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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.

Designed Resumes Do Not Set You Apart

Kent Nolen

I read so many resumes at work that I’ve also become immune to the super flashy style of some current resumes and want this to be a very clear, concise document that doesn’t have to rely upon glitzy formatting.

That’s an excerpt from an e-mail from a senior-level client I recently worked with.

About once a month, a client or potential client sends me “Marissa Mayer’s resume” as an example of how they would like their resume to look. If you take a look at the post I wrote about those e-mails (and the resume in question), you’ll see a detailed critique of the approach.

What that post doesn’t address, though, is the critical point that my savvy client references in the above quote. Designed resumes are now so common that they don’t set you apart. Additionally:

  • Highly designed resumes do not play well with automated software, and that's where many resumes start in today's hiring environment.

  • For every person in the hiring continuum who appreciates a design-forward resume, there will be nine who don't. Simply put... When it comes down to the presentation of solid, achievement-centric information, designed resumes miss the mark.

As I've said here on the blog many times, I do think there is room for varying degrees of a designed resume, depending on the specifics of your situation. For example, I've seen design-forward resumes work very effectively as a "leave behind" after an interview. The reason? The organization is already working with your primary resume – the one that is clearly presenting specific achievements and your actual impact. This "leave behind" version simply presents your information in a unique way.