Resume tips: what to include and what to leave off

“What are some things I don’t need to put in my resume anymore?”

Careers’ panel of expert recruiters answers a reader’s question each week. Have a question? Email

Justin Hinora

Executive consultant, Hender Consulting

Email/internet skills is something that still appears on a CV every now and again.

It’s not that the skills are not relevant anymore, quite the opposite, but there is an assumption these days that it is a minimum standard of communication and a given.

Some candidates also seem to think listing attendance for every single training course ever attended or over the last 30 years is as important as listing their academic publications, which it is not. It is really important that candidates consider whether what they include in a CV or application is relevant or not.

media_cameraHender Consulting executive consultant Justin Hinora. Picture: Mike Burton

Lisa Morris

Director, Hays

Skills that are obsolete or considered minimum expectations today should not be listed on your CV.

Listing such skills does not help differentiate you from other jobseekers and can in fact be detrimental because the reader may think you have nothing better to include.

These include obsolete technology or software skills that are no longer in common use, such as Vista, and skills that employers take for granted, such as typing, document management and data entry.

The only exception is for administration roles that require a high words-per-minute typing speed.

For all other roles, this is an assumed skill.


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In addition, unless you have an advanced level of proficiency, it is expected that you can use Microsoft Office programs and manage emails, so exclude these skills too.

If a job requires you to be an advanced user of Excel, list the functions you are particularly skilled at.

Hays director Lisa Morris. Picture: Matt Loxton
media_cameraHays director Lisa Morris. Picture: Matt Loxton

Alexandra Rosser

Head of Organisational Psychology Consulting, Stillwell Management Consultants

The main mistake people make is including their proficiency in the use of computer programs or other technology which have become obsolete.

Depending on the role, it may also be unnecessary to cite basic skills such as ability to compose emails or use Microsoft Word unless you have advanced abilities or it would not be considered a given that you had these capabilities.

Any skill that is no longer used in your profession because it has become automated would also be unnecessary.

Avoid adding skills that appear to be padding rather than pertinent to the position.

Stillwell Management Consultants organisational psychology consulting head Alexandra Rosser. Picture: Mike Burton
media_cameraStillwell Management Consultants organisational psychology consulting head Alexandra Rosser. Picture: Mike Burton

Andrew Sullivan

Managing director, Sullivan Consulting

A common skill I used to see regularly on resumes in the past is experience with Microsoft Windows.

While today this is usually an assumed skill, familiarity with technology is still a valuable skill to highlight on your resume.

The thing to remember is how the skills in your resume are relevant to the roles you’re interested in securing.

You need to show that connection to the person reading your resume.

The kind of technology and software you have skills in might depend on your industry and career experience.

From a career perspective, developing a unique and valuable set of tech skills could give you an advantage in the right role.

Sullivan Consulting managing director Andrew Sullivan. Picture: Tricia Watkinson
media_cameraSullivan Consulting managing director Andrew Sullivan. Picture: Tricia Watkinson

**News Corp has partnered with HR technology company Shortlyster to develop the Australian National Talent Registry, an initiative to help get Australians back to work, as COVID-19 has left hundreds of thousands of people either jobless or with reduced working hours.

The registry aims to connect jobseekers, whose employment does not have to have been directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic to participate, with employers on cultural-fit and psychological level, not just qualifications and experience.

It is free for jobseekers to sign up:CLICK HERE

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