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I'm an Information Technology major. The communication class I'm currently taking has us write up a resume tailored to the field we want to enter. I was wondering, how can I list the proficiency of the programming languages that I know in a way that doesn't take up too much whitespace and is visually appealing?

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  • would a bar graph with years X language work?
    – JacobIRR
    Jun 29, 2022 at 18:19
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    related (possibly a duplicate): What impact does a sharp looking CV have for a technical role?
    – gnat
    Jun 29, 2022 at 18:49
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    Visually appealing? In what way? It's text on a page. Maybe use a different font, like Wing Dings or Comic Sans? Maybe insert a GIF of an exploding firecracker?
    – joeqwerty
    Jun 29, 2022 at 21:51
  • This seems very dependent on your experience and the work you're going for. How many do you want to list on your CV? Are some more important than others? Are you looking for work doing any or all of them? If there's a hierarchy, you should list the relevant ones first with more emphasis, and the less relevant ones after, for instance. But if you want to list 3 languages, that's different to listing 13.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 4, 2022 at 11:54

3 Answers 3

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Don't. Just list the languages.

Firstly, your scale of proficiency might not be the same scale that your employer uses. I've seen plenty of resumes stating expert use of Excel, but when I ask about lookup tables, I get a blank stare... and that's a basic requirement. Tell me the language, and how many years you've used it for. If I'm interested, you may get some technical questions.

Secondly, you're assuming that your resume will land on someones desk. Not often, these days; your resume will be scanned and parsed for useful information. If the parser cannot make sense of a pretty graphic pie chart or bar chart you include, it'll just be ignored. The PDF will still be available to the hiring manager, but you have the hurdle of making the rest of your resume (the parts that can be parsed) interesting enough that the manager wants to pull up your resume.

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One simple way to list the experiences on resumes is as follow:

  • Java (12 years)
  • C# (9 years)
  • Python (7 years)
  • JavaScript (5 years)

Resumes should only contain texts in most cases, and occasionally some additional links to relevant webpages such as personal coding projects on GitHub, or demo YouTube videos for mobile app projects, etc...

For your computer language skills, please simply list them in the text formats.

If you know many computer languages, then list the ones with most experiences on top, and the ones with the least experiences at the end of the list. List one computer language per line along with the number of years of experiences to improve readability.

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    "If you know many computer languages, then list the ones with most experiences on top, and the ones with the least experiences at the end of the list." Personally I'd list the ones that are most relevant to the job I want (or I'm applying for) at the top and the least relevant at the bottom. That makes it easier to quickly scan the document and notice the relevant experience. Otherwise I agree though. Just list the experience and don't try to do something fancy.
    – Dnomyar96
    Jun 30, 2022 at 5:52
  • @Dnomyar96. Sure, if you can tailor your resume per job application, that will be great. Jun 30, 2022 at 6:01
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I'd take it a step farther than PeteCon.

Don't even list the languages, frameworks, or technologies that you know. Put them into the context of courses, projects, and jobs. Not only can you communicate what languages and technologies you know, but you are also communicating when you used them and what you did with them, which gives added context.

If you have the right language and framework keywords in your resume, you should be covered for various automated applicant processing systems that the company may be using to parse the resume before humans read it.

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    I'd actually recommend against this. First off, automatic scanners aren't going to see Angular and jump to Javascript, Javascript needs to actually be typed out. Secondly, if I'm reading 100 resumes, I just want a list I can look at. I'm not going to read every line of your resume to figure it out, I'm just going to skip onto the next one. List frameworks and languages near the top. Details of projects go under the individual jobs. Jun 30, 2022 at 19:48
  • @GabeSechan An automated scanner is only as good as the configuration it's designed to look for. However, as someone who has read many, many resumes for everything from co-ops and interns to senior engineers and engineering managers, seeing a list of skills is useless. Putting the skills into context helps me understand where and when a person used a technology and, if it's been a while since they used a core technology I'm looking for, that they may be using older conventions in their answers to questions and not dismiss that. Jun 30, 2022 at 21:51
  • As someone who's read many, many resumes- I'm not reading a large lists of projects and trying to figure out your skills from that. I want a list. Anything else gets directly discarded. I'm not going to read a dense resume trying to figure out what you know, you need to tell me clearly and directly. If nothing else its a giant red flag on their communication ability. Jul 1, 2022 at 3:54

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