How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Software Development Role

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Our team has spent hours discussing all the issues and creating a set of resume tips and templates for you. Of course, there is no single recipe for all resumes, so you can modify any of the elements to your liking!

At the same time, there is an unwritten set of rules used by experienced developers and requested by HRMs. Such formalities make life easier. A recruiter will be able to draw a minimum conclusion on the suitability of the specialist after half a minute of viewing the CV. A HRM will compare all candidates using specific features. A developer will not spend too much time and nerves writing a CV.

So we will talk about the effectiveness of the recruitment process. No one wants to wait 1-2 months until the CVs of all applicants for the vacancy are scrutinized. Recruiters and HR scour it first to find must-have tech and can’t see your computer vision talent that you don’t specify directly. Unless they are telepaths.

Employers, in turn, are interested in hiring professional specialists and good employees. They know that a regular developer is not a resume writing pro and shouldn’t be. Also, no one will give you preference because of your skills shown before or after the experience. But if you want to make life easier for yourself and your recruiter and show off your strengths, use our tips.

General recommendations:

Structure. Tech specialists don’t need to have strong design skills to create a resume. Moreover, it is very difficult to modify and upgrade a non-standard creative CV. The main thing is to follow the logical structure and write in plain language. We will discuss this element in detail below.

Text volume. You should only mention relevant experience and focus on projects useful for this position. The ideal volume of CV for the senior specialist is 3 pages maximum. A motivation letter with a detailed explanation of the individual projects can be attached. For junior specialists, 1-2 pages with the displayed courses you have passed and favorite projects will suffice.

Honesty. Sometimes people want to embellish their strengths and show that they are “big bosses” in the project. But you shouldn’t, especially if you’re a Junior. First of all, you need to remember that a competent specialist conducts a technical interview with technical candidates. Second, if you have been hired, you will not be able to perform the tasks already specified in your CV. So it will be a bit awkward.

Photo. This is one of the most controversial suggestions. We believe that photo availability is not critical if you are not working as a waiter or receptionist. Especially if you have a photo only with your cat. So it’s up to you whether you want to use a photo.

We have divided the CV structure into 5 logical blocks. The photo shows the most usual and convenient placement, in our opinion. We’ll look at each block in order.

1. Name and function

Indicate your first and last name and the current position in this block. It will be useful for recruiters if you indicate your city next to this data. Therefore, it will look like this:

Alexei Alekseev

Middle Frontend Developer

Kyiv, Ukraine

2. Contact details

In contacts, the block shows your phone number, your current email address and your instant messengers. You can also add a link to social media, GitHub, UpWork, etc. Do not intentionally hide this data, you complicate the recruitment process.

There are many services where you can find accounts in different social networks by phone number or email address.

2.1. If your Skype ID is killer_elephants999 and your email address is [email protected], think before you write them. It may be better to create separate accounts with formal nicknames like Name. Last name. In the future, it will come in handy more than once.

2.2. Social networks. If your social media pages are empty or contain information that is unacceptable or unnecessary to the employer, you should not list them. Many specialists create separate “ideal” pages for these purposes, where they subscribe to professional resources, post official photos and link to interesting articles or publications.

3. Summary

In this block, you should specify information about how you see yourself, what is your total and business experience, and what you are most proud of and want to do. For instance:

“I am a software engineer with more than 3 years of commercial experience. I have worked on solutions at different scales, including enterprise level. I have significant experience building single page web applications, but I also have a background in .NET.

Also, at the bottom of this “business card” list your development skills and tech stack.

Sometimes developers prefer to indicate their level of knowledge in points or stars. We do not recommend it due to too much subjectivity.

Do

JS: React, Redux, Lodash, Npm, AngularJS, ExtJS, Cordoba, NodeJS, Express;

To build: Webpack, Gulp, Grunt, Docker, Jenkins;

Test: Joking, Jasmine, Karma;

General skills: TDD, OOP/FP principles, design patterns;

Styling: CSS, SCSS, CSS modules;

DBMS: MongoDB, MS SQL Server.

Don’t

4. Work experience

Usually, this blockage is the most painful for recruiters. The most common errors are:

  • Inconsistency between the start and end time of work in different companies and between the total experience in Linkedin and your CV;
  • Large time gaps in work (more than two months);
  • Frequent job changes (almost 2-3 times a year and more often);
  • Overlapping of several undertakings or projects.

To avoid any misunderstanding, leave a comment in the message when sending the resume.

When writing an experience, start with the last place of work. Do not forget that more attention will be paid to it. Follow the reverse timeline. Describe only relevant experience. If you’re looking for a Tech Lead job right now, you can’t indicate the experience of a real estate broker.

Here is an example below:

  • Company title/position
  • month 20XX – month 20XX, place
  • Project:
  • Responsibilities:
  • Technologies used:

Why is it important to add a project description? It is necessary to understand the future employer, the area in which he has experience and what would be interesting for him.

Why would it be better to describe the responsibilities? It seems that the developer has one responsibility: to create code. But the employer needs to understand what the daily duties of the previous position were, what your role was and what skills you acquired. Otherwise, you will be asked more than 20 additional questions about responsibilities during the interview to understand if you face new tasks.

Why aren’t words like Junior-Middle-Senior enough to determine the level? Junior-Middle-Senior is a conditional gradation that changes from company to company. Total experience isn’t the only deciding factor in determining your level. Companies take into account your role in the team, the main tasks you performed and what you accomplished there. The title can be changed to your liking, but whether you can handle new responsibilities is the main point.

5. Additional Information

For a CV, the third and fourth blocks are crucial. But additional information is also nice to have. It will help to show your favorable side, if, for example, you have no projects to be proud of, but you are well known due to your participation in various IT events.

What can you add here?

  • Education. Higher education continues to receive special attention. If you are considering a junior position, this will be a big plus. In addition to the faculty and the title of the educational institution, you can specify the degree, year of graduation, etc. You can also write here the courses taken, the certificates received and the forums and conferences you attended. Of course, if you attended a lot of events, you don’t have to list on an extra A4 page. Write better: “I attend conferences 3-4 times a year.”
  • Languages. For some companies, knowledge of the language becomes one of the main issues. To communicate with a team or a client, a level of English not lower than intermediate is required. At the same time, the beginner-level developer will not be understood: how can someone write code without a minimum understanding of words? Unfortunately, titles like Beginner-Advanced aren’t always informative. It is better to specify “can speak or pass an interview”, and also to indicate if you have taken courses or received international certificates: IELTS, TOEFL, FCE, etc.
  • Items you are proud of. This is more relevant for Senior+ positions. Any scientific and journalistic activity as well as the delivery of conferences will make you a pro with a big name in the eyes of the employer.
  • Pet projects. Employers in all fields ask questions about the practical skills and experience of students and interns. And IT is no exception. It’s great to have pet projects where you can show off your skills and ambitions. If you are a senior and coding is your life, don’t forget to mention it and give a link to your personal GitHub account: it can increase your salary for a small but valuable amount.
  • Links to recommendations. These may be external links or additional documents. Interns and juniors are more likely to appreciate this article: a recommendation from a qualified professional will brighten up the lack of trading experience.
  • General skills. Some companies prefer to test your soft skills during an interview. Nevertheless, employers are happy to understand who they invite. At the same time, this element is optional.
  • Interests. Like the previous block on your soft skills, you can also indicate interests in your professional field and so on. Someone would like you to have a hobby because it gives them more opportunities to make friends with the other part of the team. But it’s only your decision to write it.

We have prepared an example and a CV template for you:

Model

An example

Everyone has their own style and tastes. So you can create a resume your way. You can edit the items or not write any at all. However, our experience shows that standardized CVs make the recruitment process faster and easier for all parties.

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