I'm building my resume, and I would like to put years of experience in a section called "Skills", for example, React, PHP, JavaScript, etc.

enter image description here

I'm not sure about using Stars / Dots / Progress bars (since I would never put 5/5 on something as I know there's always something I didn't know) and I would prefer to use "Up to 2 years", "2-5 years", "5+ years".

I'm wondering what would be a good way to show this, since "Up to 2 years" is still something good.

Maybe using 1 Star/icon for "Up to two years", same icon but different color for "2-5 years" and the same icon with a fire or something for "5+" years? For example, like Duolingo does

enter image description here

  • Please do not use graphs, bars, or stars in your resume to show experience. Personal opinion, but it looks very juvenile. At best it shows that you know a program and at worst it shows what you don't know.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


Experience should be written out.

While graphs and bars may be more visually interesting, they can be equally problematic for a resumé/CV.

Many Human Resource departments use OCR (Optical Character Recognition), to digitally "read" resumes and create a database. Graphs, charts, etc don't get read.

In addition, the goal of any resumé/cv is to be clear in order to get a call back. "2 years experience with Javascript, PHP, and ASP" is much more clear than some nebulous graph or chart.

For example, in the question's sample image... There is no way to tell what the graphs mean. Is the black 1 year? 1 week? 1 month? 20 years? 1,000 years? Or does the black indicate all possible Earthly knowledge in that area? So... what's the green actually equate to?

At best it may be gleaned from the graph that the person is a bit better at front end and Wordpress development, than they are at backend.

But.. if they honestly suck with Front End/Wordpress, that just means they are pretty horrible with Back End dev. But, what if the person is exceptional with Front End/Wordpress? That may mean they are pretty good with Back End just perhaps not as confident.

So, the graph either means you suck... or you're fantastic... there's no way to know which one may be true. Ambiguity is often a sure-fire way to get "passed over" by potential employers.

In addition, using an application/language for any period of time in no way reflects actual proficiency in that application/language. I've had Word on my systems for 30+ years... but I'd still consider myself a "novice" in terms of proficiency within Word because how I use it doesn't require any more than novice knowledge. But hey, I wouldn't be lying if I made a graph to show 30 years of use....

People that read resumés/CVs and do the hiring are not looking at such graphs as a basis for ranking prospective candidates. They read the text of the resumé/CV. If experience and knowledge in specific areas/languages is imperative to you're being hired, you need to clearly define what your skills are in text.

Do yourself a favor and skip the graphs... and create well formatted text describing your proficiencies.

I know there's a "trend" to have these graphs on a resumé/CV.. but in all honesty they do more harm than good because they don't actually convey any real, hard, facts. They are nothing more than superfluous "visual noise" without any benefit.

(Possible added benefit: Due to the marked trend of including such graphs, not having one will do more to make you stand out as an individual rather than a follower.)

  • Do you mean something like this? pasteboard.co/5O0e4076kjnl.png
    – JorgeeFG
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 17:39
  • 1
    @JorgeeFG Yes. That is much more informative and clear than any random graph. If you include such text, and also want to include a graph that would probably be okay as well. The imperative part is to have the text so your qualifications are clear and readable.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 17:44
  • Thank you for your input
    – JorgeeFG
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 17:46
  • 1
    @JorgeeFG First, I wouldn't post personal information like that. Hopefully you can break the link in some what... but Yes, That's a much more impressive resume than something with a random graph. (I, personally, would never have my photo on a resume - it merely makes discrimination by employers easier. If they want to know what I look like, they need to schedule an interview. - but that's your call.)
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 19:32
  • Glad you were still able to delete that comment :)
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 20:28

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