The tech industry is growing so fast you can just put the developer in the email subject line and you’ll get a job in Silicon Valley, right?
Easy there, Mr. Robot.
Demand for software developers is the highest ever, but so is competition. You’re no longer up against local talent. You’ll have to face off coders worldwide.
Writing the perfect resume is paramount—and this includes picking the right resume formats.
Sure, coding skills can be easily verified. Then again, recruiters aren’t into talent assessment, they’re into talent acquisition.
Use our resume writing hacks to make your resume read like Quake 3 source code. Beautiful but efficient. Follow this advice and you’ll get a job faster than you can say Fast InvSqrt().
How To Write The Perfect Programmer Resume?
We sorted our tips b the impact. Ignore all and you’re stuck in the recruitment black hole.
Get the first one right and your resume will survive the first brute-force test.
Apply all and you’ll be tired of winning.
Fix Grammar And Spelling Errors
About 58% of employers auto-reject resumes that contain typos. If you’re not a native speaker, you might get some leeway, but for everyone else, language skills are unfortunately treated as a pretty good proxy for general cognitive ability, attention to detail, and how serious you are about the job.
Another study, by Aline Lerner, revealed that spelling mistakes and grammar errors matter more than anything else on a coder’s resume. The effect is larger than that of the prestige of a college or previous employer.
Let that sink in. Typos are a greater turn-off than MIT is a turn-on. Sure, correlation doesn’t imply causation and I’m pushing the conclusions to their extreme. Feel like tempting fate, though?
Hit F7. Run a basic spell-check. Follow up with tools like LanguageTool and Grammarly. Ask friends to proofread your programming resume. Reread your resume every now and again. You can also hire a professional resume proofreading services company like ServiceScape to do perform the job.
Don’t List Responsibilities, Talk About Achievements.
If you’re a car salesperson looking for a job selling cars, employers know what you did. They only want to know how well you did it.
But you’re not a car salesman, you’re a hacker. Employers do want to know what you did. They also want to know how you did it. And, how well you did it.
Being vague. Don’t make your work experience section read like a laundry list of duties and responsibilities.
Use the Problem–Action–Result method to talk about your experience, e.g., Reduced X by 50% by implementing Y.
Here’s an example for you to compare
Created and implemented a service that scrapes product opinions and recommendations from discussion boards. The service used [technology X] to find relevant threads, removed off-topic comments with 90% accuracy, analyzed sentiment through [technology Y], and created structured SQL databases with opinions for each product.
Responsible for creating a software application for data collection. Tasks included: architecture design, integration with relevant applications, UX design, database management, and data modeling.
The right example gives the employer what they need: the what, the how, the how well.
The wrong example is pretty much a collection of words: you kind of understand each word but, in the end, it’s impossible to imagine what the candidate had in mind.
Pro Tip: Always use active verbs (or, power words) to talk about each job. Quantify whenever possible. Numbers speak louder than words.
Need to learn more? Have a look at this programmer resume sample.
Tailor Your Resume To Match The Employer’s Needs As Expressed In The Job Ad.
Resumes that are generic and don’t seem personalized for the position are rejected by 36% of employers. Without blinking an eye.
You need to tailor your resume to the position you are targeting. A generic one-size-fits-all resume will get you nowhere. You need to read the job description, highlight the most important keywords (these might include programming languages, skills, years of experience, etc.) and mirror the language of the job ad on your resume.
Don’t Over-Optimize Your Resume To Beat The ATS Test
Resumes that copy a large amount of wording from the job posting are rejected by 32% of employers.
Going too far with tailoring your resume. Yes, resume keywords matter a whole lot. There’s a chance your resume will go through an applicant tracking system which sieves out non-relevant applications. Use too few and your candidacy is non-relevant. Use too many and your resume will be treated as spam, not ham. Remember, the end reader is human.
No brainless copypastas. Pick the most important keywords from the job description. Work them into descriptions of previous jobs. Don’t worry if you can’t showcase a particular job-specific skill. Include a substitute and sprinkle your resume with a few position-relevant keywords you find in similar job postings.
Include A List Of Skills.
In the end, programming is a pretty level playing field. It’s all about skills. Make hiring you a no-brainer by providing the employer with a skills list that delivers the goods.
Hiding what you can do.
Don’t just plonk whatever skills come to mind on your resume. Remember to tailor the skills list, too. Mention the most important skills listed in the job when you talk about the previous jobs you’ve done. Repeat them in the skills list. Finish the list off by adding the remaining skills you possess and were noted in the job ad.
If you’re an entry-level programmer, self-taught coder, or a computer science graduate, you can mention what languages and technical skills you covered at university and learned on your own.
However, the longer the list, the less credible it is. Pick them wisely.
Here’s a quick sanity check. Take the number of languages and tech skills and divide them by years of experience. See that example in the pro tip? Assuming that candidate did three years of college, he’s spent no more than half a year doing each. And that’s being generous! Focus on your strongest skills and don’t flood recruiters with stuff you’d fail at in the interview.
Use A Professional-Looking Email Address
That’s right, the days of being firstname.lastname@example.org have ended. It’s time to kick things normcore—email@example.com.
Why? Because 31% or employers will reject applicants with inappropriate email addresses.
Include Exact Dates Of Employment
Thirty-one percent of employers will auto-reject resumes that don’t include exact dates of employment. Why? That looks fishy. Like you were hiding something. And let’s be honest—that’s exactly what you’re doing!
Add specific start and end dates for each position you’ve held. Month/year works fine:
Junior Front-End Developer | Code Conductors, Inc., New York City
February 2015–December 2017
Transparency first. Be honest and you will find the right job. That goes out to you, in particular, rookie!
Don’t Include A Photo On Your Resume
Sure, job hunting feels a lot like Tinder—mostly swipes left with the occasional match here and there. But let’s get things straight: you are not trying to get a date, you’re trying to get a job. Skip the photo. About 13% of employers reject applications with photos.
You’re not a model, you’re a hacker.
The state suggests that only a dozen of employers out of a hundred have a problem with photos. However, the number is about auto-rejections only. Plus, it’s probably underestimated. For legal reasons, few employers will accept resumes that include photos. It’s not worth the risk in terms of potential charges of discrimination.
Plus, if they really want to know what you look like, they’ll just google you. Don’t waste valuable real estate on photos, use it to provide more information on your background.
Skip Your GPA
Unless the job ad clearly states you have to disclose your grade point average, don’t do it. It doesn’t carry that much weight. Plus, you’d need it to be above average. Otherwise, you’ll get pwnd by anyone who’s got .01 on you.
However, if your GPA is damn close to a perfect 4.00 score, you might break this rule and try to leverage your academic achievement. Just bear in mind that graduating with honors would work better anyway.
The Ultimate Hack: Get Experience
I know you rolled your eyes. I get it, it’s a vicious circle—it feels like you need the experience to get experience.
According to the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016, employers look for this information on your resume:
- Job Experience – 67%
- Cultural Fit – 60%
- Cover Letters – 26%
- The prestige of College – 21%
- GPA – 19%
NACE’s Job Outlook 2017 suggests that, in fact, nearly 91% of employers prefer that their candidates have work experience. And 65% of the total group prefer their candidates to have relevant work experience.
Aline Lerner’s study cited before, shows that the prestige of working at a top company (positive) comes in second, just after typos (negative), in terms of impact.
It’s clear that what employers mean by experience is a blend of what you can do and who you did it for.
You really need to get your work history and skills sections right!
You know what makes writing a resumed way easier? Having something to write about in the first place.
Doing internships matters a lot. Especially, if you’re doing an industry-relevant internship.
Personal projects won’t necessarily take you from zero to hero, but a +1 here and there add up. There’s plenty of open source projects you can work on. Get active on GitHub. Reach out to industry insiders. Do some freelancing.
There’s a lot to think about. But hey, there’s an app for that.
Use the online resume builder by Uptowork and stop worrying about bugs in your resume—bugs you didn’t even know about until now.
The Uptowork builder will guide you through the writing process step by step. It will provide you with tips and hacks from hiring experts to help you make the most of each section.
Downloadable resume pdf? Check. Online resume? Check. Application tracking capabilities, 20+ templates, and a matching cover letter? Check, check, and check.
You rock at creating code. Up to work rocks at creating resumes. No need to worry about learning everything on your own. Automate.