I am preparing a resume for my job search. I have the following set of skills to list:

PHP, HTML, CSS, jQuery, CakePHP, CMS(Drupal), MySQL, Google API, Flickr API, OAuth

I do not find stacking them all under one skillset title to be attractive. Some of them are scripting languages and some are supporting languages and some are APIs.

How do I categorize them? Are there any conventional ways of doing it in a resume?

  • I think @Aroth gives a good categorization. Also, you could search online for sample resumes to see how other people have it categorized, or you could ask co-workers if they can give you some pointers on this. Sep 13, 2012 at 9:32
  • @TimothyHeyden I dont have any co-workers yet. New hatchling! :) I'll search online for samples.
    – Ivin
    Sep 13, 2012 at 20:21

3 Answers 3


I would categorize core technologies along standard Model-View-Controller lines. Something like:

User Interface (View)

  • HTML
  • CSS

Programming Languages (Controller)

  • PHP
  • JavaScript (this could arguably be placed in the section above, instead)

Databases/Backends (Model)

  • MySQL

However that leaves out a lot of your higher-level technologies, as they don't really fit into any particular low-level category. So you might also have:


  • Drupal
  • CakePHP


  • Google
  • Flickr
  • OAuth
  • jQuery

That's roughly along the lines of what I'd do anyways. The benefit of breaking things up into categories is that it demonstrates that you understand a particular technology and its use, and that you didn't just google for a list of technical terms to include on your resume. You'd be surprised how many people do that.

  • one doubt. Drupal and CakePHP, aren't those two more suited under the title Frameworks?
    – Ivin
    Sep 13, 2012 at 10:12
  • I suppose that depends upon how you look at it, and how you interact with each one. For instance, you can install a vanilla Drupal instance and configure everything you need through the web interface without ever touching a single line of PHP. Or for more advanced projects you could interact with/customize it using its PHP API. One case treats it as a server (you put content into it, but you don't interface with it programmatically), and the other as a framework/SDK. So I could see a legitimate case being made for either category.
    – aroth
    Sep 13, 2012 at 10:25
  • In that case it should go under Framework for me.
    – Ivin
    Sep 13, 2012 at 10:29

Recruiter's perspective: One problem I see when candidates list too many categories is that you end up with too large a 'Skills' section on the resume, and then candidates wonder why their resume is 5 pages long. Being thorough is good, but you also want to be sure to keep the resume to an acceptable length. I've seen skills sections broken down into 10 categories, which ends up taking an entire page for some.

I usually have candidates use Languages, Databases, Operating Systems, and then a catch-all such as Tools. You can include frameworks, app servers, testing tools, those API's, and a host of things in the Tools section.

Keep in mind the initial reader/screener is probably someone in HR that is looking for a particular buzzword, and where it is categorized is often beyond the scope of resume screeners. You certainly want to categorize as accurately as possible, but if it's taking up half a page of your resume you should reconsider, especially (as in the example above) if you only have one single item to list under a category.

  • +1 for distinguishing between how humans read the resume and how parser does. I list buzzwords grouped in 1 line, in order of decreasing expertize. Don't be lazy, if you have lots of skills create custom resume with relevant skills. Don't waste time of hiring manager by wading though irrelevant fluff. Increase your signal to noise ratio of your resume. Anything not relevant to target position is noise for hiring manager. Apr 23, 2014 at 23:24

HR people would not read resumes as a plain text.

To me, there are two separate goals for a Skills section:

  • Human-readable - attracting HR's attention in the first 10 seconds;
  • Non-human-readable, but searchable - providing with a possibility for a keyword search;

These two are very different, and therefore they should be solved in different manners.
So, here's how I arrange my skills in a resume:

  1. On a very top section, just under name and titles, I list a set of outstanding technologies I'm most familiar with. Just a single line answering the question, who am I? I keep it as short as possible since i do expect that an HR would read it entirely.
    And yes, it can be read entirely in 10 seconds:

    Keywords: PHP, HTML, CSS, jQuery, CMS, Drupal, MySQL

    Note: it's great if your resume is customized for a position you're applying to.

  2. A separate section, called Skills, is a comma-separated list. I don't expect anyone to read it deliberately, but I want them listed and be keyword searchable. Something like this:

    3 years | Databases: MySQL, MSSQL)
    3 years | Platforms: PHP, JavaScript
    2 years | SDK's: jQuery, Google, Flickr, OAuth

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