A professional resume is like a high-quality photograph of your career. Within that photograph, you can see incredible detail. If you have the capability to zoom in on a section, that detail is easier to see clearly. But the photograph doesn’t show you everything about the subject, does it? If you want to find out more than you see in the photograph, you need to either look at more pictures or actually talk to the person in the portrait.
Because your resume is a limited look at who you are and how you would fit into a potential job opening, the reader is looking for details that fit their criteria:
Does this applicant have the credentials we need for the position?
Does this applicant have the professional skills we need for the position?
Does this applicant have assets that could compensate for a lack of credential or skill?
As a result, the details in your professional resume need to be details that matter to the reader. Keeping your “skills” section professional, for instance, means that your love of live action role play probably isn’t what they are looking for. On the other hand, if you are applying for a job that involves the ability to create costumes and characters, it might be exactly what they want.
When you look at samples of professional resumes there are a variety of details in each one. Each resume has been carefully edited for the inclusion of the types of detail the potential employer is looking for. There will be a right time to share an enthusiasm for a hobby, but your resume will be much more professional and much more attractive to that potential employer if the details on your resume are applicable to the job opening.
While you may have a “Skills” section in your resume, you may not have a “Professional Skills” section. What is the difference? Why is it important to have a “Professional Skills” section?
People have lots of skills. Some people can play instruments. Some people can juggle. Some people can stand on their head. Some people can curl their tongue into a clover shape. While these skills make great party tricks and are fun hobbies and enjoyments, they are not useful in a professional setting. You may think that people would not place playing instruments or juggling in the “Skills” section of their resume, but it does actually happen. People may add some of these skills in order to show some personality or change up their resume. Unfortunately, that personality can also make you look unprofessional and even incompetent. So if you want to make your resume unique, there are better ways to do it.
Get Rid of Personal Skills and Hobbies: As fun as they are, your personal skills are not applicable to a professional setting. Even though they should not be listed on your resume, if you are specifically asked for some of those fun skills during an interview, then you can feel free to speak about them.
List Your Professional Skills: List your professional skills from most applicable to the job to least applicable. If you can’t figure out which skills will be most applicable to the job, start with your strongest skills first, then move down the list.
Title The Section: Instead of titling the section “Skills,” title it “Professional Skills” or “Areas of Expertise”. You could even consider pulling qualifications right from the job description and incorporating those skills (if they are applicable to your skillset) into your list on your resume.
Keep the “personal” out of your resume. Employers want to read about your professional expertise and the value you offer, not about your hobbies and personal interests.