Reading people’s resumes is a bit like browsing their Facebook profiles—you see how they want the world to see them.
Just as you might find those Facebook updates about your friend’s running routes (complete with screenshots from the Nike+ app) or his kid’s many playground adventures boring and unnecessary, so too are there many things people include on their resumes that nobody gives a crap about.
As much as you might want potential employers to know your entire life story, from the moment you scored 4 A*s in the PSLE to the time you organised your previous employer’s Christmas party, they don’t care about what a special snowflake you are—they just want to know that you can do the job well and be someone others can work with.
Unless you’re a fresh grad whose resume is as empty as a crisp white Kleenex, you might want to think twice before including the following information.
There’s a lot of contention over whether information about National Service should be included.
According to Eunice Tan, managing consultant at recruitment firm Jade Clover, there are certain people who should indeed include NS on their resumes.
“Fresh grads or candidates without much experience might want to include NS, mainly to fill in the gaps. Otherwise employers might wonder what they have been doing for two years,” she says. “Besides these people, there are some others whose vocations are relevant to the jobs they’re applying for. These people can mention their NS vocations on their resumes”.
But what happens if you’re not a fresh grad, and your NS vocation has nothing to do with what you’re doing now? Most local employers seem to think it’s unnecessary to mention NS—they already know that every Singaporean male has to do NS, and chances are they’ve done it themselves, too.
One exception is if you’re applying for a job overseas. Military service tends to be looked upon favourably overseas, so go ahead and tell them about it.
Basic computer skills and word processing
Yes, we know Microsoft’s resume templates include a section for computer skills or word processing. But seriously, in Singapore it’s assumed that anyone under the age of 50 with half a brain is competent in word processing and basic Microsoft Office applications.
Saying you know how to turn on a computer and start up Microsoft Word is not only redundant, but highlights the fact that that’s all you know how to do. Why not just include information on your ability to breathe and poop, too?
You only want to mention computer skills if you can do something that most ordinary people can’t, such as run Microsoft Excel applications or code.
If you have a university degree, poly diploma, NITEC cert or similar, there’s really no need to talk about your previous educational qualifications like the N/O/A levels or, worse, the PSLE.
That’s not to say that employers won’t care—fresh grads do sometimes get asked to furnish copies of their N/O/A level certs.
But unless you’re a fresh grad with zero work experience, pre-tertiary education is pretty much redundant and can be removed.
While you might think your employers would be impressed with your PSLE score of 280, it might make them ask why such a high achiever is now interviewing for a job at their company and not out saving the world.
Too much info about your CCAs
Fresh grads may be excused for including the salacious details about their CCA involvement, from the school colours they were awarded for their performances in the choir to that school funfair they organised.
And it is true that for entry level positions, truly impressive CCA performance (like, uh, swimming in the Olympics or being the captain of the national tennis team) can make your application stand out.
But once you’ve passed a certain age and have garnered some work experience, including info about your CCAs ten years ago just makes you seem tired and lame, as if you’ve done nothing else worthwhile with your life in the time in between.
Do you retain any of the above information on your resume? Tells us why or why not in the comments!