Career

5 Things That Probably Aren’t On Your Resume, But Should Be

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Joanne Poh

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Writing a resume can feel like penning a fairytale or a dating agency profile in which you need to turn your painfully average Boon Peh into Brad Pitt.

The trouble is, many job seekers include too much irrelevant information that just doesn’t make them look good. Nobody cares about the fact that you were in twenty different CCAs in secondary school, nor do they need a full-page account of your part-time job as a flyer distributor during your university days.

But a bare bones CV isn’t going to make you stand out unless you have some really impressive past experience. Here are some items most people don’t think of putting on their resumes, but should.

 

Vehicle licences

You don’t have to be applying for a job as a bus driver or a crane operator to indicate the classes in which you have vehicle licences. A vehicle licence is one of those things that takes up very little real estate on your resume, but can be useful info to have, even if you might not be able to imagine why at this point.

For instance, an engineer with a boating licence might be called upon to work on a project involving devices for boats. A lawyer friend of mine with a pilot’s licence now works in aviation litigation. The more unusual your vehicle licence, the better.

 

Language skills

Singaporeans are a fairly multilingual bunch. Other than the so-called “mother tongue” subject everyone was forced to take at school, most of my friends have attempted to learn at least one other foreign language at some point, with varying degrees of success.

Any foreign language skills you’ve obtained to at least an intermediate level should be mentioned on your CV. You never know when you might be called upon to decipher documents in a particular language or deal with clients from a certain country.

Even if you wouldn’t exactly call yourself fluent yet, indicating that you’re continuing to improve and study a particular language sends a signal that you’ll get better.

If your obsession with anime prompted you to pick up some Japanese or you took a French course so you could go to Paris without being shunned by disgruntled locals, your skills are fair game for your CV.

 

Communication skills

Good communication skills are an asset in virtually any job, and your employer knows it. But because most CVs don’t warrant a “Communications Skills” section, you’ll need to insert information throughout your resume indicating that you can indeed interact with other human beings without coming off as a total numbskull.

The trick is to highlight under the banner of past jobs and educational qualifications any opportunities you might have had to exercise and hone your communication skills.

If you worked in customer service, you want to emphasise that you were able to skilfully communicate with customers and handle sticky situations. If you made an hour-long presentation that helped a previous company clinch a lucrative deal, talk about that in one of the little bullet points after each job heading. Any speaking engagements or media appearances should also be mentioned as they give you authority.

 

Leadership and organisational skills

While your employer is unlikely to care about your obsession with assembling models of anime robots, he will be impressed if you single-handedly organised a not-for-profit event for 100 local Gundam fans.

It’s not your interests and activities your employers are concerned about per se, but the skills you demonstrate while pursuing them. And leadership and organisational skills are some of the most impressive-sounding on any resume, immediately turning you from a slacker into an overachiever.

A friend of mine leads a team of around 30 hikers on free tours of Singapore’s forested areas every weekend, another oversees a group of volunteers at a local soup kitchen, while a third organises monthly foreign language events. These are things they should definitely mention at the end of their resumes under the “interests” section.

 

Short courses

Your school days might be over, but that doesn’t mean you’re never going to attend another course ever again. Any courses you’ve recently attended can be resume fodder.

For starters, if you’ve attended any skills upgrading courses in line with the SkillsFuture initiative, you most definitely want to put them down on your resume, otherwise you might as well not have upgraded those skills because nobody is going to know or care. The same goes for any courses or seminars you were sent to attend in previous jobs.

Many other courses deserve at least an honourable mention on your resume. Whether you went to Beijing for a month-long Chinese language course, are a certified first-aider or attended a basic web design course, you might want to mention them to show your commitment to lifelong learning and portray yourself as a well-rounded individual.

Do you include any of the above on your resume? Tell us why or why not in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.