What are Knowledge, Skills and Abilities?

KSAs are often outlined in the job description in both the personal qualities required and the professional qualities required. Many job applications will ask candidates to show, in a few hundred words, how their knowledge, skills and abilities relate to the requirements of the job.

What are Knowledge, Skills and Abilities?

Knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) are three distinct categories used to describe an individual's qualifications and capabilities.

  • Knowledge: Knowledge refers to the understanding and awareness that an individual has of a particular subject or area of expertise. This may include theoretical or practical knowledge, as well as knowledge of specific tools or technologies.

  • Skills: Skills refer to the ability to perform specific tasks or activities, usually in a practical or hands-on setting. This may include technical skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, or other types of abilities.

  • Abilities: Abilities refer to the inherent talents or capacities that an individual possesses, which may or may not have been developed through education or training. Examples of abilities may include critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, or leadership.

    Employers often use KSAs as part of the hiring or promotion process to evaluate candidates' qualifications and suitability for a particular role. KSA assessments may take the form of written tests, interviews, or other evaluation methods, and may be tailored to the specific requirements of the job in question.