KSA (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities)


The term KSA is an abbreviation for knowledge, skills, and abilities appearing on a job posting or the resume of an applicant.  KSA are the attributes an employee, or job hunter, will need to possess to successfully perform the duties of a job.


The abbreviation KSA is often used to describe the qualities an individual needs to be successful in a specific job.  These capabilities can be gained through experience, on-the-job training, or formal education.  KSAs appearing on job postings are one of the criteria hiring managers and recruiters use to select interview candidates.  For this reason, it is important for these terms to appear on the resume of job applicants.

The difference between knowledge, skills and abilities is subtle but important for anyone preparing a resume or completing a job application:

  • Knowledge:  information and facts acquired and retained by an individual through on-the-job experience or formal education.
  • Skills:  the ability of an individual to carry out a task and achieve a successful result, including proficiency in the manipulation of both objects and data.
  • Abilities:  the competence, capacity, or power to complete a specific task or activity.


When writing a response to a KSA, the applicant should first look for keywords describing the roles and responsibilities of the position.  These keywords should then be matched with the experience appearing on a resume.  This information can then be supplemented with examples that demonstrate the applicant meets the requirements in the KSA.  The credibility of responses can also be enhanced by including quantified results.  The example below demonstrates this point:

Achieved annualized savings of $500,000 by using lean six sigma techniques to lower the cycle time associated with the company's monthly financial close.

Related Terms

chronological resume, functional resume, combination resume, cover letter, letter of inquiry, targeted resume, transferable skill