I'm currently working on my CV and have come across a problem that many others have dealt with: How to rate my skills across several fields. I would like to use a star-based rating system instead of using a few keywords over and over again. I have read some arguments against that, but I still think there are some benefits to it and have been trying to figure out how to make a star-based rating system more informative to potential employers. Here are my thoughts on the matter:
skillssection in my CV mainly consists of software (for example, several Adobe Creative Cloud programs) and some programming/coding languages. However, my proficiency in those programs/languages varies vastly, so I need to include some form of rating of my relative skill.
- I could use a set of keywords (e.g beginner - advanced - expert or basic knowledge - working knowledge as suggested here). However, that wouldn't be fundamentally different from using a star-based rating system, but it is more verbose. (Sidenote: I write my CV in German, where the accepted terminology goes something like this: Grundkenntnisse - Gute Kenntnisse - Sehr gute Kenntnisse - Herausragende Kenntnisse)
- This is for technical skills only. I fully understand that there's no benefit of rating things like creativity, determination, critical thinking et c. using such a system.
- I intend to use the full scale. I see why rating myself 4/5 or 5/5 stars in every category to make me look smart is a bad idea. But by listing, for example,
HTMLas 4/5 and
PHPas 1/5 I make sure my potential employer has an idea of my skills and I won't be given tasks that exceed my knowledge in the respective field.
- I understand that fine differences are hard to justify (why did you use 3.5/5 instead of 4/5 stars?), however it's better than nothing or a worse system like the one described above.
I have read that another good way of avoiding this problem is to list my work experience in the respective field in terms of years or finished projects. However, there are two reasons why this is not a good choice for me:
- I am just finishing my bachelor's degree, so I don't have much work experience worth mentioning. Most of the things i could list here are personal or study-related projects.
- My CV is accompanied by my online portfolio, which includes examples of my creative work. My study-related projects and all the papers I wrote are listed/linked/downloadable on my website. My CV is also hosted on this website, so they are easily accessible from there (I know you may also have some reservations against online CVs instead of PDFs/prints, but that is NOT what this question is about). Therefore, listing those projects in my CV again would be redundant and unnecessarily verbose.
This is my reasoning behind using a star-based system. There are other reasons, e.g. design-related ones. This is why I have been thinking about how to make a star-based rating system work. For example, I could include a legend with explanations for the ratings 1 through 5. Or I could include those explanations in the HTML title tag, so it appears on mouseover.
Which of those options should I opt for? Or is there a better way? How can I make a star-based rating system for my technical skills more informative? What are other ways to utilize such a system to it's full extent?
Please note that I am looking for answers on how to make this work, not for a lecture on why this is a bad idea. I've read those arguments and they didn't convince me. Some examples of 'good' CVs using such a system are also appreciated.