The KSA, an acronym for Knowledge “ Skills “ Abilities, is a close cousin of the resume used primarily in government hiring and is another aspect of career-marketing communication in which storytelling can play a positive role. It’s common to be asked to complete a KSA document, typically consisting of 3-6 KSAs, for government jobs and sometimes for non-government positions as well. I include KSAs in this chapter rather than in the section about resumes and other career-marketing communication because the process for composing KSAs is very similar to the process described above. These documents provide an opportunity to memorably elaborate on the skills that distinguish you from other candidates, and you can do so with stories. Jay Christensen, co-author of On-the-Job Communications for Business, the Professions, Government, and Industry, encourages his business-communication students to write stories about career experiences that enabled them to achieve the knowledge, skill, or ability they are being asked to describe. With a KSA, you can develop a story, using the story-development frameworks in this chapter, to illustrate the knowledge, skill, or ability the employer requires you to demonstrate. The KSA, Christensen notes, “is the story of some part of the [job-seeker’s] work experience lifestyle.” As with most stories used in job-search communication, KSAs should include results and quantification where possible.
Fopllowing are examples of partial KSA stories (A full KSA statement is about a page to a page and a half for each question asked).
Contracts: I have extensive experience with contracts and expertise in contract interpretation. The Salvation Army selected me to lead multimillion-dollar contract negotiations on corporate-wide benefits between the Salvation Army and healthcare providers. I also specialized in contract law during more than three years as an in-house attorney for SouthComm Communications, Inc., where I reviewed, negotiated, and managed contracts. My contract interpretation skills are highly relevant to a Patent Attorney-Advisor’s work because of their applicability to interpreting and analyzing statutes.
Ability to be organized and perform efficiently and proficiently in a fast-moving production environment under short deadlines: As an in-house attorney at SouthComm Communications, I excelled for more than three years in fast-paced environment in which production against tight deadlines was critical and directly impacted the company’s bottom-line sales and revenues. My job was to execute as many leases and other real-estate agreements as possible while limiting the company’s exposure to risk. Cell sites could not be constructed to offload heavy-traffic areas without an executed lease, so the company depended on my organizational skills, proficiency, and rapid turnaround during contract negotiations. While speed was essential, I also succeeded in striking a balance between achieving business objectives and minimizing the company’s liability.
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