The Template

Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

Why Resume “Skill Dots” are a Dumb Idea

resume template dont
Zach LaVine let the judges rank his ability. Source: NBA Highlights (YouTube)

On February 14, Zach LaVine told the basketball world “Size me up.”

The 19 year old stepped onto the court and put his skills on display at the 2015 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest in Brooklyn. With four electrifying slams, the Minnesota Timberwolves guard had the crowd on its feet again and again.

Make sure you watch the video. LaVine’s dunks happen at :13, 1:42, 2:40 and 3:30.

Every year, dunkers don’t choose their scores; the judges do. Otherwise, wouldn’t people give themselves high marks every time?

More and more, I see people “rank” their talents on resumes, and it’s a plain dumb idea. Ever seen one of these?

resume template dont

Why do I loath these black and white dots? Let me count the ways.

1. People judge their own skills 

As you apply for jobs, let employers assess your ability. The person in the above example claims to have “5 dot” writing ability, but maybe a boss is a much better writer and thinks “5 dots? I don’t think so.”

You provide the goods (writing samples), and employers (panel of judges) will give you a score. Don’t rank yourself.

See: How to Write an Impressive Resume Objective Statement

2. The dots don’t describe your skills

In the example above, the person grants himself “5 dot” status for social media. What is the employer supposed to think? “Oh wow, 5 DOTS. He must know EVERYTHING about social media. Quick! Someone call this guy before Mark Zuckerberg snatches him away!”

The little black dots mean NOTHING and if you do have solid SM experience, then the dots works against you.

What if you know how to manage Facebook pages, advertise on Twitter, lead groups on LinkedIn and build Pinterest boards? Such great experience, but you wipe it all away with five measly circles.

Explain to employers (and robotic scanners looking for keywords) the depth of your skills. Forget the dots.

See: How to Make Any Job Look Remarkable on a Resume

3. You choose style over substance

I don’t care how sleek and stylish it looks to add a row of black dots.

Your actual experience is more beautiful than any graphic design.

Employers need to see what you can physically do on the job. They care nothing for your internal rating system even if it looks cool. Showcase your ability, step back and let the judges hand you a score.

You might be a “Perfect 10” after all, but it’s not for you to decide.


What’s your opinion on the “skill dots”?

Share below!


Featured image: NBA Highlights (YouTube)


comments powered by Disqus