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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.

This is What I Want My Resume to Look Like

Kent Nolen

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. And I always say the same thing, “I can completely understand why the approach interests you, but we can do MUCH better.”

Before I even get into what is wrong with this viral resume – a resume that, despite glaring issues, has been elevated by major trusted publications – let me say that I this is not, in fact, Marissa Mayer’s resume. It was created by a CV design company as a marketing tool. In fact, I would be very surprised to learn that Marissa Mayer even has a resume.

So, despite being pretty and eye-catching, let me point out a few things that are likely to keep this resume from actually being effective.

  1. Design – The design is compelling but, as I go on-and-on about, a highly designed resume is rarely a good idea. Designed resumes generally don’t take into account resume screening software or even the way actual humans consume information. This resume is a perfect example of form over function.

  2. Picture – In the US, including a photo on your resume is a no-no. Yes, readers can go right to LinkedIn to check you out, but including a photo on your resume communicates that you have not done some basic research about the job search landscape. I am pretty sure Marissa Mayer wouldn’t thumb her nose at basic HR practices, so I don’t suggest you do.

  3. Quotes – Sections like “Life Philosophy” take up room that could be used to speak to actual accomplishments. Focusing on platitudes may be an option if your achievements make headlines on Bloomberg, but otherwise you need to leave the quotes for desk calendars and dedicate the bulk of your resume to what you’ve actually accomplished and the impact you’ve made.

  4. Charts – The “Day In My Life” chart is an example of something that looks like a good idea – it’s a chart! – but is fairly meaningless. Does anyone believe that Marissa Mayer spends nearly as much time baking cupcakes as she does sleeping? Sure, it’s a cute way to make a point, but cute is rarely effective on a professional resume. And talking about your kids or staying at the Four Seasons on your resume... Let’s not even get into that.

  5. Skills Meters – Like the above chart, skills meters are generally a complicated way of communicating something that could be easily and more concisely said otherwise. In this instance, it is fairly easy to grasp the meaning – 5 dots means fluent – but there are many instances where that isn’t even the case. So why not just simply state your level of proficiency instead of making time strapped people decifer what 3 dots means next to German? Also, how does an automated screening system grasp what 5 dots means (assuming it can even "read" dots)?