I don't believe this thread is a duplicate, as my main question is whether I should ask a possible reference to not say anything (the CV query is only secondary)

I am a graphic designer who also has a fairly good knowledge of HTML, CSS and WordPress... enough to build responsive custom WordPress themes anyway.

I really wish I didn't have this coding ability however. As I find that a lot of design agencies want to hire me as their 'web guy' when / if they find out I can both design and code... design is my true passion and I lost interest in coding several years ago (despite having had to still do some here and there since then).

Should I simply keep this a secret on my CV and at future job interviews? I am currently freelance however one of my potential references was a (part-time) job I left recently where I did both design and some frontend dev.

I was considering asking my former employer to not say anything about me having the ability to code should he give me a reference.

I'm not sure if this might be a bad idea though? am I better off just not using him as a reference and using someone else instead? e.g. someone I've done only design projects for?

That would mean not having to ask them to hide anything for me, but the thing about this reference in particular is that it was a recent role and quite a long-term one too. So it would be a shame not to use them.


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I used to be a programmer who did some technical writing. Eventually I realized that while I was a competent programmer, I lacked the passion to excel at it -- but I did have that passion for technical writing (for programmers) and interface design. It's now been long enough that those early resume entries and references aren't relevant, but when they still were, I didn't try to hide it but did make my goals clear in the interview.

Interviewers want to know that you're interested in a job, not just willing to do it. It's perfectly ok to say, about a role someone would like to hire you for, something like "while I've done X, my passions and career goals are more in Y". This will rule you out as a candidate for some jobs, but it sounds like that's what you want. If you want to keep the door open for jobs that might require occasional X, you can say something to that effect.

As for the resume, most jobs involve more than just applying a technical skill; there might be design, implementation, testing, coordination, configuration management, bug triage, client negotiations... emphasize the accomplishments that most support the job you want, downplay the ones that don't, and make sure the result sounds like a complete position. (You don't want people to think "oh, is that all he did there?" because you left out 75% of it.) Tailor your resume for each application as needed.

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    No wonder the writing in your posts is so good!
    – Fattie
    Jan 8, 2018 at 21:52

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