Monthly Archives: December 2012

A Couple of Items to Remove from Your Résumé

Some things don't belong on your résumé

Some things don’t belong on your résumé

In many of the individual résumé evaluations I perform for client organizations, I see on a consistent basis mention of two items that don’t belong on a résumé: Microsoft Office expertise and outside interests/community involvement. Unless the job posting specifically asks how you spend your time away from the office, it’s not pertinent at the résumé level. As I’ve said repeatedly, the hiring process involves the staged release of information that attests to your professional capabilities. You provide the hiring manager with a little in the cover letter; a little more in the résume; even more at the interview; and–if you follow my “Continuous Promotion Approach” I write about in Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0–even more after the interviews are finished.

One reason to remove any mention of your knowledge of Microsoft Office is because today, it is no longer a differentiating factor. Back when companies were starting to transition from DOS-based word processing applications, like WordPerfect and XyWrite to name a few, it carried more weight. Today, my middle school nephews are using Microsoft Office for classroom projects. And be sure to remove that “Certified Office 2000 Professional” designation from your résumé–that just screams “obsolete skills.”

I suggest only listing those advanced software applications or those specific to your professional specialty where you have expertise.

As for listing outside interests or community involvement, those things are better left for the job interview–and some are better left for conversation after you’ve been hired. For example, mentioning Xtreme sports, “avid mountain climber”, or “skydiving enthusiast” might label you as a high-risk candiate for the time off you’ll need to mend injuries. While every employer wants to hire well-rounded employees who have lives outside of work (well, maybe except for the high-tech world), the space on a résumé is valuable real estate and should be used to promote you as the qualfied professional you claim to be. If it doesn’t support that claim, leave it off. I have in the past asked candidates about their outside interests (benign interests and otherwise) and often they exude a bit too much enthusiasm for their hobbies, so in some cases it could be a red flag to the hiring manager about commitment levels.