Cracking the Code to Effective Resumes

By Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair

man standing in front of projector
Lonnie Spikes from the Department of Licencing talks about effective resume building at the ICSEW career fair.

When it comes to building an effective resume there’s no ‘one-size fits all’ template, according to Lonnie Spikes, Talent Acquisition Manager for the Department of Licensing.

Spikes gave a presentation on effective resume-building at the ICSEW’s career fair May 21.

Spikes gave some insights to how applicants are screened for Washington state government jobs. He said unlike Federal government jobs, which are often screened by computer programs, trained job recruiters are the first ones to take a look at a candidate’s application package.

He said to tailor your resume to the job description, based on the skills you have. He says people can sometimes forget putting skills on their resumes because they’re so used to it, it’s second-nature to them. (For example, word processing skills you learned in elementary school).

“Give yourself credit for your skills, even if they seem like putting on a shoe,” Spikes said.

He said combing through all your files– no matter how long they may have been sitting in a pile untouched—can provide useful information to a potential employer about your skills. Past award certificates, evaluations, reports, etc. can be a treasure trove of material to include in a resume.

Other bits of information Spikes shared:

  • Always bring a portfolio of work with you to formal interviews, informational interviews, job fairs, etc. You always want to be able to demonstrate your work.
  • Turn in your application as soon as possible. You are competing for jobs on a global market. You’re not just competing against your next door neighbor. The majority of companies’ job posting and application process is done online, so you’re competing with potential job candidates from all over the world.
  • Spikes said it’s not unheard of for recruiters at the state level to receive several hundred applications for a single position. However, recruiters are limited to advancing just 20 applications to the initial screening process. Make sure to tailor your resume to make sure yours is in that batch of 20.
  • If you see a job listing with a recruiter’s name, don’t be afraid to contact the recruiter. They can often help answer questions about a position.
  • Length: There’s no magic formula for the appropriate length of a resume. Just make sure it’s long enough to properly address your qualifications that are relevant to the position.

Minutes from the May 21 meeting can be viewed here.


How to Make ‘Take Your Child to Work Day’ a Success

By Jane Chapman, Department of Licensing  Representative & ICSEW Vice Chair

children petting a dog
Children of employees of the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor, Wash. pet a dog in the prison’s animal adoption program during a “Take Your Child to Work Day:” event in 2018. Photo Courtesy Washington State Department of Corrections

Governor Inslee has proclaimed April 25, 2019 as this year’s “Take Your Child Work Day” for state agencies. It’s recognized nationally on the fourth Thursday of April each year. The annual event is an educational program in the U.S. and Canada where parents take them to work with them for one day.

“Showing what a child’s parent or mentor in their lives does during the work day is important, but showing them the value of their education, helping them discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life, providing them an opportunity to share how they envision the future, and allowing them to begin steps toward their end goals in a hands-on and interactive environment is key to their achieving success,” national organizers say.

Here are some tips to make the event a success at your agency/work site.

  • Recommended Age Range. The Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day Foundation recommends the educational program for girls and boys be ages 8 to 18.
  • Get approval. Be sure to notify your supervisor that you plan to participate in the day.
    • Supervisors – If there are any staff in your area participating with their children, please ensure you are tracking the additional individual(s) as all individuals in a building need to be accounted for in case of an emergency (i.e. Fire, earthquake, terrorism, etc.)
  • Work schedule. Plan on having your child(ren) participate in your regular scheduled work day. If you need to leave early with your child(ren), you will need to submit a leave request accordingly.
  • Ensure confidentiality. Be mindful of sensitive records that you have in your work area.
  • Give a tour. Show your child(ren) around the workplace and introduce them to your co-workers, explaining what each person does.
  • Keep them busy. Involve and engage him or her in your daily routine, so they can see how you tackle problems and execute solutions.
  • Reward them for a job well done. They could be a future state employee in the making!

For more ideas on how to make the event a positive one for your child, check out the Bright Ideas Guide on the Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation’s website.

Is your agency hosting a “Take Your Child to Work Day” event? Tell us about it. We’d love to share pictures and write ups about your experience on our blog.