Listing Your Skills on Your CV/Profiles

So, I recently shared this on LinkedIn, and it triggered a lot of reaction.


  • Selenium
  • Appium
  • TestProject
  • Cypress
  • JUnit
  • Jenkins
  • JIRA
  • IntelliJ
  • Java

This is not a list of skills, this is a list of tools. Listing your ‘skills’ like this is hugely underselling yourself.

Instead consider something like:

  • How to understand the context and choose appropriate tooling.
  • How to automate regression tests|checks using Selenium to bring the team rapid feedback.
  • Able to quickly explore new tools and evaluate what value they could bring.
  • Able to solve testing problems by building tools in Java.
  • Able to implement numerous different assertions using my advanced knowledge of JUnit.
  • Spent more time in JIRA then anyone ever should, meaning I can quickly get up to speed with your JIRA set up.

How do you list your skills on your CV/Profiles?
Do you see any value in posting them this way?


This is actually one of my biggest pet peeves as a job-seeker.

One of my skills is sharing information about what I have found in a way that the team can use. A skill is lateral thinking, so I can find the things that the team has missed.

Once upon a time, I used this kind of thing as a portion of my set of skills on my CV, and the response was overwhelmingly negative. They didn’t want someone who could find bugs and give the team enough information so that they could fix it. They wanted someone who knew what Agile is. Seriously, they weighted a definition of something that nearly everybody knows as more important than things that we learn in years of experience with actual teams!

Once upon a time, in an interview, I asked the candidate-company (Note: I interview them, not vice versa :slight_smile: ) If they ever had applicants who don’t know what Agile is. They looked surprised and had to admit that no, they didn’t. Then they didn’t offer the job. (Which is ok, because I wouldn’t have accepted, for reasons other than this particular question)

So now I just post the stupid list, and try to include the actual skill list in my dragon-slaying stories. (i.e. cover letter, interviews, conversations, etc)


They didn’t like such an approach, sounds like a red flag to me. A place where I’d probably be micromanaged and it would be their way or the high way.

Someone commented about this on the post, I think a section called something more appropriate like ‘Tool Experience’, ‘Tools I Know’ has a huge amount of value, but a list like the above is not skills.

I think a CV could have space for both, and combined they would make a CV more powerful, and potentially stand out.

CVs are hard. Got some ideas bubbling at MoT about how we can make it easier to get noticed.


On my CV I think I switched completely to toolless skills and things I’ve done & improved.
I rarely get the attention of recruiters.

I used to have the second version as listed above. But I am not the kind of person that is creating multiple CVs. So I had to either leave some skills or some tools out. Which didn’t reflect my profile.

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There is definitely a danger of just playing buzzword bingo with your CV and/or cover letter isn’t there?

I sometimes feel like I need to take a shower after doing some of these things, just to get some face time with them to find out exactly what the job entails because frankly, most job adverts don’t really speak to what the job will be like either!


Totally agree with your point Richard. I’m recruiting at the moment and I find CV’s on the whole immensely frustrating. At the end of the day I want to read a CV and get an idea about you. What have you achieved? What kind of things have you achieved ? How have you made a difference to your performance, the teams performance and the performance of the people around you?
That should be the primary driver of CV content in my opinion and then you weave into that the skills/tools for context. I could then see for example that if you haven’t used a tool that we use, thats not going to be a problem because you’re the type of person that would love that challenge.

Listing tools and your daily duties in your CV tells me nothing about you.

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I put a CV together last weekend for the first time in a couple of years. The only way I could complete the task was to set a strict time limit and force myself to finish it in that time - otherwise, I’d be fighting the “it’s not good enough” battle. It was imperfect but I sent it off. I don’t think it reflects who I am or what I can do, but I just hope it gets me to an interview.

I agree with Chris too - I don’t think job adverts reflect the daily reality of the jobs.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this thread goes (and what bubbles to the top at MoT).


I’m onside with everything that’s been said here so far!

I’ve probably said this in another thread, but I got around my somewhat unconventional career by putting a list of my top achievements in my personal statement right at the start of the CV. This basically said “I’ve got experience that you probably won’t find anyone else with in a month of Sundays!” and it was intended to attract the sort of employer I’d like to work with. My actual list of skills/competencies came towards the end of the CV and frankly was intended to impress through its length rather than its detail.

It worked, too. (Eventually.)

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I used to do that. I now prefer to list all the tools and all the languages (I was a programmer a long time back) as one long line. Which helps the headhunters find you.
But then I list my skills, which I do struggle most with to write up. I’m a lateral thinker (and slow) and my latest CV rewrite where I wrote short paragraphs of my skills and shortened the “Tools” section must have worked.
I have seen a recent trend to list 5 things you are awesome at, at the top of your CV and work from there to build out if its your first CV. I assume that works for people, especially if they don’t have experience with many tools yet. But for me, a long list of tools in a “one-liner” is my only buzzword bingo concession.