Shall I remove the skill set I have not used for years? While studying, I had worked on various tools and took different kind of training/workshops. But in my professional career I have not used many of them.

For examples, my Languages are "Python, Java, Snort rules description language, C, C++, SQL, Assembly, Verilog, MATLAB"
But I have not used "C, C++, Assembly, Verilog, MATLAB" ever since after university.

I took game development workshop, just to see if it interests me or not, but I never choose that path.

Also, there are many tools I worked on in university like "Pspice, Xilinx, LVDAM-ANT, HFSS, ADS" etc which have absolutely nothing to do with my current career, and my future plans.

I guess, removing them does make sense but it does not feel right to just scrap past experience out of resume. Should professionals, engineers and researchers specifically, remove such skills from their resume or is it okay to keep them?

PS: I graduated as an engineer but my professional work is all related to research, and in somewhat different field at that.

  • 3
    I like to list some skills as "Exposure to ..." to imply that I have worked with a tool before and could quickly relearn it, but am by no means currently proficient in them.
    – David K
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:44
  • @DavidK, that seems like a good idea. Main reason I want to keep such things is to show that I have worked with them and can do them again if needed
    – blackfyre
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:47
  • If you had exposure to it, it's always a good idea to show it. At least get you in for a interview where you can discuss where you are with that skill. Though I don't recommend having a far off skill listed as it may make you seem too spread. For example listing you have skill in MS Office but you're a developer.
    – Dan
    Aug 31, 2016 at 17:12

3 Answers 3


Resumes are all about relevance. Relevance to what you do, but more importantly what you want to do.

If you have experience with MATLAB from university and are applying to a position where that experience is relevant, include it. If you hated MATLAB and have no desire to ever see it again, remove it from your resume!

When you're a new grad, you generally cast a wide net and include all of the skills you have. As you gain more specialization and/or a better idea for where your career is going, you should definitely remove skills that don't contribute to your career goals.


In general, you should be listing skills that are relevant to the jobs that you're applying for and that you're happy to answer questions about in an interview. Listing things that you used for a couple of months as part of a class and things that aren't relevant to the jobs you are applying for will do far more harm than good.

If you have a giant list of tools that mixes together the relevant and the irrelevant, it's going to be much harder for someone reviewing your resume to figure out which of the relevant skills you have. A "kitchen sink" approach that lists everything you ever touched also makes it difficult to figure out which tools you used once as part of a class years ago and which you have extensive experience with.

If you list a skill, you should be prepared to answer questions about it in an interview. If you list things that you aren't reasonably experienced with, that's going to lead people to ask lots of "tell me about your experience with X" where your answer is going to be a disappointment.

Beyond that, if you list random technologies on your resume, you're likely to spend the rest of your life fielding inquiries from recruiters about jobs using that skill. They're going to do a keyword search for some random obscure framework, your resume is going to come up, and they're not going to dig a lot deeper. Keeping the set of skills you show reasonably narrow at least keeps the spam relatively well targeted.

All that said, if you are describing a prior position, include the technologies in the description even if those technologies aren't particularly relevant to you today. If two or three jobs ago you were writing a bunch of code in Foo, mention that in your resume. But if Foo is no longer relevant to jobs you'd want to have, leave it off your skills section.

  • This implies changing the resume for each job. This might prove to have diminishing returns.
    – Xavier J
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:56
  • 3
    @codenoir - Customizing a resume for the job is a pretty common recommendation. Sure, you might not want a different resume for each potential opening. But you might want one resume that targets one type of role and another resume that targets a different role. Aug 31, 2016 at 19:09
  • 3
    Besides what @JoeStrazzere said, anything on your resume is fair game for technical questions, so if you really don't want to be asked how to do something in Matlab, then take it off. A lot of people lose jobs because they can;t answer questions about something on their resume which puts them in the liar category and nothing else they say is believed.
    – HLGEM
    Aug 31, 2016 at 20:00

Recruiters will bug you into antiquity for stuff on that resume that you don't use any more. Be selective about continuing to advertise the stuff that you have no intention of ever using again, unless you're just interested in showing breadth-of-experience.

  • THIS! I did one job where I integrated SSRS with M3 and I still get sent listings for Lawson and other ERP positions. I really need to add an "exposure" section to my resume.
    – Chris E
    Aug 31, 2016 at 17:46
  • @ChristopherEstep if you don't want to do more SSRS/M3 work, why keep them on your resume at all? I've never heard of either technology, so if I'm hiring you for a Java/Spring position, the inclusion of those technologies waters down your resume and makes my job as hiring manager harder because I have to spend more time/energy parsing your resume and wondering if you want my job or any job.
    – Chris G
    Aug 31, 2016 at 19:48
  • @ChrisG You're right. It has its potentially negative side effects. But historically, I've made a career by having a huge breadth of experience in a wide range of industries. Many of what might seem tangential experiences on my resume have led to great conversations in interviews and great jobs. Specifically, I do still do SSRS but the M3 was secondary to that. I'm clear about that on my resume but since M3 or Lawson is a keyword, it gets hit by recruiters who don't actually even peruse my resume. They just see the hit and send the email.
    – Chris E
    Aug 31, 2016 at 20:49

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