and telephone number of someone who can verify the information you provided. (This does not have to be a supervisor.)



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