How to write a successful resume as a developer?

Tips & tricks for a complete and successful tech resume

Whether you are a student looking for your first job or an employee looking for a new opportunity. Your resume is your shop interface where you can advertise what you’ve got, your skillset, your previous work experience, your education, and your accomplishments.

Resumes allow recruiters to know more about the candidate. The goal is to catch them to your shop, will land you in a job interview to show who you are and why you are fit for the role. The employer will use the resume as a guideline. So a well-prepared and done resume will lead you to a successful interview.

Let’s build your resume

Recruiters spend about 7 seconds scanning your resume. That means that you must ensure the most relevant information is located at the top. Since it’s quick, there is nothing better than a simple and organized layout to capture the recruiter’s attention.

When it comes to the format, there are mainly 3 formats for a resume. And based on the job and your profile, you need to pick the right one.

Resume formats

  • Reverse Chronological Format

The most popular format, we start with the work experience, followed by skills and education.

👍 Good if you don’t want to change your role or job.

👎 Since it’s the most used format, it’s more difficult to be authentic from other candidates.

  • Functional resume format

Called also the skill-based format, as its name says, the focus is on the skills. They are exposed first before experience.

👍 Good for people with a variety of skills.

👎 It is more time consuming for recruiters to scan it
👎 Since it’s the least format used that may unstabilize your recruiter as he/she is unfamiliar with it.

  • Combination format

In this format, we equally emphasize work and skills.
👍 It’s great for people with a wild variety of skills and experience at the same time.

⚠️ For my case as a software engineer, I chose the combination format as I have a backlog of skills and experience to showcase.

What about you? Which resume to select?

Well, it depends if you are in your entry to the professional world. I’ll recommend the first format (The reversed chronological format). If you are experienced, you can use all these formats. And you can choose based on what you want to show the most to your recruiter. I mean, if you have great work experiences, bring it to light and focus on it. If you have some tech skills that are in demand, the skill-based format may be the most appropriate in this case. But, remember that you need both skills and experience for a tech profile, so the combination format is my favorite choice in this case.

Resume rules

  • Resume length

Usually, a resume needs to be one page. But, more experienced people, like above 7 years of experience, may have additional pages.

  • Resume contact information

Full name; phone number; mailing address; pro email address; link to your portfolio or blog if it exists.

  • Education

Your goal is to show the recruiter that your work performance is outstanding
and you will bring and add your value to the company.

Colledge name; year of graduation; your degree;

👍 Include any honor or award you have received
👍 List college degree even if it is unrelated to the field
👍 The most relevant information towards the top of your resume
👍 If you attended college but never completed the program, only include it relevant to the job role you’re applying for.
👍 Mention, besides, some courses you’ve taken that you judge helpful for succeeding in the role you’re applying for.

⚠️ If you have no education related to the role, try to take online courses in the industry to which you’re applying as achievements.

  • Work experience

If you are a student, you can show:
👍 Completed relevant projects or internships, and if you don’t have them, you
can skip the section completely.
👍 The most relevant and recent experience with company name, job title, city, months, and years worked.
👍 For each experience point, you can add more details such as role and state impact over responsibilities.

👍 Include your experience’s dates to be transparent with your recruiter. List the month and year of your employment.

“Developed the user interface for supervizing software.”
Write instead “Updated the legacy codebase from dojo to react to deliver
features more quickly.”

👍 Quantify impact statements with data

Example: “Refactored the login component to make the join process more performant.”
Write instead “Refactored the login component to reduce the join process from 3 seconds to 1 seconds.”

👍 Avoid using personal pronouns such as I or me

Example: “I trained two developers” write instead, “Quickly onboard two new developers and mentored them during their first development sprint.”

👍 Omit company summaries. Your resume is about you and your work, not your company.

  • Skills

There is two types of skills, soft ones and hard one. Here is the difference:

Soft skills: design thinking, communication …
Hard skills: Java, Angular (and be prepared for questions about those techs, make sure you list only what you know). It’s also important to tell your level for each skill with keywords like advanced, intermediate, or basic.

Otherwise, you can break your technical skills into subsets of:
— Tools(Jenkins, GitHub, …)
— Languages (Java, C++, …)
— Technologies (Web RTC, …)
— Process (Agile, Scrum, …)

  • Awards & Certifications

Awards and certifications are an achievement that shows credibility and ability to excel at something. To list an award, list the award’s name, description, presenter name, title, company, month, and year. If you don’t have awards that are okay, it’s not a must-have.

Certifications are good. If you don’t have experience in the role you’re applying for, you can complete online courses on Coursera or other online platforms and list them in your resume.

💡 Takeouts

✔️ High impact worlds you can use:
— Achieved — Improved — Trained — Earned — Increased — Decreased — Modernized — Resolved — Launched — Built

✔️Content tips:
— Be specific
— Use action words
— Focus on outcomes, not responsibilities
[action verb][noun] from[data] (in order to/which let to[impact]
— Focus on the job role
— Use data and statistics (ex. “Refactored dojo legacy codebase into React which led to a 35% reduction in the package size”).

✔️ Always state your impact:
— Impact statement template : [action verb][noun] from[data] (in order to/which let to[impact. Example of an impact statement: Instead of saying “added keyboard navigation controls” say “Implemented keyboard navigation controls that comply with W3C accessibility standards”.
— Don’t use buzz words because they are often used. They lost their value. Example: Instead of saying “improved the SEO algorithm” say “Increased the accuracy of search index results by 20%”.

✔️ Words to avoid:
— Hard worker — Thinks outside the box — Assisted — Utilized — Work on — Something — I/Me.

✔️Always the most recent at the top

✔️ Resume vs. CV

— CV: is comprehensive, 2+pages, chronological, and always in a fixed format.

💡Preferred in Europe and the UK.

— Resume: is concise, has your career overview, and can be in several formats.
💡Preferred in the US and Canada.

Dear reader, I hope this was clear and useful.

I hope you’re safe wherever you are and your family too! Hang in there. Tomorrow will be better!

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I’m a passionate software engineer and woman in the tech world. Find more about me here: 🔗 I love to help people and share what I know!

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