Writing KSA for Federal Jobs

When you’re writing a Federal resume, you need to understand the information requirements and the guidelines. Writing a Federal resume as well as Air KSA is quite different from a “normal” resume, and you really do need to get all the basics right.


KSAs are required information for Federal jobs. Whether you’re writing KSAs for Federal transportation jobs or KSAs for the CIA, you’ll find guidelines from the agencies. The agency information gives you the basic ground rules for lodging your application. Read this information carefully.

Critical issues for Federal job resumes:

  • You must provide all the required information. This includes a range of documentation and similar information.
  • While much of the information in your Federal resume will naturally be similar to a private sector resume, you must provide that information in the required format, or your application may be rejected.
  • Don’t guess about what’s required  for your KSA information. Get help from the agency HR section if you’re having trouble or don’t understand what information you’re being asked to provide. If you’re not sure about anything, ask.

Writing a Federal resume is easy

Writing a Federal resume is really quite simple. The important issues when you’re writing KSAs are the quality of information you provide and how you write your KSAs.

These are the basics:

  • You must use agency references including job numbers and be sure to refer to the job title. (These references are important for processing.)
  • Your KSAs must show an appropriate level of skills and experience, directly related to the essential requirements of the job. Best practice is to use “narrative” form, giving examples of your skills for each required job skill.
  • Federal job guidelines emphasize that you must provide information which clearly demonstrates your skills. The reader of your KSAs shouldn’t have to guess whether you have the right knowledge, skills, and abilities. When writing your KSAs, make yourself clear.
  • Write a basic draft first. You’ll need to edit your information, and check information quality. Have you left out anything? Do your KSAs look good, or look like you’re writing them at 4AM? Take the time to make sure your application looks professional, and presents well.
  • Don’t write more than you need to write. Simple, straightforward sentences will do the job. You usually only need one paragraph per KSA.
  • Your KSAs need to be specific – Describe KSAs clearly, like: “As a systems analyst for Microsoft, I was required to conduct research of product sales figures for Idaho for the last 10 years.”  Use who, what, why, when and where as basic information and you’ll make your KSA much easier to understand for your readers.
  • When writing about technology skills, describe types of software and hardware, exactly as specified by the job requirements. If you use Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, include them, for example.

Don’t send your application until you’re sure it’s OK

Writing a Federal resume also includes quality controls:

  • Have you provided all the information required? Check.
  • Is the text OK, no errors? Check.
  • Is the application good enough? Are you confident?

When you are, you can submit your application.