Going out into the job market can be a frightening prospect, especially if you are trying to branch out in a different direction than the type of work you are used to doing. It can seem as though employers are only interested in those individuals who have experience with certain techniques or who have performed similar types of work previously; with a bit of research, however, you will quickly find that there are a number of opportunities available to you so long as you are able to present the skills necessary to do the job.
Unfortunately, many people sell themselves short when trying to list or describe the skills that they possess. If you can't be confident in your skill set and understand the skills that are transferable into new markets, then you'll have a much harder time convincing a potential employer that you're the right person for the job they're offering. This is where being able to identify your own skills and interests can help you to bridge the gap and show that you are more than qualified for the positions that you seek.
Identifying Your Developed Skills
The first thing that you need to do is start thinking about the different jobs that you've had in the past and the various skills that you've developed over the years. Even fairly menial jobs can pass on a variety of skills, including those skills which are highly sought after in the corporate world such as time and project management and even customer relations. The skills that you have were developed with time and hard work, so don't be quick to discount them. List the various skills that you've developed through work and other activities, making notes of any areas that you are particularly strong in. Managing a household or home business requires skills. If this is you, identify what skills you possess.
Finding Your Natural Talents and Abilities
Some things just come easier to certain people, and being able to identify your natural talents can help you to get ahead when trying to get the job of your dreams. Examine exactly what talents and natural abilities you have, and how long you've known that they just come easily to you; many employers are interested in having people with talent and who can do the work that they offer them without struggling to get it completed. Don't worry that it will sound like you're bragging to mention these talents and abilities… that's what interviews and applications are for, to enable employers to evaluate potential employees and determine which ones will be the best for the job. Having natural talent in certain areas and showing documented proof will help to qualify you as being one of the best.
Following Your Interests
When you begin looking for a job, make sure that you try and find potential employers who fall within some of your areas of interest even if you've never had employment in that area before. Often times employers will ask job candidates during an interview exactly why it is that they want to work for the company they've applied at; being able to say that you're genuinely interested in the work that they do and having enough knowledge about the field to back that statement up will help to show them that you'll likely be a diligent worker and that you won't become bored with the work and go off seeking another job. If you have developed skills or possess natural talents which support that area of interest, that's even more of a mark in your favor since you will not only be interested in the work but will also have at least some of the skills and abilities needed to do it. These are qualities that employers are always looking for, and they can help you to land the job even when you thought that you wouldn't be qualified enough.
Knowledge Skills And Abilities
If you haven't looked for a job recently, particularly in the government field, you may not be familiar with the term KSA. It is an acronym for Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. Federal job applicants are commonly required to complete a narrative statement on specified KSAs in order to be considered for a particular position. Such a statement is used to determine the proficiency of a candidate to perform the duties of a position. Therefore, in order to successfully compete for a position, it is important to understand how to fully explain on your knowledge, skills, and abilities gained through education, experience, and past employment. As with a resume, if you cannot effectively elaborate on why you are the best candidate for the position, applying for the position is a waste of the employer's time as well as yours.
Carefully analyze the position description. There are several key tips to responding to questions on your knowledge, skills, and abilities successfully. The key to writing a solid response concerning your KSAs in regard to a particular factor is to carefully review and consider the job announcement for the position to which you are applying. Along with providing what KSA factors you need to address in a narrative statement, the announcement will give you specific clues about what language to use in your response. When you read the announcement consider what words stated in it are specific or common to the job and the field to which you are applying. Make note of these words and ensure when appropriate in your response that you use these words. Even if a previous employer used a similar, but slightly different word to describe the skill or ability you are addressing, use the word listed in the announcement. You will draw an immediate link between yourself and your capability to perform the job.
Include specific examples. Further, Federal job announcement instructions provide an important strategy to fully and properly responding to KSA factors. They indicate your KSA response should provide “examples and explain how often you used these skills, the complexity of the knowledge you possessed, the level of the people you interacted with, the sensitivity of the issues you handled, etc.” In essence, your response should be made up of several examples from previous experiences that demonstrate you have the requisite knowledge, skill, or ability sought. The examples you provide should be descriptive and quantitative. If your work at a previous employer saved the company time, money, or any other resource, when using this experience as an example to respond to a KSA factor, indicate what and how much of it (time, money, etc…) your work saved. However, even if you don't have quantifiable results to give in your examples, ensure you provide the following four items for each example:
1. Provide a context of the situation. What did it require of you?
2. What about the situation made it difficult to solve or work through?
3. What steps did you take to resolve the issue?
4. What was the outcome of the action you took?
Follow directions completely. There are also several stylistic points to responding to KSA factors in your narrative statement. Each KSA factor should be addressed on a separate piece of paper and should be a half a page to a page in length. Arrange your response so that the most important and key information is at the beginning of your answer. Your submission will likely be scanned so keep this in mind as you lay out the information. Write your response in the first person. Finally, and most importantly, make sure that you carefully proofread your narrative statement prior to submitting it. Often communication is an important skill that is addressed in a narrative statement; therefore, it is vital that your grammar and writing are impeccable.
Even if you aren't applying for a Federal job, it is important to learn about KSAs. If you can identify the key knowledge, skills, and abilities associated with your job or work field, you can think of examples from your education, experience, and past employment that demonstrate your work proficiency. These examples are prime responses to the behavioral based interviewing questions that many corporate employers use today. Therefore, having thought through your key KSAs and your examples to demonstrate them will make interviewing for jobs easier and likely more successful.
Both Cindy Swiantek & Jason Kay are contributors for EditorialToday. The above articles have been edited for relevancy and timeliness. All write-ups, reviews, tips and guides published by EditorialToday.com and its partners or affiliates are for informational purposes only. They should not be used for any legal or any other type of advice. We do not endorse any author, contributor, writer or article posted by our team.
Jason Kay has sinced written about articles on various topics from Home Management, Home Based Business and Cover Letter. Jason Kay recommends you consider having your knowledge, skills, and abilities responses prepared by a professional writing service. KSA Doctor specializes in government job application assistance including. Jason Kay's top article generates over 246000 views. Bookmark Jason Kay to your Favourites.
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