Ask a Coach

Q: When looking at certain job announcements, I've seen them mention "Knowledge, Skills and Abilities" (KSAs). How do I cover these in my application or resume?

A: You're in luck. Earlier this decade, the Federal hiring process was changed considerably. Previously the KSAs used to require writing a document separate from your resume where you covered each KSA individually and listed all of your relevant experience for each KSA. The document was very tedious to compile. With the changes in the hiring process, the agencies now want you to cover these KSAs in your resume. For each job entry where you have experience with a KSA, make sure you cover that information in that job entry. You can be sure that if a KSA is mentioned in the job announcement, the agency needs to see that information in your resume. If you have experience with more than one or even all KSAs in a job entry, cover them all. Show the resume reviewer that you have the experience they're looking for! This is your opportunity to show why you're the best candidate for the position.

Building Skills for Career Advancement

When it comes to building skills helpful for career advancement, depending on the position you hold, the opportunities might be limited. Even so, there are various ways you can take charge of your skill building in able to maximize your chances of success for the next level of your career.

Ask Your Supervisor

First off, don't hesitate to talk to a trusted supervisor to see if there is anything you can do to help out in your work area or office. It seems like such a simple thing, but you'd be surprised how many opportunities might be afforded talking to a superior. Whether it's collecting metrics, assisting with training a new hire, or various administrative work in the office, many times your supervisor would be happy to give you additional opportunities to develop skills you might not be able to during your day-to-day work.

Take Online Classes

If you'd like to build a particular skill, consider taking Online Learning Center (OLC) courses during your spare time. TSA has broken up the OLC Course Offerings into the TSA Core Competencies, which means you can determine which competencies you need or want to improve and take courses that correspond with that skill. You can take these courses on your own time and choose what you want to focus on, which individualizes your learning. Scroll through the Competency Catalog to see all of the available courses.

Get Certified

If you'd like to build certain Professional Certification skills or even earn a particular Professional Certification, you can enroll in courses offered by Skillsoft, an online vendor TSA has teamed up with to provide this coursework. The training ranges from human resources, to project management, to computer/IT skills and more. The coursework is free, although depending on the coursework there might be a fee to take any testing to receive the Certifications.


Another fantastic way to build skills at work, either in conjunction with or in addition to your current work, is to volunteer for or apply for various collateral duties offered by your airport or office. This can be something such as becoming an On The Job Mentor, taking on Assistant Training Instructor duties, joining the Safety Action Team, or any other collateral duties offered though TSA. The benefit of these collateral duties is that you do them at work, so they are truly ways to build skills on the job. You'll receive training for these positions, which will also help you learn new skills.

If you have the time, you can also engage in volunteering outside of work. The beauty of volunteering is that you can choose what interests you or what skills you want to utilize. You'd be surprised how many different skills you can build when volunteering. Additionally, if you volunteer for a program or organization on a regular basis, you can include the experience as work experience in your resume.

There are so many different ways you can build skills you want or need to have for your desired career. Good luck!