How much experience do you need in a language before you can put it on your resume? There is one language I'm in proficient in (Java) which I would definitely put on the resume but say I took I couple of semester courses in college which involved extensive programming in C or self-taught myself C# but have written no meaningful projects in it, can I put those languages on the resume without having the employer laugh at it or perceive it as resume inflation?

  • 4
    résumé help is off-topic per help center
    – gnat
    Nov 26, 2013 at 17:44
  • @gnat well ok but the upvotes show that this is a useful question to dozens of people, and it was migrated to here in 2011. If it can't be reopened here, can it be migrated to another site?
    – krubo
    Jun 2, 2019 at 18:52

3 Answers 3


You can always list languages (as well as other skills) in tiers on a resume:

Proficient:    Java, Lisp
Familiar with: Perl, C++

As a guy looking at a resume, I will appreciate both the honesty and the effort; and when bringing you in the first question you usually get asked is to rate your individual language proficiency more precisely, orally or on paper.

  • 26
    +1 : In my resume I have languages separated like this : "Languages :  Main (knowledge and daily experience) : ...  Experienced: ...  Used in the past: ...  Interests and Curiosity: ... " I've been told by recruiters that it's a good idea and they will ask the same from other candidates (and i got the job).
    – Klaim
    Nov 11, 2010 at 20:57
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    This is what I do as well. Jul 12, 2011 at 6:36
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    I use Exposure to to describe the languages I have used briefly.
    – StuperUser
    Jul 12, 2011 at 15:28

I include any language which I have used as a professional; i.e. any language I used while paid to write in it. And I don't list competance levels. A resume is an introduction; If I say "Computer languages: Algol, Basic, C, C++, Cobol, Fiemaker, Fortran, and Foxpro", it's up to the interviewer to ask "Just how much Algol do you know?" Probably more than any other person he's ever interviewed. It's sort of a list of discussion topics, not an expertise claim.


I find that the more technologies a candidate lists on their resume - the less they actually know!

Knowledge of specific technologies is important but experience and knowledge of methodologies is more important.

I would focus on communicating your experience (while mentioning the technology used), and what you know about how software is developed, rather than making lists of technologies and assigning arbitrary levels to them (beginner, intermediate, etc.).

To answer your question - don't list any. Or, list only those that are mentioned in your experience.

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    sadly this advice will get your CV binned by an HR droid at many a company
    – jk.
    Jul 12, 2011 at 14:07
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    Sadly, I agree. But, then I'd argue you don't want to work there, anyway!
    – jkoreska
    Jul 14, 2011 at 21:18