3 Skills on Your CV that You Should Avoid Mentioning

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the question of what one should write in the skills section of a CV. In general terms, the rule of thumb says that you should list a few things that you excel at – skills that can make a positive difference in the company that you would like to work with.


The rule is quite straightforward but many people struggle with it nonetheless. If you are not sure whether the skills that you are listing are actually skills, then read on. Whatever you do, there are certain types of “skills” that recruiters do not like finding on your CV. You should avoid using them:


The “Obvious”


We regularly bump into CVs that list “Internet and E-mail” under the skills headline. If you’re aiming a for a top-tier profession in the digital sector, you can be reassured that listing this “skill” will grant you an instant rejection. Why?


Today, being able to surf the internet and being able to send an e-mail is equivalent to being literate. There is no need to state the obvious. Of course, you can surf the internet and send e-mails – it’s 2016, after all.


The “Unintentional Lie”


People tend to overestimate their abilities. They tend to regard themselves as more competent than they really are. It’s part of our human nature, something that we all share. In practice, this is an innate bias towards overestimating our abilities — scientists call it the “Dunning-Kruger effect” — and it leads people to list skills that they don’t really have .


People often claim to be “proficient in Word and Excel”, but in practice, they can’t create pivots of data-sets, use macros,or perform basic data analysis operations. Only a minority of them have up-to-date knowledge and practiced skills in Word and Excel. They list programming languages such as Python or Ruby, but can’t even construct a basic if-else statement. Unbeknownst to them, these sort of people turn into liars. And lies are not skills.


The “Cliché”


“Honesty”, “respect”, “cooperation”, “openness” and other personal values do not belong on your CV. Values are highly subjective and have no value on paper. It is through action and facts, through your professional and educational background, that you show recruiters your motivation!


We are not saying that you should not be honest and cooperative — what a grim world that would be if nobody was! What we are saying is that abstract values and principles cannot be measured.

Recruiters cannot prove that you are honest until you are granted a working contract. Until then, drop the values from your CV!


And what about you? Does your CV pass the 10-second test? Visit our homepage and send us your CV for a free, confidential review: