The primary goal of any software developer resume is to show why a candidate is the best person for the job. As with any profession, you might have great skills and credentials, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to weave them into a great resume.
Resume writing is an art, and a hiring manager is looking for something to catch his eye. By including the right information in the right order, your software developer resume can stand out from the pack. Here are the five components of an effective software developer resume:
1. Introduction (professional summary): Some people feel that the “objective” portion of the resume is no longer needed since it often ends up being filled with keyword “fluff,” but if you decide to include an introduction, keep it short and sweet. This section can be used to clarify who you are as a professional and highlight your best qualifications. It might be relevant to include this type of introduction if your career is headed in a direction that may not be obvious from the rest of your resume, such as a senior web developer trying to secure a mobile development position. It can also help to summarize a resume that is necessarily long. Whatever you do, avoid clichés and generalities in this section, such as: Seasoned software developer and multitasker seeks challenging position in a dynamic, exciting environment.
2. Skills: Put your technical skills (e.g., languages, APIs, databases, and other tools you feel you have mastered and frequently use) right after your introduction to make it easy for hiring managers to see that you have the technical finesse it takes to do the job. These skills should also act as a list of keywords to help your resume get noticed. Many candidates seem to try to list everything they have ever done or even totally irrelevant things. Doing so clutters the skills area and makes it hard for the reader to see what’s most important. Leave off the skills you haven’t used in a while or that can be inferred from your resume (like word processing or creating spreadsheets).
3. Work history: List your work history in chronological order, starting with your current or most recent position. Be sure to include positive and specific examples of how your work solved problems and helped create efficiencies for the employer. Much like your skills listing, try to emphasize the most recent, relevant experience. While the fact that you may have worked with DOS might still have some relevance, it’s not the most relevant. You should probably emphasize your experience working with cloud computing or big data instead.
4. Education: Even though many potential employers will want to know your level of education, that’s not usually what they check first for software developers. Technology-related education becomes less relevant quickly because the industry changes so fast. So, put your education information near the end of the resume. Make sure to include any current certifications as well. Leave out anything irrelevant or outdated. List your GPA only if it’s very high and you’re a recent graduate: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from MIT 3.87 GPA (class of 2011), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD).
5. Personal interests: Many candidates include a laundry list of personal interests. If you list personal interests, they should be relevant to the job or the kinds of things that employers want to see, like community work or volunteering. Non-relevant personal interests just take up valuable space. Here’s an example of the right way to list your interests: Learning website design in my spare time, Lego Mindstorms and experimenting with artificial intelligence in LISP. If you’re a software development job candidate with extensive skills and work experience, creating a concise, eye-catching resume might be tricky because there are so many interesting points you could include. Read the job description carefully, and target what you put on your resume to the specific developer job you’re applying for.
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This post has been updated to reflect more current information.