“Fluent in Excel” and Other Resume Red Flags as an HR Applicant

BY Jules Dalmacio Articles

“Fluent in Excel” and Other Resume Red Flags as an HR Applicant

Regardless of how many resume templates you browse through, writing yours is always nerve wracking. You’re walking a tightrope between highlighting your strengths and being a boring oversharer. “To add or not to add to my resume?” that is the question. Here are some do-nots that you might want to remove from your resume before you hit send.

Padded Content

If your resume contains too many personal details, down to height, weight, and parents, you have padded content. If you still have an “Objectives” section, that’s padded content. If you have more references than experience, that’s padded content. If you’ve listed every common program you know how to use like Word, Notepad, and Excel, preceded by the words “proficient in” that’s padded content—worse, you conflate “fluent” for proficient and claim it on your resume.

You want your resume to be informative but easy on the eyes. Reading through padding is tedious; other hiring professionals will even skip a resume that has Objectives. Include only details that will help the recruiter see you as an attractive candidate. “But why can’t I list that I’m proficient in Excel?” you may ask—if you’re applying for certain positions, you are expected to already be good at using basic industry standard programs. For HRs, that mean being knowledgeable about Excel is baseline.

Career Progression

If you’re not a fresh graduate, career progression is going to be what recruiters will look at on your resume. This is a polarizing thing to have on your resume as an HR because tenure is something we bank more on. Honestly, the career climb in HR is hard especially because HRs are stuck “specializing” in specific programs like Excel. This is truer for payroll and attendance personnel, and compensation and benefits officers. To illustrate your progress, you can add details like professional seminars you took as an employee among other things.

Excel as a Core “Skill”

As we mentioned in the past, Excel is hurting your career progression but putting it down as your core competency is also not a good idea to showcase how good you are at being an HR. You’re more likely to excite a recruiter with details on your human-interaction competencies than writing down “fluent” in Excel. What you can do on Excel isn’t as exciting as your HR activities outside of it. Instead of putting down that Excel is a core skill you have, focus on skills like organization, people relations, training capabilities, and eye for details among others.

If you want to start creating a better portfolio for yourself but Excel is getting the better of your career, try a system that takes the tedium away from your hands. Sign up for a free trial with Salarium and start discovering how much more potential you have than being “fluent” in Excel. 

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