A good developer CV goes a long way. Although your experience usually speaks for itself, and in the software development industry, you can speed up your job search by being active on platforms like LinkedIn or GitHub, you still need a good resume that shows you fit the job description right away.
And as much as you might think it’s just a page of cluttered information, it is essential. You have only seven seconds to impress a recruiter since that’s how much they spend on average to select which resume is good and which one belongs to a candidate that won’t be considered for the job.
So, you need to be able to highlight your skills well and build your development resume in a way that focuses on the good things. Here’s how.
Start with the most important things
A word of the wise: very often, we tend to list things chronologically, or in the skills section, in no particular order. This is a mistake—you should start from your strongest suits and then list the ones that you’re not particularly good at but are still worth mentioning.
And when it comes to the job experience, always list it counter-chronologically. Instead of starting from the beginning, start from your current or latest position.
Go from left to right, or up to down, never both
Another common mistake is that people write resumes in a way that is a bit confusing but allows them to put more information in less space. But the human eye, especially in Western cultures, is used to reading either from up to down or left to right.
By doing both, you can confuse the reader, and instead of helping them focus on what you want to highlight, confuse them with a lot of text. And if you don’t have enough white space on there, even worse. Every reader needs a break from the text when going through a lot of data.
Now that we’ve been through some general tips let’s see what you should and shouldn’t write about in each section.
Of course, you need to start your CV with some basic personal information so that the recruiters can email you or call you back. Most popular applicant tracking systems today have a pretty good user experience that allows hiring teams to find the information about anyone quickly, but it would seem forgetful and weird not to put in your full name, email address, and phone number on your resume.
The one thing that you can skip is your home address to save on space since recruiters don’t really need it to contact you back. It was common practice to add your home address back in the day, job posts were posted in newspapers, and the applications were sent via postal mail.
Although not essential, it would be nice to add a tagline that summarizes your professional experience and character in one or two sentences. For example, “Software engineer with 5+ years of experience and focus on backend development” relays all the important information into one line and draws the reader in to see the exact details in your resume.
As previously mentioned, it is advised to start with the most recent work experience and then follow with the jobs you had earlier. If you have a lot of jobs you need to list, and they don’t fit on one page, you don’t have to include the ones that are not relevant to the current position. As long as there are no big gaps that you cannot explain, select only the relevant experiences in your resume.
Similar to the other sections, the education section is where you highlight your academic and other achievements. Start with the most important titles, like a university degree, and add any additional institutional education. High school degrees shouldn’t be relevant if you’re a holder of a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
For an engineer’s resume, this is the most important part. The place where you showcase all your development skills and list all the coding languages you are fluent in.
If you have plenty of languages and frameworks you know, it would be nice to add a grading scale, for example, from 1 to 5, of what is your level of proficiency, 1 being elementary knowledge, and 5 being expert level.
Soft skills say more about you as a person than as a professional that is experienced in a particular field. Yet, they should speak about how you would fit in a given team and company culture.
So, make sure to talk about your ability to work in a team, handle deadlines, solve problems and balance the spirit and dynamic of the team, and not about what you like doing in your spare time.
This is also a section where you can list your language skills and additional courses in, say, time management, project planning, tracking, monitoring, etc.
Awards, certificates, or special achievements
If you have done plenty of online courses in particular technologies, platforms, or skills, make sure to add those to your resume. There are plenty of platforms like LinkedIn Learning, Indeed, Google Developers, Coursera, Udemy, etc.
Links to GitHub, LinkedIn or personal websites
Finally, if you have any contributions to open-source projects, your personal website, or other projects you’ve worked on that can testify to your coding skills, make sure to link them in your resume. Or, if a cover letter is also requested on your application, you can list them there if you lack the space on your CV.