The software industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Therefore, it can be hard to make a dent and differentiate from the thousands of other applicants.
However, you don’t have to toil hard applying to job postings after job postings if you work smartly. Also, the demand for software developers is ever so high.
However, landing a job in this competitive field is not an easy task. The first step towards landing a great job as a software developer is writing a great resume.
With a strong resume, you can get your pick of jobs in the software world and increase your chances of growth in this highly competitive industry.
Hiring managers for software developers will likely see tons of resumes, which is why you need to make sure yours stands out.
Ignoring the importance of a great resume means you’re ignored in place of other candidates with more impressive resumes, even if you’re a pro at what you do.
A strong resume shows software developer recruiters that you have the necessary skills needed for the job, and you will be a valuable addition to their organization.
Hiring managers always try to spot a few highlights on any resume. These indicate that the candidate is familiar with software development, knows the required programming languages, and is aware of the essential development techniques.
Candidates who highlight their projects tend to catch the eye of the recruiters better. Additionally, the experience of the candidate should match the job requirements.
For example, a candidate who has worked on Linux will not be suitable for a company seeking Python professionals.
Companies tend to prefer candidates who can switch to different development processes and require minimal guidance from the onboard development team.
In addition, candidates who show an initiative to work independently are preferred over regular candidates.
However, the largest challenge lies in communicating all this information to the hiring team efficiently during an interview. As a result, most candidates fail to make an impression and miss out on many opportunities.
The key to working around this is an eye-catching and polished resume that communicates all you have to give to the hiring team.
To make this happen, each design element and information slot must be planned and delivered effectively to maximize hiring chances.
The first step to that intent is to organize the content of your resume. Your resume should be clear, and it should reflect your qualities as a software developer to potential employers efficiently.
Your contact information provides hiring managers with multiple ways to reach you. You’ll include the same information as you would on any other resume, with the option to add a link to your GitHub account if you have one.
The contact information you provide will let your hiring managers know how to reach you. Therefore, this section needs to be straightforward, to the point, and concise.
Here, you need to enter your name, address, email address, phone number, and any other platforms where they can reach you, such as a link to your LinkedIn profile.
You can also add a link to your GitHub account, particularly if you don’t have much experience to show on your resume.
Avoid giving away your complete residential address or social media account links unless they add value to your resume. Remember to use a professional work email address, not the one you made in high school.
The resume summary section serves as an overview of who you are professionally and why you would be ideal for the organization. You need to make sure it is engaging to leave a lasting impression on the hiring team.
Hiring managers interview countless candidates, and you need to set yourself apart from the rest to be given a chance at being hired.
Discuss your unique skill set, your knowledge of the particular topic that you specialize in, and any leadership roles you fulfilled in your previous job. Jot down all your notable achievements and project successes.
Many candidates prefer to write their summary at the end when they’ve written the rest of their resume and firmly grasped their strengths as software developers.
Avoid lengthy resume summaries as they tend to put hiring managers off your resume. Your summary should be no longer than four sentences and shouldn’t include buzzwords that seem contrived or optimized beyond a certain point.
The most crucial portion of your resume is the work experience section. It is precisely the part where hiring managers pay close attention to seek out previous roles that match the position they’re hiring you on.
They will go through your work experience section to see if you have the necessary expertise to be an efficient software developer.
Lead the readers through your experience via your resume and give the recruiters real-world examples of your projects.
Your work experience should relate to the job description. You might need to customize your resume, but it will undoubtedly help you get the attention of the hiring managers and increase your chances of getting chosen for the job.
Also, mention your impact on the projects and how you contributed positively in your previous jobs. Avoid including irrelevant work experience that is not of any particular value, such as outdated programming languages that aren’t used any longer.
Technical skills are a vital part of any software developer’s resume. In addition, a large part of any software developer’s work is centered on software frameworks, databases, and other technical skills.
This section will also prevent your resume from being filtered out. Many applicant tracking systems (ATS) only allow resumes that incorporate relevant keywords based on specific technical skills and expertise.
Jot down the skills that you have learned and used in your previous projects. Then, when interviewers ask you about these skills, you will be expected to give them real-world examples.
List only the skills that you are most familiar with in your technical skills section. You may add skills you have some intermediate knowledge about but avoid mentioning those you can’t back up.
Also, avoid creating a long list of skills; instead, keep your list limited to the skills relevant to the job description.
The education section of your resume highlights your qualifications and shows hiring managers that you have accreditation from a college or university.
Your education section should not be too complicated. It should include the degree you obtained, the university you attended, and the years you studied there.
If you have hefty experience in the industry, hiring managers might not pay special attention to your education section.
You can also include certifications that you obtained within your education section. However, if your GPA is below 3.0, it’s wise not to mention it. Also, you don’t have to include your high school education details.
It’s crucial to factor in resume formatting before you finalize your resume and tie up all the loose ends.
Some essential design components can take your resume up a notch and make it pleasing to the eye for hiring managers:
Most applications are passed through applicant tracking systems before anyone from the recruiting team looks at them.
These programs scan resumes for relevant keywords to decide whether the candidate is suitable for the position.
If your resume does not have the relevant keywords, the program will reject your applicant, regardless of your experience and qualifications.
When reading job descriptions, consider the skills, expertise, programming languages, and responsibilities mentioned.
If you have experience in any of these categories, you should mention it on your resume for future reference. Conversely, avoid listing skills and expertise that do not apply to job requirements.
Software developers specialize in particular programming languages, systems, and programs as a part of their profession.
Recruitment managers look out for these particular skills while reviewing candidates. So, it is wise to spend some time and effort detailing your technical skills on your resume.
Additionally, it’s wiser to break down this section of the resume into smaller subsections to help catch the recruiters’ attention and make it easier to spot any specific skills they search for.
Before you start writing your resume, jot down all the platforms, systems, and methodologies you’ve worked with and your expertise in each of them.
You might also want to customize your resume for different jobs, specifically for the technical skills portion.
A software engineer resume that stands out from the rest should show the quantifiable success and expertise that the candidate holds.
Instead of writing generic points, you should highlight your successes using specific details, such as:
Moreover, try to incorporate technologies and quantifiable metrics into your resume to help it stand out to recruiters.
It is imperative that you choose a suitable layout for your resume. Selecting one that helps you create a narrative makes it easy for readers to follow and trail through your resume.
A chronological layout will allow the recruiters to understand your resume, as they prefer short resumes. So, unless you’re switching careers altogether, it’s wise to go with chronological resume layouts.
Try to avoid design styles and elements that can render your resume hard to read. For example, try not to format too much since it can make your resume seem hard to scan.
Most ATS programs might not be able to parse columns and read through them. Meanwhile, a design that is too flashy will make it difficult for recruiters to pick out important information from a resume.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of getting past ATS, you can create an online portfolio for yourself, which you can link out from your resume.
Regardless of the position you’re applying for or where you stand in your professional career, there are a few resume writing rules you need to abide by when drafting your resume:
Try and keep your resume to a single page – most hiring managers prefer tailored resumes that are concise and specific to the job description.
A single-page resume should be enough for most job descriptions unless you have decades of experience to show.
Streamline your resume for each job description and draw focus on your recent experience to keep your resume short
If you have worked on a long list of projects throughout your career, it’s wise to create a ‘key achievements’ section to highlight your most coveted projects relevant to the job position.
Your resume should reflect your qualifications and skills, so make sure that everything is perfect before submitting it.
Proofread each draft, even when you’re sure there are no errors. If you aren’t good at proofreading, have a family member or friend give it a read.
No project is insignificant enough not to be mentioned on your resume. List even the tasks you might have done in school if you find them relevant to your software developer profession.
You can create a dedicated section for your software projects where you can mention your experiences with software development aside from your professional projects.
If you do not have a lot of professional experience to show on your resume, your education, qualifications, certifications, and technical skills need to be highlighted all the more boldly.
In such instances, make sure to create separate sections for education, training, and technical skills and featuring them near the top of the resume where they are easily visible and highlight your value as a software developer.
While a strong resume is undoubtedly necessary, it is just as vital for you to have an updated LinkedIn profile and a professional cover letter to go alongside your resume.
Employers look for consistency in potential employees, so if you have a strong resume but lack in updating your corresponding documents and information, your chances of securing jobs will surely suffer.
If you’re switching careers, there’s no need to hide your experience, regardless of what it may be. The skills that you learned and acquired in your previous jobs are valuable and can prove to be helpful for your next job.
For example, if you picked up some administrative skills at an HR job, don’t be shy to mention them on your resume.
Make sure to include skills that involve project execution and planning from a previous job since they can catch the eye of hiring managers looking for software developers.
Summaries help hiring managers since they tie up your complete resume and bridge the gap between your experience, training, qualifications, skills, and future goals.
Recruiters can make sense of your resume through summaries and better understand how you can be a valuable candidate for the job.
Lastly, if you’re switching careers, it’s better to consider alternative layouts for your resume since chronological resumes display your work experience in progression.
Consider a layout like a functional resume that helps take away the focus from your work experience and gives you enough flexibility to feature your expertise.
Some recruiters prefer chronological resumes with traditional layouts so weigh both options before opting for any layouts.
After you have finalized and prepared your resume, it’s time to move on to the next step and start applying and following-up for job positions.
If you follow these tips that we mentioned and play to the best of your abilities, you’ll surely come up with a resume that distinctly reflects your brand and highlights your value as an expert in software engineering management.
Software developers are in extremely high demand, and there is no shortage of job opportunities for people who possess the relevant skills for this field. However, it isn’t just your skills but how you present them to recruiters that matters.
Even if you know how to build server-side web applications and design cloud solutions, it’s not a guarantee that you will be selected right away. You will need a great resume first!
Ryan is the VP of Operations for DEV.co. He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations–delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.