Published: Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cracking the job-hunting code

Steve Capili's “a-ha” moment arrived while sitting in a résumé writing workshop at Sno-Isle Libraries' Lynnwood branch.
After spending more than 20 years in the mortgage industry, the Bothell resident was aiming to branch out.
Little did he know, Capili was armed with an outdated -résumé that job screeners won't even review.
“I had an epiphany and thought, ‘Oh my God, I won't get employed,'” Capili said.
Capili had sent out 10 résumés formatted with his experience listed in chronological order; a style job screeners don't give a second look at, according to WorkSource staff.
Sno-Isle Libraries and WorkSource partnered to offer “Creating a Targeted Résumé” workshops across Snohomish County. They're designed to help job hunters get noticed by application screeners by tailoring their résumé toward a specific job.
Mark Perry, business services representative for WorkSource Snohomish County, showed Capili two more favorable formats.
Capili was one of 22 attendees during the workshop at Lynnwood Library on Sept. 20. A good portion of the job seekers attending these workshops were 50 and older along with stay-at-home mothers hoping to return to the workforce, organizers said.
Participants have run the gamut as far as work history, Perry said.
The workshops are presented from the perspective of a human resources professional and designed to help job seekers stand out, said Matt Laxton, a librarian at the Lynnwood Library who coordinated this workshop.
One thing to keep in mind is bigger companies run résumés through word-recognizing software, so job hunters should use language used in the job posting, Laxton said.
Perry's background in recruiting has brought him across a number of résumés that inadequately captured attention, he said.
He recommends seekers quantify their skills and highlight their transferable skills.
Networking also is key. And not every relevant experience is paid.
“Add volunteer work to your résumé; it's priceless,” he said.
Job hunting these days is impersonal, Capili said. People post their résumés online and receive an email saying it was received.
“You get frustrated because you know you're competent and have the knowledge and transferable skills but don't know the code to break through,” he said.
Now armed with tips on how to sell his strengths and mirror his résumé to what the job posting asks for, Capili is ready.
“I'm hopeful about my chances,” he said.
There are four remaining “Creating a Targeted Résumé” workshops held from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays at various Sno-Isle library branches. Visit for more information. Pre-registration is required.
Resume do's and don'ts
WorkSource's Sharon Afforde, who has more than 20 years of experience in the recruiting world, offers the following advice:
Top Mistakes
1. The resume is not properly targeted. Job seekers need to do a better job of reading a job posting and identifying the key requirements, buzz words and industry language that addresses the needs of the company.
2. Job seeker doesn't adequately conduct research into their industry of choice in order to tap into the hidden job market. A good place to start is LinkedIn, the professional networking website. WorkSource offers workshops to help people get started.
3. Job seekers fail to understand how to sell themselves and set reasonable expectations. WorkSource offers a “Putting Your Skills to Work” workshop to help.
Top Tips
1. Visit your local WorkSource Center
2. Network, network, network
3. Build credibility by including volunteer activities
4. Objectives need to mirror the desired job directly
5. Be detailed about how you either solved a problem, made the company money or did something noteworthy.