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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.

What Companies Think of Your Resume

Kent Nolen

What is the best insight you can give regarding the frustration companies have when it comes to candidate selection? What can we job-seekers gain from your perspective doing work on the other side of the table?

I do a lot of work on the other side of the table, consulting with organizations on a variety of HR / Business strategy topics. While I don’t do quite as much candidate-focused consulting as I used to, I have a lot of exposure to the frustrations that companies have when it comes to finding quality candidates. Below, I’ll resurface (an updated version of) something I’ve posted before. It’s something I shared as a speaker at a conference when asked about mistakes candidates make when competing for hot positions with big-name companies.

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 already a tall order for job seekers to 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.