This article was written by our friends at Career Karma.
You have about ten seconds to make a good first impression with the hiring manager or recruiter when submitting your resume for a potential web development or software engineering position. At a glance, what do you want them to know? How will you stand out? In this article, we'll share some tips for putting together a technical resume that'll get noticed.
Technical resume header
We'll start at the top. The header of your technical resume should include your name and contact information, including a professional email address, and a phone number. A professional email address is one that somehow incorporates your name, rather than something silly.
Some people choose to add LinkedIn or Github profile links to their resume header as well. If you opt to do this, make sure that your profiles are up to date and showcase you in a professional light.
Lastly, headshots are becoming more commonplace in resume designs today. But while headshots may be appropriate for some industries, note that it's not required. In fact, it may be beneficial to leave a headshot off your resume in order to leave more room for bullet points that show off your talent.
Projects and work experience
Now it's time to dive into your work experience. You may choose to include a section for projects, which could include on-the-job projects or side projects that reflect your skillset, and one for work history.
The addition of two to three relevant projects from your developer portfolio can help showcase your technical skills. For each project, list the name of the application or project you developed, the stack or other special software skills that you used to create it, and how you took part in the software development lifecycle.
For work experience, remember that your resume is an at-a-glance opportunity to show off your skills on one page, rather than a multi-page document that showcases everything you've done since graduating from high school. For this reason, you should stick to relevant work experience if you’ve been in the industry for a while and highlight jobs that have skillsets that translate well to the position you're applying for.
PRO TIP: Some companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to pull candidates. These tracking systems search for keywords in applications to help determine relevance.
To that end, try to highlight keywords that are used in the job description for the job you're applying for. If you're applying to be a React developer, for instance, try to voice accomplishments using front-end technologies that are mentioned in the job description:
- Less good: "Assisted in the creation of a full-stack application using the MERN stack."
- Better: "Utilized a React Lifecycle method to retrieve data to be held on state in our application and passed down the component tree as a prop object."
In addition, being more descriptive about your work will help you stand out to recruiters and show them that you understand the technology required for the job.
If you're making a career transition or don't have much related work experience, that's ok. You can make a point to transfer any quantifiable skills from previous industries or careers you have worked into programming. When looking for wording to describe job history outside of the tech industry, consider your past experience under the lens of how it relates to where you plan to go.
The last thing you can do to increase your chances of being noticed by a hiring committee is to add a list of quantifiable skills to your resume. Software engineering and web development roles thrive on being able to be analytical in addition to being technical. If you can work both roles into your resume and cover letter, the more likely you will catch the attention of a recruiter.
Analytical skills include things like communication, problem solving, and creativity. Technical skills include things like the tools you use at work or the programming languages or databases you are familiar with.
Putting it all together
Now that you know about what to include on your technical resume, it’s time to think about presentation. Do you want to start with skills at the top, followed by job experience and projects chronologically? Or should you start with projects that pertain to the job and then address job history and education? Should your resume have a more minimalistic design or should you be more creative with it?
There is no one right answer for everyone. It’s all about what works for you and your experience. The one thing that’s important is to get a feel for the employer’s ideology. For instance, a resume with multiple colors, a creative design, and fun font might work for a more casual and creative company, while a minimalistic, professional resume will give off a more authoritative tone.
Once your resume is created, there are services you can use that will run through it and give you a score on how likely it will be picked compared to a job description. This could assist in how you layout and create your content. Services like Jobscan, Resume Worded, and Cultivated Culture have free and premium features you can use to boost your chance to be seen by an Applicant Tracking System.
Just remember: don’t try to give off a personality that’s not true to yourself, really focus on your skills and accomplishments, and always be honest. Best of luck in your job search!
Christina Kopecky is a writer at Career Karma where she focuses on coding tutorials and technical articles.