The End of KSAs?

Federal hiring reform appears to be one of the key goals of the Office of Personnel Management this year under its new leadership, Director John Berry. Promoting the use of resumes instead of knowledge, skills, and abilities essays (generally considered “cumbersome” by federal job seekers) is just one of the anticipated reforms in question. The Obama administration will propose eliminating KSA statements in the first round of the job applications process, though some agencies could solicit such essays from a smaller group of applicants once finalists have been identified, according to an article by Elizabeth Newell and Alyssa Rosenberg recently posted on

KSA statements are commonly found in the 2nd portion of some federal job applications. While your federal military resume outlines your work experience and skills as they relate to the targeted position, KSAs provide narrative examples that demonstrate your performance. Think of KSAs as a pre-interview. KSAs are typically “rated or ranked” using a numerical scoring system. The highest scoring applicants’ federal resumes are forwarded to the hiring manager.

According to Newell and Rosenberg, the “rule of three” could also disappear. The following is an excerpt from the article on this rule:

“The reforms also will eliminate the “rule of three” procedure, in which agencies select hires from among the three top candidates for a position. Berry has said that rule is still in use only because hiring managers feel comfortable with it. A report by Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government on a hiring reform forum in Washington last October singled out the rule as an example of a regulation that was intended to prevent favoritism but has not been evaluated for effectiveness.”

This is also good news for military job seekers. To read the full article, click here. has been assisting military job seekers with their federal military resumes and federal job search for years. For professional federal military resume writing services and to make the most of your federal job search, please visit