5 Resume Tips for Software Developers Seeking Employment!

As we expand, the CodeClouds hiring team find themselves working through countless amounts of resumes. Unfortunately, like many hiring teams discover, the amount of succinct, grammatically correct and visually appealing submissions are far in the minority.

There likely are many who were passed over for a job at CodeClouds who would have made a great addition to the team. I have no way of knowing if their resume is difficult to read, isn’t detailed or emphasises irrelevant details.

The positive thing for those who put the necessary time, care and customization towards their resume is that they have greatly increased their chances of receiving that follow up call, email, recruitment test and eventual interview! Time spent on a resume certainly shows and is already representative of a great work ethic. I understand that applications can be tough, especially when submitting multiple in quick succession. If your resume shows the effort it takes to customize something for our company and the concerning position, it’s a positive sign.

To help software developers seeking employment, here’s a few tips that will greatly enhance your chances of reaching the next point in an application process.

1. Avoid listing every single thing you’ve worked with

Avoid Listing

Like a literary cloud of smoke, listing every programming language, framework, tool, CRM, CMS or app type you’ve ever worked with doesn’t bolster your resume, it makes you harder to see. Why? Because it tells me nothing. Such a list gives me no indication of your actual expertise with each piece of technology and therefore actually takes away from those you’re adept in.

Not to mention these lists are usually bullet pointed, meaning you’re wasting valuable space in which you could’ve given me in depth details that clarify your expertise. Further, anything listed that doesn’t relate to the job itself tells me you either haven’t taken the time to customize your resume or you’re unsure of what the role requires.

The entirety of a resume should be emphasising those areas in which you can provide the most solutions or value for. Of course, it may be good to mention you have relevant experience in other areas. For example, if you are predominantly a PHP developer and have also adapted your knowledge to WordPress development, this may be worth mentioning. Most companies will hire PHP developers with WordPress skills.

2. Quantify previous development work

Firstly, let me explain what employers are looking for when they want statements that quantify your experience. Quantifying gives a measurement of your expertise and may relate to:  frequency, data, range, scale, percentages, dollar amounts and time. Here’s some basic examples of bad and good achievement statements below.

Bad

  • Simplified a complex user interface

Good

  • Dramatically simplified a complex user interface for (company name) without affecting functionality. Increased conversion rates from 6 – 8%

Bad

  • Was the team lead of four developers

Good

  • Was part of a Laravel project that expanded over 4 months. My leadership kept the team motivated and productive throughout the entire period, all deadlines being met with quality assurance.

Further, remember that both of the above “good” statements cannot sit alone and should be a part of a list of meaningful statements describing your experience. This was to display the importance of scrutinizing each line of your resume, each statement is another opportunity to convince an employer you’re a valuable pick.

3. Include a Cover Letter

Include a cover letter

It’s 2019, unless you are completely new to the workforce, everyone should know that a cover letter is an essential part of an application. If you’re hiring through a recruitment site, you may receive some statistics about the applications submitted that week. It will be something like “x amount of applications were submitted, 80% included a cover letter.” You probably already assume this, but that 20% who didn’t include a cover letter were also the 20% who were never considered.

Here’s a real example from a cover letter that still sits fresh in my mind. This wasn’t specifically for a developer role, but we were looking for someone with a mix of IT knowledge and communication skills. The first sentence “I’m your man” made an immediate impression on me and was followed by a short succinct cover letter explaining exactly why he was the person for the role. He was given an interview and now works as a writer for CodeClouds.

Your cover letter should:

Display your passion

Why is it that you want this role and what does it mean to you? Does the role align with your personality? Industry of interest? Software development viewpoints? Is there anything about the company that stands out to you? If you still cannot come up with anything, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re not passionate about any aspect of the role, then it’s probably not for you, move on and continue your job search.

Explain why you’re the solution

Remember that when a company is advertising a role (especially when the role suggests they are expanding), they’re doing it to find a solution for a current goal/problem. For example, job advertisements for iOS developers likely indicate an increase in demand for iOS development services. Looking for junior developers indicates the desire to plan for the future. Whatever the case, bring forth your relevant experience or qualifications that show why you’re the solution.

Give examples of your skills

Consider including a story that shows your development skills in action. Weave in your talents, skills and expertise by describing a task you completed or a challenge you overcame. A common query is around how much personality you can include. Personality is fine and so is humour, but it shouldn’t be the main emphasis, professional attributes should always come first.

4. Provide links to work experience and coding repository

Provide links to public repositories you’ve made contributions to. This may involve your GitHub, Stack Overflow or Bitbucket accounts.  Some employers may ask you to provide a coding sample, so it’s important to keep any coding accounts updated, when needing to reinforce the credibility of your resume.

When discussing your experience, provide appropriate links. Appropriate meaning that it doesn’t reveal code you’d like to keep private or break the confidentiality of previous parties you’ve worked with. Appropriate links usually involves app store links or website URLs of previous projects. The more specific your links are, the better it will support any quantifiable statements you’ve made.

5. Formatting

Formatting expectations can differ for roles of different status. For example, when advertising for roles that require a minimum of 5 years experience, anywhere between 1-3 pages is acceptable. When advertising for the role of a junior developer, I would expect almost everything I need to know within the first page. Whatever the length, the formatting needs to be professional, consistent and easy to follow. This means that font sizes and colours are consistent.

An effective way to format your resume may be:

  • Professional summary
  • Experience in (list of technology you have most experience in)
  • Experience (examples and quantifiable statements
  • Exposed to (relevant technology you are familiar with, but not your specialty areas)
  • Soft/Other Skills (written or verbal skills are sought after!)
  • Education
  • Hobbies and Interests
  • References

Finally, it’s worthwhile submitting your application in PDF form. Don’t assume the hiring company uses Microsoft Office or other common content platforms. PDF’s guarantees that the structure of your resume isn’t altered by an external program and is generally much quicker to access than other file types. Especially when everything else was flawless, you’d be disheartened to discover your application wasn’t seen due to an odd filetype!

At CodeClouds we are always looking for new and exciting talent. The CodeClouds family is constantly expanding, meaning that if you’re a promising PHP developer, Shopify developer or programmer of any kind, we already do or will have an opportunity for you. Of course, if you want to better your chances of joining the team, ensure you’ve incorporated the tips above.

I am a workaholic, innovative, motivational leader and a truly exceptional entrepreneur.

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