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Writing MPQ’s & KSA’s. AIM-IRS 39 th ABMTS MILWAUKEE, WI August 2008. AIM-IRS KSA Presentation. Presented By: Kathleen M. Bell Mary Murphy Moderator: Vicky L. Harding. What are KSAs and Why are they Used?. KSA’s are indicators of Knowledge Skill Ability

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writing mpq s ksa s

Writing MPQ’s & KSA’s

AIM-IRS 39th ABMTS

MILWAUKEE, WI

August 2008

aim irs ksa presentation
AIM-IRS KSA Presentation

Presented By:

  • Kathleen M. Bell
  • Mary Murphy

Moderator:

  • Vicky L. Harding
what are ksas and why are they used
What are KSAs and Why are they Used?
  • KSA’s are indicators of
    • Knowledge
    • Skill
    • Ability
  • Seekers of applicants use them to help evaluate potential in the ranking process
  • Rankers of applications use them to help identify the best qualified candidate for the vacant position
ksas knowlege
KSAs – KNOWLEGE
  • Knowledge statements refer to an organized body of information or a procedure applied directly to the performance of a function. Knowledge statements demonstrate “How you know what you know”
ksas skills
KSAs – SKILLS
  • Skills refer to observable competence to perform manual, verbal or mental functions, including manipulation of data or things.
  • Skills can often be measured by performance tests. They include examples that demonstrate “How well you do what you do”
ksas abilities
KSAs – ABILITIES
  • Are competencies to perform an observable behavior, or a behavior that results in an observable product. Ability statements demonstrate “how you do what you do”
ksas other characteristics
KSAs – Other Characteristics…
  • Refer to physical or mental characteristics that do not fall into one of the other categories. For example, “work well in team environments” would be applicable to applying for a detail on a task team or for positions that require team work.
common ksa s required
Common KSA’s Required
  • Decision Making & Problem Solving
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal Skills/Team Building
  • Planning and Organizing
  • Critical Thinking/Analytical Skills
  • Ability to Influence Others
ok now that you know what ksas are what s your next step
OK, now that you know what KSAs are, What’s Your Next Step?
  • Research the job
  • Find out what are the KSA’s for the job
  • Evaluate your strengths
  • Think about how your strengths relate to the KSA’s for the job
research the job
Research the Job…
  • Go to the business unit’s website-learn about the business unit’s mission, goals, structure, etc.
  • Study the position description
  • Talk to People-find out the inter-workings of the office and position
determine the ksas for the job
Determine the KSAs for the Job…
  • Know what the KSAs are for the vacant position
  • Compare the KSAs on the vacancy announcement with the position description
evaluate your strengths
Evaluate Your Strengths…
  • Identify your major accomplishments
    • What is something that you did well
    • What is something that you enjoyed
    • What is something where you solved a problem
    • What is something about which you are proud
  • What skill sets are involved
evaluate your strengths1
Evaluate Your Strengths…
  • Most people possess two types of skills
    • Learned Skills
    • Natural or Intuitive Skills
  • Identify your skill sets
    • Take a look at what you identified as accomplishments
    • List the skills that went into making the accomplishments happen
  • Separate your accomplishments by KSAs (Is it knowledge, a skill or an ability?)
relate your strengths to the job
Relate your Strengths to the Job
  • As you prepare your paperwork for a job, consider that you are selling a product…….YOU
  • The application is a chance to make a sale and must focus on what the customer seeks (the KSAs)
relate your strengths to the ksa s
Relate Your Strengths to the KSA’s
  • Keep it relevant, show how you are the one
  • Keep it concise but not skimpy
  • Keep it organized, state what you mean
  • Keep it full of examples
writing your ksas
Writing Your KSAs

Focus on specific achievements…

  • What was it?
  • What did you do?
  • How did you do it?
  • Who or what benefited from what you did?
  • How were you recognized and rewarded for this accomplishment?
writing your ksas1
Writing Your KSAs
  • Be precise and to the point
  • Give specific examples that relate to the individual KSAs
  • Identify the criteria or standard that was met or exceeded
  • Identify the skills, resources, or guidelines used
  • Address any special problems you solved
writing your ksas2
Writing Your KSAs
  • Use the formatting required by the hiring agency, which is generally included on the vacancy announcement.
  • Restate each KSA exactly as it appears on the announcement
  • Answer each KSA, even if that particular area is not your strong point (not addressing a KSA may lower the score assigned during the ranking process)
writing your ksas3
Writing Your KSAs
  • Personalize your materials – do not use wording directly from the position description.
  • Do not assume the reader’s familiarity with acronyms and technical terms; spell them out the first time you use them.
  • Be consistent in what you list in the KSAs and what is included in your MPQ (Form 9686 and/or OF-612)
  • The KSAs should include more in depth information than the MPQ and/or OF-612, but there should not be inconsistencies between the documents.
writing your ksas4
Writing Your KSAs
  • Limit each narrative statement response to one page. Use 12-point size and font type consistently.
  • Remember to make your writing “reader friendly.” Do not assume that the reader is familiar with acronyms and other organization-specific information.
  • Include your name and the vacancy announcement number on EACH PAGE in the event that the pages are somehow separated.
writing your ksas5
Writing Your KSAs
  • List two or three accomplishment per KSA
  • Where possible, quantify the results
    • State the percentage change in processing time or number of cases completed, decrease in errors in reports, etc.
  • Mention any quality changes that may have resulted from your accomplishments
    • For example, I developed a pre-closure case check sheet for review of the group’s cases that resulted in an increase in our quality for Standard 2 from 60% to 90% met.
writing your ksas6
Writing Your KSAs
  • Be specific in describing your accomplishments (avoid vague statements)
    • Do: As a tax auditor, I conducted numerous examinations of individual tax returns. I determined the audit scope and depth, established the appointment dates, identified the necessary documents to address the issues identified and prepared document requests to taxpayers for the information needed. I utilized the taxpayers’ documents to substantiate items on the returns, and was successful in determining the correct tax liability for the cases assigned. In all examinations completed, I was successful in securing the taxpayers’ agreement in each case I completed.
    • Don’t : I completed examinations of taxpayer returns.
writing your ksas7
Writing Your KSAs
  • Use active verb with the personal pronoun “I” (avoid passive verbs)
    • Do: I developed a concise one-sheet resource document to be used in responding to customer service calls on filing.
    • Don’t : A resource document was developed by me to assist in responding to customer calls on filing.
writing your ksas8
Writing Your KSAs
  • Write in short, complete sentences (subject, verb, proper tense agreement). Economize on words and expressions, but don’t be too cryptic
    • Do: I presented a time management workshop at the Area’s CPE to 50 revenue agents and managers.
    • Don’t : This fiscal year I presented a workshop addressing various aspects of time management at the Northeast Area Continuing Professional Education Training in Brooklyn, New York.
writing your ksas9
Writing Your KSAs

Example of a position and the related KSAs:

POSITION: Support Services Supervisor GS-301-7/9

PROMOTION POTENTIAL: GS-09

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES (KSA’S):

  • Knowledge of administrative processes (e.g., procurement, personnel, records management, travel management, facilities and time and attendance).
  • Ability to guide and lead others.
  • Ability to independently organize, coordinate and prioritize a variety of activities.
  • Knowledge of legal terminology.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing.
writing your ksas10
Writing Your KSAs

Example of a position and the related KSAs:

POSITION: Secretary (OA), GS-318-08

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES (KSA’S):

  • Ability to organize, prioritize and manage the work of the office.
  • Ability to meet required deadlines.
  • Knowledge of grammar, spelling, punctuation and required formats.
  • Ability to effectively communicate verbally and in writing.
reviewing your ksas
Reviewing Your KSAs
  • First, let your assessment sit for a day
  • Review with an eye for proper grammar, correct spelling, complete sentences and logical presentation.
  • Have you used Records of Tax Enforcement Results (ROTER) in your narrative?
reviewing your ksas1
Reviewing Your KSAs
  • Rewrite and rearrange your assessment. Does it say what you want?
  • Ask someone else to read your assessment for clarity and understanding.
  • Review your product again. Make any appropriate revisions based on the other person’s input.
  • You are now ready to submit your application for the job.
writing tips and tools
Writing Tips and Tools
  • Web Sites
    • The ABC’s of KSAs – IRS-Seattle Personnel Office, 10/2001

http://aimdc.web.irs.gov/KSA%20Brochure.doc

    • Tutorial – Writing Self-Assessments

http://shr.web.irs.gov/pers/sa/tutorial/1.htm

    • Tutorial – Skills and Assessments vs. Accomplishments and Contributions

http://shr.web.irs.gov/pers/sa/tutorial/18.htm

why is the mpq so important
WHY IS THE MPQ SO IMPORTANT?
  • The MPQ is a vehicle for moving your career in the right direction.
  • The MPQ provides a reader with information about your skills & abilities
  • The MPQ is your opportunity to describe your accomplishments and how these qualify YOU for the position you are applying for
  • The MPQ allows you to communicate to the ranking official or ranking panel that you are the best person for the job
completing your mpq s
COMPLETING YOUR MPQ’s
  • Strong narratives make the difference. Take the time to really think about what you want to say.
    • What skills do you want to highlight?
    • What characteristics do you possess that make you the ideal person for the job?
  • Your narratives are your chance to sell yourself. Toot your own horn. No one is going to toot it for you!
  • Take credit for your accomplishments; don’t be modest.
completing your mpq s1
COMPLETING YOUR MPQ’s
  • Address each section of the narratives separately and in the proper order.
  • Be specific. Don’t use generalizations.
  • Ask yourself, “WHAT’S MY POINT?” If you don’t have one, don’t put it in! If you do have one, make it clear.
  • Giveexamples that demonstrate your skills and attributes:
    • What did you do? How did you do it?
    • What skill did you use? What were the results?
completing your mpq s2
COMPLETING YOUR MPQ’s
  • Write in the 1st person. Use “I”, but do try to avoid beginning every sentence with “I”.
  • Use strong verbs and action words. For example:

I created...

I suggested...

I identified...

I discovered...

I established...

I documented...

In order to achieve...

As a result...

Allowing...

Enabling...

completing your mpq s3
COMPLETING YOUR MPQ’s
  • Be concise and clear. Remember to keep your point in mind.
  • Be honest. Don’t make something up just to sound good. Be sure your examples support your results.
  • Avoid jargon. Remember the ranking official or panel probably does not know your area or your job.
  • Write for someone who is outside your area. Never assume they know what you mean.
completing your mpq s4
COMPLETING YOUR MPQ’s
  • Think globally. Again avoid using an example that only someone from your area would understand. Try to phrase your example so that it illustrates your point, while making sense to an outside person.
  • For example, instead of saying “I use command codes BDAPL, BDADD, and BDOUT on a daily basis”, try something like, “I have extensive IDRS research skills, including the use of command codes unique to the Accounting area.
  • Remember your point is that you have IDRS skills.
completing your mpq s5
COMPLETING YOUR MPQ’s
  • Document your work experience. The rule is if you don’t write it down, it won’t be considered.
  • It is O.K. to use examples from outside the IRS if it is a strong illustration of your point.
  • Watch your grammar and punctuation.
  • Submit accurate, timely and complete information on each and every Merit Program Questionnaire (MPQ)
  • REMEMBER TO SIGN AND DATE YOUR MPQ.
additional resources
Additional Resources

http://sbse.web.irs.gov/learning/HCO_CPE/Resume_Writing/MPQ_ParticipantGuide.pdf

Preparing the Merit Program Questionnaire (MPQ) Participant Guide

http://erc.web.irs.gov/DOCS/2002/AWSS/PS/Vacancies/HELPFULHINTS.pdf

Helpful Hints When Preparing your MPQ

http://erc.web.irs.gov/Displayanswers/folderContent.asp?folderID=3

Employee Resource Center – Hiring, Training & Careers

http://oamc.web.irs.gov/SOAR/ActionVerbs.doc

Action Verbs

http://sbse.web.irs.gov/learning/CLD/MA/Time_Management/CLP_Employee_Classroom_Wkshop.ppt#256,1,Welcome

Career Learning Plan Workshop

http://core.publish.no.irs.gov/forms/internal/pdf/65691l03.pdf

Sample Employee Career Learning Plan – Form 10094

slide41

Tips on Preparing the

Merit Performance Questionnaire

(MPQ)

Form 9686

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