In Doubt, Leave Out

3 min readJun 20, 2022


If they don’t ask, should you tell?

Photo by Ocean Biggshott on Unsplash

A resume or CV summarizes previous job functions performed under your employer. An effective resume or CV captures only the job functions that are relevant to a new job posting.

What does this mean?

To increase your chances in the sift, the job functions, which are portrayed as actions (verbs), must be mirrored in each line of your CV. This may give the impression that one can simply copy and paste the job post’s duties directly into your CV, but that is not so.

You must capture the duties from the job post onto each line of your CV by writing how you performed the job duties at each institution of employment. Therefore, no CV should ever look the same as no job post is ever the same and each individual performs and executives an action differently. Each line of your CV acts as a fingerprint — your fingerprint — which no other applicant has, shares, or can replicate. So be specific! Describe exactly what you have done at previous jobs with great details yet tailored to reflect the actions requested in the new job post.

But what if you have additional assets (skills, competencies, and abilities) that do not appear on the job advertisement? Should you include these assets in your CV?.

This is a valid question.

When crafting general CVs or resumes without a job advertisement, a good rule of thumb is to capture the general duties of the job title or profession. Logically, this method ensures that your skill sets and experiences match, at the very least, the general demands from the employer.

If you are crafting a targeted CV or resume, only reflect the job requirements listed in the job posting. I repeat: only reflect the job requirements listed in the job posting when submitting an application for a specific job.

Remember, during the first sift, recruiters and hiring managers will spend (if lucky) a grand total of about 20 seconds or less on each application submitted. 20 seconds is a long time when reviewing merely 200 job applications. So, your application needs to be diligently focused and concise.

Be that as it may, scanning for keywords on the job description may encourage you to drop adding Easter Eggs about your added value. Therefore, it is important to keep abreast of how your profession (or the function assigned to a job title) is modernizing or advancing. Whenever applicable, add these additional skill sets in a list to a side of your CV or resume, if and only if, you are absolutely certain the skill demonstrates specialized knowledge in your field.

For example, let’s take a look at including data visualization as a skill set for a job application. Data visualization has been around for about 20 years, give or take. A tool is a powerful form of communication. In the field of Communications, it is common to see soft skills requested like, relationship building or speaking diplomatically. For hard skills, requesting writing and editing abilities, reporting, or even typing speed is also common. What is not yet standard for jobs in Communications is a request for specialized training in data visualization. Some applications may have it, but most do not outside the field of technology. So, were one to apply to a company or organization that has requested innovation in delivering communication strategies or campaigns, one would be behooved to include knowledge of data visualization if it were applicable to their skill set.

See the difference?

If you know an asset of yours demonstrates the added value you could bring to a company, be sure to list it on your CV or resume, and highlight it in your cover letter. Otherwise, superfluous information is just noise and clutter to a hiring manager who is only spending seconds on your application in the initial sift.

When in doubt, just leave it out.

Good luck!




Crafting personal stories into professional pitches and presentations.