There are millions of resumes in the Workopolis database, and about 1,000 new ones are added every day. Employers look at roughly 16,000 resumes every day on our site searching for candidates. The vast majority of their searches are via keywords.

Our team analysed the frequency of words appearing in the ‘Skills’ section of resumes compared with the keywords that employers look for. This was for a bigger project on potential skills shortages (stay tuned.)

That research also turned up numerous phrases that at one time were commonly listed as resume skills and searched by employers that have been used less and less frequently over the past decade. Although they’re on the way out, many resumes are still listing these retro-skills.

The trouble is that including the top ten of these in your resume now risks making it appear outdated and could give the impression that you haven’t kept up with the times. In some cases, it’s because the software or technology has become obsolete (MS-DOS, fax machines, Lotus.)

In other cases it’s just that the tools have become so commonly used that they should (literally) go without saying in a resume.

For example, of course people still use Microsoft Office and word processing, but since everyone is expected to know them, listing these on your resume just looks like filler. Similarly, ‘telephone skills’ aren’t considered skills anymore.

(This is actually why Workopolis has predicted that Social Media Expert is a job that will no longer exist in ten years. As the generation that has grown up in the world of the interactive web takes over the workforce, two-way online communication savvy will be the expected norm rather than a distinct skillset.)

In the meantime, however, here are the top ten skills that make your resume look obsolete:

  • Switchboard
  • Fax machine
  • QuarkXPress
  • Lotus
  • Windows
  • Microsoft Office
  • Bank deposits
  • Word processing
  • Telephone
  • Visual Basic

Our team also recently reviewed the millions of resumes in our database to determine the terms and phrases that people are using too often. For more on keeping your resume up-to-date, check out the 10 most over-used words and phrases in Canadian resumes.

For a look at the terms that employers are actively searching for now, please read our piece on the exact keywords employers use to find candidates by industry.

Peter Harris

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