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Seattle, WA 98116

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Tandem Powered offers a full suite of Professional Resume Writing, Career Development, and HR / Business Consulting services.


Tandem Powered's blog is dedicated to empowering readers by highlighting best practices in the arena of resume writing, career development, and organizational effectiveness, as well as by providing readers with an insider's view of the corporate hiring process.

3 Mistakes Candidates Make

Kent Nolen

Recently, I was speaking at a conference. After several questions regarding the work I do on both sides of the table – HR / Business Consulting and Resumes / Career Development – the panel moderator asked me about the top mistakes I see candidates make when competing for hot positions within big-name companies.

I want to share what I said here. As I am shifting this blog to focus a bit more on topics that go beyond job search documents, I also thought this would be a great topic because it shows how your resume is really just one piece (a critical piece, for sure) of the job search process.

While the moderator's question was addressing Senior / Executive level candidates, the advice applies to candidates at all levels.

1. The rushed resume. It's nearly unbelievable to me how many candidates will present a resume that isn't fleshed out. How can I tell? The candidate's current position's content doesn't mirror that of previous positions. It is not at all uncommon for a candidate's current position to read like a job description – a sure sign that it was updated in a rush. Similarly, I can't tell you how many times candidates will say (in an interview) that they need to do more work on their resume so that it is 100% accurate.

Best Practice: Keep your job-search documents refreshed at all times, not just when your hustling to make an application deadline.

2. The inability to communicate impact. It's a tall order for job seekers to even be able to think in terms of achievements (rather than responsibilities) on a resume and in interviews. It's even tougher for candidates to be able to speak in terms of impact. That is, what impact does your job / achievement / project have on the organization. Potential employers covet candidates who know their value.

Best Practice: Top candidates know how to speak to their achievements, as well as how those achievements plug into the organization's larger mission.

3. The inability to communicate succinctly. Most candidates' resumes ramble unnecessarily and most people ramble unnecessarily in interviews.

Best Practice:  Keep it short and powerful. Practice.

The points above speak to why my clients are always telling me that my process benefits them in so many ways beyond the job-search documents we co-create. Going through my robust process gives candidates the language, tools, and confidence to be successful across their careers.