How Throwing Stuff Out will Improve Your Resume

By Stephanie Clark.

Once in a while I have a client who is into many things, with education or training in diverse and sometimes esoteric interests. I explain that adding unrelated information or jargon can be at the very least, distracting, and at the worst, a deal breaker.

When I consider recent clients, a sales woman comes to mind. Along with sales of scientific, biological products, her resume also included her role and training as an alternative healer. Another client, also a salesperson, incorporated training in graphic design, animation, and improv acting. And, then there are oodles of examples where job hunters include jargon not related to their new position. In each case, this demonstrates a disconnect rather than a similarity.

Sometimes, it’s best to throw stuff out rather than include it all in a resume.

But how do you decide what belongs and what doesn’t?

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Does the training enhance your ability to perform the duties? If not, throw it out. If it does enhance your ability to perform the job, point out how. Improv training can absolutely help a sales person, as it teaches nimble thinking and builds confidence in handling situations where the dynamic unexpectedly shifts. But if you are applying as an executive assistant at a conservative legal firm, improv acting may not be appreciated as a suitable additional or transferable skill.
  2. Does the training dilute your message? If you’re making a major career change, like switching from roads maintainer to nurse, including a long list of the certificates you hold that allow you to operate machinery will not sell you into the nursing role. In this case, removing the list and substituting something along the lines of “successfully completed and applied 12 certificates of knowledge” showcases a transferable skill: the ability to continue learning.
  3. Does the detail confuse your reader? I’ve had many, many clients whose resumes would confuse the reader with questions of “what does this person really want to do/be?” Put yourself in the reader’s/recruiter’s chair and review your resume with a critical eye. Every line, every bullet, every qualification, skill, and proof of value MUST relate to the job you’re applying to – from the top to the bottom. If it doesn’t, it’s not the best resume yet!

There’s no point in mentioning your work with “hydrogen tank valves” if they don’t even exist in your new job! Stick to the commonalities and throw out the differences! The valve story actually was a “failure mode analysis” story that demonstrated a client’s ability to determine root causes. Removing non-related jargon and concentrating on the transferable skill is another way of throwing stuff out to improve the resume.

Source: New Leaf Resumes

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