Imagine a place where job seekers can not only make targeted job searches, but also take classes in resume and cover-letter writing, networking skills and computer literacy.

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Long-suffering job seekers, I bring you good news. Imagine a place where job seekers can not only make targeted job searches, but also take classes in resume and cover-letter writing, networking skills and computer literacy, as well as receive one-on-one coaching. Best of all, it’s all for free – well, “free” in the sense that everyone’s tax dollars have already paid for it.

This seemingly magical place is called the local library. (For readers under 30, libraries are places where people used to go to read books, which are like Kindles made of paper.) Today, libraries may seem a bit anachronistic at a time in which so much information is available online. But they still perform the irreplaceable service of face-to-face instruction. There’s only so much a job seeker can learn via “do-it-yourself” techniques.

All of the area branches have ties to the state’s well-regarded WorkSource program and the Washington Department of Employment Security, but each library system also has its own programs that are tailored for each community. Now that the kids are back in school and hitting the books, it might be time to visit your neighborhood library and check out the amazing programs they offer to get you back in the working world. Here are just a few of the job-search services available:

Seattle Public Library (28 branches) – At the Seattle Library’s Adult Learning Center, job seekers can get one-on-one help with resume writing, tips on starting a job search and access to personal tutors. The library’s Career Transitions program provides access to a step-by-step “resume wizard” tool, which allows job seekers to explore occupational interests and match them with career paths. The LearningExpress Library also provides online learning opportunities, including software skills instruction and test preparation guides for the ASVAB, GED, GRE, SAT, TOEFL and U.S. citizenship. All of the above programs are available to those with a Seattle Library card.

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King County Library System (48 branches) – In the county libraries outside of Seattle, the King County Library (KCLS) offers one-on-one computer learning with its Tech Tutor program. Under its Job Search Basics program, the library has published a series of instructional web videos, translated into several languages, for those applying for a new job or burnishing their interview skills. KCLS also provides links to various volunteer opportunities and apprenticeships, which can help build resumes for those with little work experience.

Pierce County Library System (20 branches) – Under its Get Smart program, the Pierce County Library (PCL) has partnered with several companies – such as, Microsoft IT Academy, Treehouse and Universal Class – to provide online career training classes for free with a Pierce County Library card. PCL also offers its Get Hired program, which includes online training classes, databases and certifications for a wide range of job seekers. Click here to see a schedule of remaining Get Hired classes for October.

Randy Woods is a writer and editor in the Puget Sound business publishing arena and a veteran of the local job-search scene. Email him at