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Seattle, WA 98116

(206) 201-2181

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.

Certifications and Associations – Make Strategic Decisions

Kent Nolen

I get a lot of questions about whether or not certifications and professional affiliations really add value and whether or not they make an individual a more attractive job candidate.  Like so many areas in the world of employment and career development, the answer is un-satisfyingly vague...  It all depends. Recently, I worked with a client who felt the need to explain why she was not listing any certifications for her area of expertise – graphic design.  In her mind, the options for certifications in this arena did not add enough value.  While some might argue with that point, her reasoning is sound.

Well-established, well-regarded certifications are great.  They confirm your expertise in a specific area and bolster your bona fides.  Additionally, being a member of a professional affiliation shows your commitment to staying on top of developments in your industry / area of focus (they are also excellent networking opportunities).  But certain certifications / affiliations add little value or, even worse, can actually diminish your “brand.”

For example, I hold an MBA and professional Human Resources certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute – a widely respected institution and a certification that is the industry standard for HR professionals.  On the flip side – despite providing job search and career development services – I have chosen not to pursue a resume writing certification because, with my far-reaching background, experience and education, it would be much too "junior" for me. It would dilute the value of my more rigorous graduate degree and professional certification.

Securing a certification or being an active member of an affiliation is a huge time and energy commitment.  Regardless of your arena, it is important to research how a specific certification / affiliation is going to impact your brand and how it will likely be perceived.  You certainly don’t want to be wasting your time.