Highlighting Poor Computer Skills on a Resume

On a resume of a financial services professional, I saw something that surprised me.  It shouted “poor computer skills” because of a single omission.

The resume was for a sales rep in a financial services firm – someone that sells investment and insurance products to individuals and businesses.  This is a field requiring excellent sales skills along with good quantitative and technical skills.

The resume had all the stuff you would expect… state and NASD licenses, sales numbers, client numbers and other details relevant to the industry.  At the bottom, the resume had a Technical Skills section.  This is what caught my eye.  Here’s what the section contained:

  • Microsoft Windows XP and Word
  • Act! Contact Management
  • Proprietary in-house systems

The reason this caught my eye is that it doesn’t list Excel.  I find it hard to believe someone could work in the industry without some Excel experience – it’s a basic tool that is almost fundamental to financial analysis. 

Now if the resume didn’t have a technical skills section, I wouldn’t have noticed.  It was the overt statement that the job seeker knows Windows and Word, without mentioning Excel that made this odd. 

There’s a chance that this individual knows Excel and just forgot to list it.  I’d probably give them a call to check, given that the rest of the resume is pretty strong.  This wouldn’t kill the job seeker’s chances but it would cause me to question their technical skills more than I ordinarily might, since I would assume the skill level is low. 

There are situations where this could be a deal killer.  If the hiring manager considers Excel expertise a key priority, the resume has a fair chance of being discarded. 

Remember that if you are highlighting your skills, create a complete picture of the skills relevant to a position.  Listing Excel experience isn’t what’s important, it’s listing software that is a primary tool within the industry.