It’s a competitive market out there, constantly stimulating the evolution of duties, sets of skills, types of experience and industry know-how required to perform successfully in a role. Job seekers are expected to be multi-faceted, passionate, out-of-the-box-thinkers, innovators, proficient in any and every software ever known to exist; not to mention their multiple Master’s degrees and their foreign language proficiencies.
It’s easy to fall victim to the pressure and attempt to overcompensate on your resume.
When it comes to your skills, it’s important to honestly self-evaluate. When it comes to software, remember that proficiency doesn’t mean using an application just once. A good rule of thumb is if you aren’t able to troubleshoot something independently, don’t list it as a skill.
Think about the last time you had a conversation in the foreign language listed on your resume. Four years of high school Spanish does not a native speaker make. Think long and hard before listing a language proficiency on your resume; you never know when someone may “casually” strike up a conversation. There’s a big difference between fluent in and proficient in. Fluency in a language means that you’re completely comfortable reading, writing and thinking in that language. The general rule of thumb on proficiency is that you should be adept enough to enjoy casual small talk with minimal errors. Use your judgment; if the language proficiency is required for the position and you’re not where you should be in order to successfully perform in the role, don’t apply.
Demonstrating your professional value on a resume is a lot of pressure. The job market is competitive, and it doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. As strong as the temptation may be to, perhaps, stretch the truth, don’t.