The golden rules of writing a good software resumé

Job seekers in the IT industry need to formulate an excellent professional resumé, just as anyone looking for a job. In this article, we will focus on a well-written developer resumé and what it encompasses.

Marija Neshkoska

Marija Neshkoska

So, to stand a better chance and get the job position you apply for, you must perfect your resumé and showcase your best qualities and relevant expertise. It should look be simple and rich at the same time and grasp the attention of the hiring manager immediately with all most relevant aspects.

State your best traits intentionally

Same as the job description shows specific information for the job position; your resumé should also shed some light on specifics like skills, expertise, experience, and all else you find relevant.

Place particular importance on all programming languages or technologies you use the most or are best at. You intend to impress the recruiters and manager by primarily presenting your most vital and best skills.

Do not just try to list everything without a specific intention in mind. Instead of just saying that you excel at working with a particular programming language, enrich these statements.

You can do this by asking why a specific programming language was beneficial to your upgrading. And, you can talk about the challenges you resolved through that programming language or technology.

Let’s say you work with React.js. Next, try to elaborate on JavaScript and related frameworks, such as Redux, React Suite, or similar, all within the skill’s context. Show that you know what you are talking about.

To sum this up, do not just stop at listing points briefly, but try to elaborate on them to provide richer context.

Keep the audience engaged and interested

It is crucial to keep the resumé readers engaged. Keep in mind that a poorly structured document like this does not have a high chance of retaining the reader's attention.

You try to read your resumé after it is written and finished. But would you say it keeps the attention of the reader? Does the reader get the crucial information, i.e., the points you excel at? Is it a captivating easy read, yet incredibly informative at the same time?

If you would not go through a lengthy multiple-page document, don’t write the resumé in that way either.

If you wouldn’t skim through redundant, trivial points, edit them or replace them with something better phrased. And most importantly, if the listed facts do not reflect what quality developer you are, immediately revise and change. Simply state all you do best, how you do it, why, and everything else falls into place.

Make it look simple and significant at the same time

A simple, practical, and functional resumé is always a win-win situation. Like the above point, lengthy elaboration is not the proper resume format.

The ideal format must be simple. Managers want to read it in a few minutes tops, and it should provide the core and the essential information about your experience as a developer.

For example, there is no need to mention every minor task you ever worked on. And, no need for over-explain about every client you ever had, or at least not in great detail. Choose the most relevant experiences to mention.

Note aside all your experiences and work engagements, clients too, and mention how you started, but focus on all the renowned clients and significant tasks foremost. Sometimes a single engagement is impressive to stay in a resumé if the client was notable. Still, sometimes even long-term engagements are not worth mentioning if that work experience did not bring any significant upgrades in your skills.

Evaluate what would be suitable for the manager and recruiter to see in this application case. And most importantly, always mention the work experiences that are also relevant to the position you apply for.

Think of the resumé style too

Yes, essential and valuable information is a must-have for a resumé. But, how it looks visually is also very important, even though this might seem not so urgently crucial to you.

For example, you can organize the contents chronologically, with one part narrative and part bullet points, or simply by relevance and importance of past work experiences (similar to a simple portfolio). Depending on what you consider the most important to reflect yourself and your skills, you can tailor your resumé accordingly.

Suppose you go for the chronological order of past experiences. In that case, you might want to consider a reverse order if your most recent experiences are a top priority for this role you are applying for. And as it always goes, the recent work experiences usually become most relevant because, over the years, you perfect your skills more and more.

If you go for the combination of bullet points and narrative, keep it simple. A resumé is not an essay, and all narrative sections you write should just be complementary explanations to the bullet points.

Or, if you decide on a portfolio type of format, use links to all the websites you created or large projects you finished and make them clickable. The recruiter and manager will be glad to quickly browse through your work history presented in a valuable and straightforward way.

Boast about yourself accordingly

If you have work experiences that make you incredibly proud of yourself, this will reflect on the resume readers.

Most of the time, job seekers make some work experiences look much better than it really was, regarding relevance and similarity. The opposite of this is also a mistake or oversimplifying your most essential experiences.

Everything that establishes you as a developer should be included in the resumé. All relevant job titles have to grasp the attention of the hiring manager.

If the job requires strong skills and great experience with mobile apps, for example, emphasizing the mobile apps you created, and so on.

Write the description of education, expertise, and soft skills concisely

If you write all the codes in a practical, simple, functional way—do the same with the points in your resumé.

Everything must be easy to read and understand. Write the education section brief and short, then elaborate a bit more with the expertise part of the course, and again, use simplicity for the soft skills. Avoid too many textual segments because most of those sentences will be redundant and even remove the main focus from the crucial expertise points.

Use the same simplicity for your contact details, but remember, the work experience allows for a hybrid format of listed bullet points and a brief narrative about them.

Know that everything matters — even the most basic information holds a value

We have mentioned above how some work experiences are not crucial or relevant to include. But, there is a helpful tip here if you don’t want to include minor experiences. You can go over those minor work experiences to see if you could turn them into something relevant.

Try to see all little small details in those simple and novice work experiences you have. You could adjust them to appear relevant if there is a connecting point to the job you are applying for now.

For example, maybe you started your career with some simple technical skill, or maybe with Python, but now you progressed to a lot more complex programming languages. Use the chronological and hybrid format, or mention how you started and what followed next after the initial Python novice experience.

Build up the complexity as you list all points in that order—simplest to the most complex.

There is some room for creative structuring here if you want to include your breakthrough in development.

Check if there is a particular emphasis on the relevant experiences

Again, it is good to double-check if you placed the proper emphasis on the most relevant work experiences in your resumé.

Perhaps you value your loyalty to a company and want to mention how you do not hop from one job to another too fast. Or maybe you are most proud of your total number of years of experience, i.e., your senior developer expertise. Lastly, you might want to accentuate the products themselves, like a portfolio with links showing the websites you created, the apps, and similar.

When you stand by what you value about your career, the hiring managers will recognize this and ask about that exactly. So, it should be a genuine pleasure for you to talk about this if they ask you.

Make sure you stand out from other candidates before you finalize the resumé

As the last final check, make sure you are somewhat of a brand yourself.

If not literally, think of it this way: if someone wants to hire you, what is most recognizable about you? If people talk about you in the work context, what would they say is your prominent skill?

Or, what makes you the best developer in some field specific field? If someone recommends you for a job, what is the skill they associate you with? What is the development talent you have that the hiring managers want from you as well?

You have undoubtedly read the job description in detail, and you adjusted your skill descriptions to fit the requirements for this position. If all looks well structured, do one more check to see if your ‘brand’ or expertise is the main thing that stands out right away.

The takeaway

Before you start writing the resume, or while you do this, it is good to do career management research and see if you need to improve something about your job search.

Resumé writing takes some time if you want to present yourself in the best light possible. There is, of course, the focus on format, structure, what to include or not, how to phrase specifics, and so on.

And altogether, it makes the perfect reflection of your overall expertise and experience.