For job seekers, it can sometimes be tempting to include every skill you can think of when you write your resume. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the wrong approach to take! Since your resume should be designed to highlight your qualifications and relevant skills, it’s important to weed out any skills that don’t add to those qualifications.
Why? Because all those extra, unnecessary skills can distract attention away from your true qualifications. Worse, when you include certain types of skills, it can make an employer less likely to consider hiring you. With that in mind, here is a list of 15 resume skills that you should never include in your resume.
Skills Not to Include On Resume
Basic Resume Skills that Are Obsolete
Are you familiar with the BASIC computer programming language or other now-obsolete technical skills? Forget about including those basic resume skills in your presentation. If the skill has no application in today’s job market, there’s no reason to include it.
Skills that You Don’t Really Possess
The number one rule when it comes to resumes is a simple one: tell the truth. Don’t claim to have a skill that you don’t really possess. At some point, somewhere, somehow, someone is going to discover the truth. Besides, if you don’t really have enough other skills to make you qualified, it’s probably a good idea to just apply for a different position anyway.
Don’t list non-related skills in your resume, unless you can somehow demonstrate that they transfer to the position. An irrelevant skill only detracts from your presentation. Remember, you want your basic resume skills to combine and convince an employer that you’re qualified. If you fill your resume with irrelevant information, it will be harder for the reader to identify those qualifications. Keep it simple. Keep it relevant.
Skills that Aren’t Really Skills
Your ability to show up on time is not really a skill. Neither is your commitment to short lunch breaks, or your undying loyalty to employers. While it may be tempting to include some of those fluff “skills” in your resume, they won’t impress an employer. In fact, they’re likely to increase his skepticism.
You can type? Congratulations. That puts you on par with pretty much every other adult in the developed world – and most in the developing world as well. Typing is such a common skill these days that employers just take it for granted that you can manage a keyboard.
Familiarity with Microsoft Word or other Common Programs
Let’s be clear: Microsoft Office programs like Word are basically ubiquitous. Billions of people are at least passably familiar with them. Again, your potential employer will assume that you know how these programs work. Including them as basic resume skills will just make your presentation seem cluttered and less impressive.
Programs that are a bit more complex and relevant to the position you're targeting could be listed. (Excel, PowerPoint)
We wrote a good post here on including Microsoft Office on a resume.
When it comes to basic resume skills, document preparation is one of the most meaningless “skills” you can possibly include. What does it mean?
Most adults have the ability to create a document, write a note, or compose some type of presentation. Without specific examples of what you can do with a document, “preparation” tells the employer absolutely nothing of consequence.
The employer who sees the words “online research” listed among basic resume skills probably won’t be impressed. After all, online research is a common skill, thanks to search engines like Google and Bing.
Social Media Skills
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms have more members in their community than most nations. In other words, most people on the planet know how to use social media.
Listing those platforms as skills makes no sense.
We wrote a good post here on when to include social media on a resume.
Meaningless Soft Skills
Communication, leadership, teamwork, and other soft skills mean nothing without context. They’re not basic resume skills when you just say that you possess them. Of course, soft skills are useful, and will be noticed by employers – but only if you provide context that demonstrates your possession of those skills. Don’t just claim them; show how you possess and use them.
Administration is one of those broad, meaningless skills that doesn’t qualify among the more relevant basic resume skills. It doesn’t differentiate you from the crowd and explains nothing about your qualifications. Describe specific, relevant administrative skills instead.
Invoice Management, or Collections
So, you know how to pay invoices or have experience making collection calls? Well, unless you’re applying for a job that specifically calls for those skills, the employer won’t care. And if the position does require those skills, that employer is likely to take it for granted that you have them.
Forget about listing data entry among your basic resume skills. It’s a low-level skill that anyone can possess, since it requires only two things: the ability to read and type what you see. Again, this is a common skill that has no place on your resume.
Customer service is another common skill, since almost everyone services customers in their jobs. There are customer service basic resume skills, however, that you can list instead – like relevant customer management software, for example.
Filing and Document Management
No hiring manager wants to see “filing” listed among a candidate’s basic resume skills. Filing is one of those things that anyone can do, so its inclusion in your skill list will appear as though you’re just trying to fill up space on the paper.
The point should be crystal clear: you only have so much room in your resume, so there’s no place for irrelevant, meaningless information like the 15 bad skills on this list. Instead, identify the basic resume skills you need for the job and include only that relevant information in your resume. That’s the best way to focus attention on your qualifications and increase the odds of landing an interview and job.
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The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers and career experts located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.