CV Guide: Technical skills

This post is part of a complete guide on writing CVs, dealing with recruiters and attending interviews. The complete guide can be found here:


When you talk about technical skills in your CV it’s important to make a distinction between ‘technology portfolio’ and your ‘ability’ as a programmer.

‘Ability’ is a term, which describes who you are. How do you approach programming, what do you value, what is your approach to development.

‘Technology portfolio’ is a term to describe what you have done. Which technologies you have used and what level you consider yourself to be at with those technologies.


This can be covered in your personal statement as described previously or at the beginning of your technical skills section. Try to describe what is your coding personality or the area of development in which you specialise. Are you passionate about low-level problems or rapid development, performance improvement or fresh new projects. Do you love working in an agile way, do you agree or disagree with TDD, BDD or DDD. All this sort of thing should be covered within your ability statement. This should be kept to one or two sentences maximum.

Technology portfolio

The first question most people will want to answer when looking at your CV is “does this candidate have the right technical experience”. Trying to get this across in a CV is not easy. You need to get across a lot of information using as little space as possible:

–        Technology

–        Versions

–        Number of years experience

–        What level you are at

You should include your Technical skills in your technology portfolio at the beginning of your CV as well as in your Career History. CVs are reviewed by many different people in the process including Recruiters and HR who will want to know if you have experience in a technology but also by technical managers who will want to understand how strong your skills are in that technology.

Many employers become frustrated with CVs that list 100 different technologies as they assume that the developer is lying. It is important to separate the CV into two sections to make the distinction between technologies that you are at an advanced/expert level with and those that you have used once or twice.

In this section of your CV, include every version (or at least the latest version) of each technology you are proficient with. Break down each technology e.g. J2EE comprises many different technologies such as EJB, JSP’s etc. Many busy HR consultants will discard the CV if they do not quickly see the right words they are looking for.

Skill Years Level Skill Years Level
Java J2SE (1.1-1.6) 5 Expert J2EE (EJB, JSP, JDBC, Servlets) 3 Expert
Spring Core, MVC 5 Advanced SQL Server 7/2000 1.5 Advanced

It is also worth noting other technologies that you have come across but wouldn’t consider yourself to have advanced knowledge of in a list after the main table. E.g.

“I have a basic level of skill using: Frameworks such as: Hibernate, OSGi, JPA. Operating systems: Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, Shell Scripting, Languages: C++, C, Scala, Groovy Database: MySQL, Oracle, DB2”


This post is part of a complete guide on writing CVs, dealing with recruiters and attending interviews. The complete guide can be found here:

Originally titled ‘the top 2%’ the copy has been researched, compiled and edited continually over the last five years by the team at RecWorks Ltd. An IT recruitment consultancy aimed at spotting and developing technical talent with a focus in Java and Graduate developers.

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