federal resume writerFor many federal positions, your resume is not the only criteria used to judge your candidacy. The KSA (knowledge, skills and abilities) narrative questions are what derails the candidacy of many applicants right from the start. 

All too often, federal applicants put little or no effort into addressing KSAs properly, simply repeating information that is already addressed on the resume and thinking it will be enough to get them through, when it actually becomes the proverbial banana peel that they slip on to fall into the graveyard of unsuccessful candidates. 

KSAs vary by job and the questions are never the same (although they can often be similar). The most powerful way to approach the KSA is to tell a story that provides an example of how you have applied the knowledge, skill, or ability to improve a situation (resolve a dispute, reduce operating expenses, build a department, etc.). The strategy recommended by certified resume writers and the federal government is called the “CCAR” technique, which is an acronym for:

  • Challenge
  • Context
  • Action
  • Result

Using this approach, you will be able to paint a picture for your reader that will clearly demonstrate your qualifications by telling a story from the start of the challenge to its resolution.

With the federal government (as with any employer), competition will be such that an “average” job just won’t do. The KSA is the device by which the federal government separates the pretenders from the contenders. Treat it as such.

William Mitchell, CPRW
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