Searching for your next career opportunity takes time and energy. Knowing which skills you absolutely don’t need anymore when applying for jobs can help you sharpen your focus and prioritize your time.
It’s actually less about knowing which skills you don’t need and more about knowing which skills you don’t need to point out that you have because they’re now so common that it’s obvious to those doing the hiring that any modern job seeker will have them.
Kicking certain unnecessary or obsolete skills off of your resume can also streamline the hiring process and help you stand out among a sea of applicants. A hiring manager doesn’t want to wade through a list a mile long under the skills section of your resume to seek out the things that actually matter in the position that you’re up for.
Think of them as skills that are now so ingrained into our everyday lives that they are basically expected of all applicants. Where knowing how to navigate Microsoft Office used to be a specialized workplace skill, it’s now common knowledge for your average high school student.
The oft-quoted words of Bob Dylan definitely ring true here — “The times, they are a-changin.’” Take a look at which skills you don’t need to waste any more time focusing on during your job search.
1. Typing speed
While typing is definitely still a skill you need to possess, the speed at which you type (or even the fact that you know how) doesn’t need to be listed on your resume. Sure, the ability to type a certain amount of words per minute may be listed in some job postings, but that is typically for specialized positions like court reporters or transcriptionists.
The higher you climb up the corporate ladder, the more that speed and accuracy in typing are going to be a skill that is assumed, rather than a question for job applicants. Between spell check and predictive text within most computer applications, typing speed is becoming more and more irrelevant.
2. Microsoft Office (or similar standard applications)
As previously mentioned, knowing how to operate a Word document or navigate a spreadsheet is now more common knowledge than it is a specialized skill. It may be tempting to continue to list your proficiency in these computer applications on your resume, but it’s an outdated piece of information at this point in time.
Chances are, it’s been a while since you had to send actual fax on a fax machine. With the advent of digital faxes and the popularity of document transfer by email, knowing how to send a fax is a pretty outdated skill.
Plus, if you absolutely did need to fax something with a fax machine, you’re likely more than capable of Googling how to do it and figuring it out.
It used to be true that the ability to research something was an actual skill, rather than something that was easily achieved with a few mouse clicks. The research involved digging through books and knowing where to look and who to talk to.
Today, unless you are looking for a job that specifically requires research above and beyond a simple web search (academic research is one example) you don’t need to list research as a skill on your resume when applying for jobs.
Operating a multi-line telephone system used to be something that employers looked for. It was considered to be a true skill to manage multiple lines and transfer calls.
Today, digital systems make this entire process much easier, and it’s generally accepted that if you’re applying for any sort of job, you know how to use a phone. This is definitely a skill that your resume can do without.
This is another one of those skills that an employer will assume you already possess. It is absolutely common for most people to have a personal email address and therefore know how to send and receive email communication.
In fact, you’re likely using an email in some way to apply for the job — whether by emailing your application directly or submitting your application in an online system that requires an email for use. Because of that, it would be quite redundant to list email as a skill on your resume.
7. Outdated technology
Depending on what industry you’re in, you might be tempted to include certain skills on your resume that you have experience with which may actually be outdated.
For example, computer programmers who spent years mastering now-archaic coding languages should focus instead on only including tech skills on their resume that are relevant to more modern and widely-used coding languages.
Where many offices used to be filled with stacks upon stacks of paper records, filing documents electronically is a pretty simple task and a commonly accepted practice.
Depending on the job you’re applying for, it could actually be necessary to know how to file specific types of paperwork — medical records, court documents, etc. However, listing the term “filing” on the skills section of your resume is pretty outdated thanks to modern technology.
9. Word processing
The term “word processing” used to be used to reference a person’s ability to type words into a document on the computer, but it’s now sorely outdated. It would be rare for a person to get through high school today without having to utilize this skill.
Along the same lines as not listing the fact that you know how to type or operate Microsoft Office applications, if you’re applying for a job today, it is generally accepted that you know how to open a word processing document and type in it.
10. Data entry
Much like word processing, data entry is another skill that is generally accepted as common knowledge for modern job seekers. The ability to see a number on some sort of a report and enter the data into a spreadsheet is a basic skill that doesn’t need to take up valuable real estate on your resume.
If you see the term “data entry” itself listed as a necessary skill in job postings for certain positions, it will more than likely be industry-specific and usually will refer to the ability to enter data into specialized systems. In this case, you would want to list the specific data entry systems you are familiar with on your resume and not just data entry in general.