A solid list of accomplishments on your resume allows you to demonstrate your maximum potential and work ethics. It’s quite tempting to include every experience, achievement or skill you’re proud of to impress your prospective employer. Unfortunately, you can’t fit all these on a piece of paper or two – and it’s not just about the lack of space.
Some accomplishments are better left out. It’s about thoroughly filtering and extracting details of your educational and work background in order to create an interesting and substantial content – something your prospective employer can digest and consider.
“Write for your audience, not your ego,” says Jared Redick, principal of The Resume Studio, a San Francisco-based resume-writing firm. Sadly, a lot of job seekers commit this big mistake of putting details that aren’t only irrelevant to the job at hand but are also major turnoffs.
Whether it’s your first time to apply for a job or you’re tweaking your outdated resume for a new job opportunity, here are 5 accomplishments you might want to omit from your resume.
1. Over the top facts
Mentioning giant names you’ve worked with and stating big figures can help level up your game. However, you should be mindful of exaggerating your facts. If you make your achievements and skills sound over the top and fabricated, chances are employers may turn you down rather than be impressed.
Making a big deal about giant clients you’ve handled for only a week, increasing quality to 100%, and reducing your errors to zero are some of the examples.
Fix: Be genuine and use more accurate figures. An increase of 97.5% makes the accomplishment more believable.
If these facts about your capability are true, you can include these accomplishments but make sure to back it up with data, like an award or commendation you received, or a quote from a supervisor, recognizing the results.
2. An ancient history of experiences
Winning a journalism competition when you were 7 may be relevant 15 years ago, but not today that you’re applying for a professional writing job. Same goes with the tiny, irrelevant jobs you took when you were in college to raise funds.
If you have former jobs, it’s okay to put them in an “early career section” so employers can see your career chronology. However, showing details of outdated accomplishments can be a waste of time and space.
Fix: Declutter your resume using an editor’s eye. When you decide to include achievements, think “current” and “relevant.”
3. Skills that are outdated or assumed
It’s 2018. Everyone is expected to use Microsoft Word and other Microsoft Office apps so there’s no point in writing that in your skills section.
Fix: If you’re applying for positions that require knowledge in tech, focus on computer languages, programs, and applications you know. Be specific. For instance, if you’re applying for a web content creation job, proficiency in WordPress, Adobe Photoshop and E-mail is highly valued.
4. Bias-inducing information
Disclosing any information that may expose you to possible discrimination is something you should be mindful of.
Your involvement with a political or religious organization is a great example. Let’s you’ve worked for a prominent political figure. You were a significant part of a PR campaign for a controversial senator who wanted to run for the presidency.
Fix: It’s in your discretion whether you want to reveal the details or not. You may keep it safe by stating you worked for a local advocacy or service group. This will allow you to emphasize your achievement without mentioning the organization or figure’s name.
And besides, it will be such a waste if you keep this noteworthy piece of information under the rug because it’s a solid proof of your competence and might help you land your desired job.
5. Any irrelevant achievements
If you are applying as an HR officer, the recognition you received as a sound designer in your school play may not matter.
Résumé is a French term that means “summary.” It isn’t a memoir of every achievement you received and every job you’ve held since you completed your degree. That said, omit the achievements you think are not relevant to the job at hand, even if you’re proud of them.
Fix: If you’ve held several jobs, list down only the details that would be required or might hold significant value in your next role. It may be the awards you received from your former employer or the applicable seminars you attended to.
If you’re an entry-level job seeker and you don’t have a lot of relevant accomplishments to boast, focus on the transferable skills that demonstrate your potential to step up and succeed in your career field.