Q: Should the skills section of a resume include levels of proficiency? I am vaguely familiar with a certain programming language, but I am afraid that if I list it, people will think I am an expert. A: For the most part, I recommend that your technical skills section include just relevant technologies with which you have a certain (higher) level of expertise. In this case you don’t need to outline your skill level – it can be assumed that you’re fully proficient in all technologies you are listing.
If you find that you need to include technologies that don’t fall in the “expert or darn near close” arena, than you need to qualify them. This is especially true if you are applying for positions that require a certain level of proficiency. In that case, you can simply list your level of proficiency next to the technology.
Having said all that, the most effective way to communicate a level of expertise is to provide a specific example of how you have used a certain technology. Qualifiers are subjective – your “expert” could be someone else’s “intermediate” – so placing your skills in context (via strong bullets associated with each position) is a clear way to show your level of proficiency.