You work hard, learn fast, and have been around the block a few times. You’ve got skills. That’s great. Now it’s time to take some of them off your resume. Why? Because they could be hurting your chances of getting hired, or lowering the amount of salary you’re being offered.
That’s because your resume needs to be a marketing document – selling your candidacy for a specific role. Anything that does not contribute to that is just taking up space: not just irrelevant, but actually harmful.
There are a few reasons why your skills are hurting your resume.
First off there are those skills that can make you look outdated and could give the impression that you haven’t kept up with the times. In some cases, it’s because the software or technology has become obsolete (MS-DOS, fax machines, Lotus.)
In other cases, it’s just that the tools have become so commonly used that they should (quite literally) go without saying in a resume.
For example, of course people still use Microsoft Office and word processing, but since everyone is expected to know them, listing these on your resume for any job involving technology above an entry-level position, just looks like filler. It’s assumed that if you are working in the digital space you know how to create, share, and organize documents, spreadsheets, and files.
So listing the skills that should be table stakes as if they are your top credentials can also make you look more junior than you actually might be. It can reduce the starting salary you’re offered.
Similarly, ‘telephone skills’, ‘data entry’ and ‘typing’ aren’t considered skills anymore. In 2016 everyone should be able to use a phone, input data, and type.
Another reason your skills could be hurting your resume is when they are simply not relevant to the job. For example, you could mention on your resume that you can legally drive a moped. If you were applying for a job in digital marketing, this, of course, would be of very little use. However, if you were applying for a pizza delivery job, this would be valuable information to include on your resume. Obviously, you would need to have valid moped insurance in order to be able to use your moped for the job, which may mean that you need to compare moped insurance providers. Either way, the point is that your resume does need to be relevant to the job that you are applying for.
Have you heard the phrase, “less is more?” A resume is one of the times when this is actually true. I’m not one of those people who insists that a resume fit on one or even two pages. If you have three pages full of relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments, then by all means showcase them. But what you don’t want to do is have a long resume listing everything you’ve learned and done when much of it doesn’t apply to the job you’re after.
The irrelevant stuff will just water down your candidacy and make you appear less, rather than more, qualified. For example, if you have excellent programming skills, but you’re applying for a copy writing job, your ability to code doesn’t help you land the writing gig. It also makes it look like you may not be serious about being a copy writer since you’ve clearly put in the time and effort to learn programming.
So while coding may come in handy in many jobs – and the employer may be lucky to gain those bonus skills by hiring you – highlighting them in your resume diminishes your chances of being hired.
Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. They are going to look at many, many resumes for the position they’re recruiting for. The candidates who stand out from that crowd will be the ones who have the most relevant, up-to-date skills and credentials for their job listed first and foremost – without being camouflaged by a lot of outdated or irrelevant information.
Here’s a look at the most in-demand job skills this year.