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I'm a recent Computer Science graduate and am now applying to jobs on the free market. During my course of studies, I've acquired skills in a wide range of programming languages and popular/specific packages for each (say pandas, scikit-learn, dask for python). There's also a more abstract set of skills I have (say Data Visualization, Machine Learning, Computer vision). I am applying for jobs in the EU, UK, and US.

My question is how explicit and exhaustive I should be about these skills on my CV? I understand that being specific to the position I'm applying to is key, but even then there's a lot I could put on my resume which would probably fill more than half a page by itself (say Data Scientist, there is a whole array of programming languages, packages, frameworks, abstract skills that would deserve mentioning).

I've been looking around the web for good practices but found very different approaches. Two extremes I found are this one, which only involves abstract skills and doesn't even mention programming languages, and this other one, which has a whole section dedicated just to programming languages and packages in each.

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    No it doesn't. I'm asking how much of my skills I should put on my resume, not how to land a job with no job experience. – emilaz Nov 13 '20 at 10:37
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    How have you determined that this half-page of skills "deserve mentioning"? – Philip Kendall Nov 13 '20 at 11:01
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    You should add a region. As far as I can see this varies a lot, I've received CVs from Indian applicants that were 6 pages and apparently this is normal in India whereas in my part of Europe more than 2 pages is unusual and 1 page is better. – Eric Nolan Nov 13 '20 at 11:11
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    Added regions, thanks. – emilaz Nov 13 '20 at 11:17
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    You should tailor each resume to each job you apply for. If you are applying to a job that indicates the use of Python, make it clear, you have experience in Python. If you are applying for a job in Javascript, forget about telling the company about Python, focus on JavaScript. – Donald Nov 13 '20 at 15:37
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My advice is that you need to appeal to both a non-technical HR person/recruiter, and also a technical person who isn't going to be impressed with you just listing a list of technologies.

The process that your CV is going to go through, is going to be something like this:

  • It lands on the recruiters desk, who is looking to fill a certain role.
  • That recruiter is going to see if what's on your CV matches what's in the role description (ie. they're going to be matching on key words and years of experience), and generally whether you look like 'an impressive candidate' (eg. things like awards, previous employers, side projects can be good).
  • They will forward your CV to someone technical saying 'what do you think, does this person look good' and that person is going to quickly scan your CV to see if you are worth interviewing.
  • This is where a link to your Github and other developer profiles (dev.to, twitter, stack exchange) can be very useful - because they can quickly click in and see that 'yip, you really do use such and such technology'.
  • Now they'll schedule an interview.
  • Before the interview, the technical, (and also cultural, if they're on the panel) will have a closer look at your CV, look at your relevant experience etc, so they can tailor their questions for you, and ask questions that you should be able to answer, and generally assess your ability.

So how do you write a CV that is suitable for all stages of the recruitment process?

  1. You do need to include 'keywords', ie listing technologies that you have used. You can do that as separate list at the start of your CV, or list technologies for each job/project you have worked on. I think the latter is the better approach.

  2. Give details of projects you've worked on. This is to appeal to the technical people. eg. 'Created a REST API using Express, and JWT authentication', or 'Parsed CSV data and created XYZ visualisations using ABC technology'. This allows the panel in the interview to ask questions about these things, for example they might ask 'How did you solve such and such issue when creating those visualisations?'.

  3. Include links to github and other portfolio work. This way you can show a lot more of your work than is reasonable to include in a CV.

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My question is how explicit and exhaustive I should be about these skills on my CV?

I found that the CV must be written per not-tech people because the first step is always with a not-tech person. So listing all the frameworks or packages is not useful at all, you need only key frameworks for the company you are applying for should be listed like.

It is a boring step, but when you target a company you may understand their tools looking at the profiles of the employee: someone will for sure list some tools that they use every day and you already know.

So, even TensorFlow could be useless in the CV if that company doesn't use it and doesn't plan to do it. I did a word cloud map too to include this famous software.. but with a tiny font. I never get positive feedback for doing this.

I get my last 2 jobs, thanks to my Github profile: I wrote a CV without to much tech skill details, but with a link to my Github and there I pinned the key projects. In this way, a tech-person could understand better your tech-skills than 100 pages on a CV could do.

So I would suggest to build up some open-source project in your tech panorama as a showcase. It will be definitely a +1

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    +1 A portfolio is worth a lot more than listing skills. List relevant languages/frameworks, yes, but also list only those you’d feel comfortable discussing at length in your interview or using (either for a technical interview and/or more of on the job). – eurieka Nov 13 '20 at 17:04
  • While I was hoping to attract some more attention to this question with a bounty, I was considering awarding an additional bounty to this answer any way. Thank you for your contribution to the site Manuel! – Lilienthal Nov 23 '20 at 21:10
  • Thank you very much, I appreciate it! – Manuel Spigolon Nov 24 '20 at 15:03
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My question is how explicit and exhaustive I should be about these skills on my CV?

Not so much. Resumes are usually read by HR who know nothing about all the things you'll write there. They'll be looking for the tools that fit the job description.

You could rate yourself (Look, this skill is 3/5, this one 5/5, etc.) but it still doesn't mean much as you are rating yourself, especially as a fresh graduate.

You could say you've been using them for X years, but again, you could be a fast or a slow learner.

What recruiters/HR folks are looking for are accomplishments. What did you do with these tools?

Note that you probably didn't have a job yet, so you don't have "work" experience per se, but you have experience with school labs or maybe personal projects. Make a section out of this.

The company has a requirement for SQL Server experience? Tell them about how in that big school project you had to manage simulated requests with a high response rate without dead-locking the database (or you know, something like this).

Being specific about your technical skills is often a waste of time as anyways, you'll end up working in a business that probably doesn't use it the way you did and you'll have to figure it out anyways. Show instead what you can do with those tools.

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