Crafting a programmer resume doesn't have to be tougher than writing clean, bug-free code. Just as there are defined best practices in coding, there are clear rules for creating an irresistible programmer resume.
In an industry that's growing by the nanosecond, standing out from the competition becomes a critical variable. Don't panic! We've compiled seven proven tips that will upgrade your programmer resume from 'dismissible draft code' to 'production-ready package' no employer could resist.
As a bonus, we include a programmer resume example that got a real person hired at Phynd and examine why it was successful.
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1. Choosing the right format for your programmer resume
Coding an effective programmer resume starts with a crucial decision — choosing the right resume format to best showcase your skills and experience.
Think of it as selecting the right data structure for an algorithm, the choice significantly impacts your resume's efficiency and readability.
For programmers, two resume formats stand above the rest:
- Functional resume format. This format puts your skills front and center — just what you need in a field where your skills are the alpha and omega. You get lots of space to talk about your hard and soft skills (emphasis on the hard skills). It's a top choice, whether you're just starting out, switching careers, or if you've already mastered a handful of coding languages.
- Combination resume format. As the name suggests, this format is a hybrid approach. It allows equal emphasis on both your skills and work experience. It makes it suitable for seasoned professionals or those who have made significant contributions in certain positions or projects.
2. Don't forget to add a professional summary
Writing an effective professional summary may require some time to brainstorm. After all, its the first piece of writing on your resume that a hiring manager reads.
Tips for writing a professional resume summary:
- Use keywords from the job posting. This is how you catch a hiring manager’s attention and instantly make yourself seem like the perfect candidate.
- Include an accomplishment and quantify it. Think of your greatest accomplishments related to the job, and quantify them whenever you can. Avoid listing dull duties and responsibilities that talk a lot but say nothing.
- Use impactful language. Consider using action-oriented verbs, like accelerated, assembled, or engineered. Also, powerful adjectives can make a big change too. Think logical, systematic, or user-friendly.
Programmer professional summary example
Enthusiastic Programmer and Solution Architect with 5+ years demonstrated experience in designing, architecting and supporting enterprise-level internet-scale solutions hosted on cloud and on-premise technologies. Led the optimization effort and realized a total savings of USD 5M per year. Implemented service auto heal system to auto-recover services from failures. Eliminated 2000+ service failure alerts and reached 200+ ticket reductions.
3. The best skills to put on your programmer resume
As a skilled programmer, you're surely familiar with more programming languages than one would need. It may be tempting for you to fill your resume with an array of hard skills, whether they're needed or not. Would that be effective, though?
Each recruiter is looking for specific skills. So, tailor your skills section, and mention first those programming languages that are relevant to the position you're applying for. As a bonus, you can surely score by adding your proficiency in them.
While the main focus should be your hard skills, remember to add your soft skills, too. These speak loud about your personality traits that enhance your suitability for the given job.
Best hard skills to put on your programmer resume
- Python (Certified Professional in Python Programming 2)
- SQL (expert proficiency)
- ReactJS (advanced proficiency)
- Angular (advanced proficiency)
- PHP (professional)
- Azure DevOps
Best programmer soft skills for your resume
- Attention to detail
- Strong memory
4. How to list work experience in your programmer CV?
When listing work experience, relevance is key. Try to focus on the roles that closely match the job you're applying for. Use keywords from the job description so the hiring manager can easily see your fit, and don't shy away from showcasing your accomplishments — be sure to quantify them where possible.
However, a unique challenge arises when you've worked on confidential projects or signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). In such cases, it's advisable to consult with your manager to understand what you can disclose in your resume.
If your managers aren't aware that you're job hunting approach this with caution. Be vague about the confidential projects on your resume, just enough to entice the hiring manager without oversharing. You could write something like, 'Developed multiple features for a high-profile project under NDA.'
Include a note explaining your inability to share specifics due to confidentiality, but also hint at your willingness to provide more details in person if appropriate. This way, you uphold your commitment to prior employers while still demonstrating your wealth of experience. Remember, discretion is vital, but so is showcasing your abilities!
Programmer work experience example
BMC Software, Austin, Texas
Senior Software Programmer
- Developed several internal web applications, with significant contributions to some subject to an NDA.
- Designed and maintained large-scale solutions using both cloud and on-premise tech. Further details on certain initiatives restricted due to an NDA.
- Led the optimization effort and realized a total savings of USD 5M per year.
- Implemented service auto heal system to auto-recover services from failures.
- Eliminated 2000+ service failure alerts and reached 200+ ticket reduction.
5. Make your resume education section relevant, too.
Even if there were hardly any specific education requirements in the job posting in question, that certainly does not imply “no education”.
Your programming background is important, as well as the way you present it.
Whether you have a degree in computer science or not, you can make your education section stand out by adding relevant coursework and achievements.
Listing education in your programmer resume
Technical University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States
MA in Artificial Intelligence
- Area of interest: Computer Vision and NLP
- Excelled in Software Engineering for Data-Intensive Sciences
- Relevant Coursework: Computer Vision and NLP, Advanced Robotics 4.0, Applied Autonomous Driving, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Mathematics, Software Engineering for Data-Intensive Sciences
6. List relevant extra sections in your programmer resume
When it comes to creating a programmer resume, it's important to include extra sections that can showcase your skills, achievements, and personal interests. These sections can add valuable context and help set you apart from other candidates.
Other sections that may be relevant to a programmer resume include:
- Certifications and training. Include any relevant certifications or training courses you have completed, such as certifications in programming languages, Agile methodologies, or cloud computing.
- Projects. Highlight any significant projects you have completed, including those from school or personal work, that demonstrate your programming skills and creativity.
- Volunteer work. If you have volunteered your programming skills to a non-profit organization or open-source project, be sure to include it on your resume.
- Hobbies. Personal interests, such as building apps, participating in hackathons, or contributing to open-source projects, can also help showcase your passion for programming.
- Awards. If you have received any awards or recognition for your programming skills or contributions, it's definitely worth adding a section to your resume to highlight them.
- References. This is a potential game-changer. If you can, ask someone to be a reference to vouch for your skills and work ethic. Their endorsement can significantly enhance your programmer resume's credibility.
Listing awards in your programmer resume
- Excellence Award in Operations Excellence, Casco Project, February 2019
- Microsoft Gold Star Award, April 2029
- IT Excellence Award, Bredson’s AI, March 2020
7. Include your GitHub on your programmer resume
GitHub is the programmers' favorite playground, a shared space to store their code, collaborate on software projects and manage code files. Adding GitHub to your resume is like opening a treasure chest for hiring managers, offering a glimpse of your coding abilities and experience.
And how to include GitHub on your resume? In the contact info section at the very top of your resume, include a line for your GitHub account, complete with a clickable link.
This provides hiring managers a clear view of your coding prowess, from the comfort of your workspace.
Pro tip: Don't share your GitHub link if your projects happen to be company-restricted or confidential.
Here are some tips to prepare your GitHub for the public eye:
- Show your best work. Even a single project can work wonders. A captivating project becomes a testament to your skills and capabilities, meaning recruiters probably won't dig too deep beyond it.
- Organize your directory. Consistently adhering to Simple Folder Structure Conventions for GitHub projects shows your neat and organized coding style, encouraging recruiters to explore more.
- Include READMEs. A comprehensive README file can serve as a tour guide for your application, explaining what it does and how to use, build, and test it. Consider adding visuals like screenshots or gifs to demonstrate the application's functionality.
- Live demo or installer link. Whether it’s a web or a desktop application, have it live or provide an installer link. This inclusion makes your project look professional and readily accessible — all without running it. If you're balking at the idea of hosting, remember that GitHub provides a platform for simple static websites and excellent release management. So, you can host your installers right there.
- Clean, commented code. Ensure your code is clean, easy to read, and adequately commented. Most viewers may not delve deep into your code, but for the curious ones, your comments will provide valuable insights into your coding thought process.
Programmer resume example
Finally, we believe that a single image can speak volumes — hence, take a look at a real programmer resume sample that helped someone secure a job at Phynd.
This is what made the cover letter successful:
- Strong professional profile. Also called a resume summary, it highlights her role in leading on-site and offshore teams, extensive software development experience, and strong technological and problem-solving skills. This sector-specific summary immediately gives potential employers a comprehensive understanding of her capabilities.
- Hard skills at the top. A technical summary of hard skills is featured at the top of the resume. Doing so makes it the first thing recruiters see and showcases a strong technical skill set from the outset. Listing each skill separately also ensures the resume can be easily picked up in automated keyword searches.
- Powerful experience section. Each work experience is well-described, detailing specific responsibilities and achievements. The use of action verbs and powerful adjectives brings dynamism to the resume.
- A standalone skills section. The full version of this resume includes a separate skills section, allowing recruiters to see at a glance the candidate's competencies in a range of programming languages, design patterns, database technologies, and operating system administration.
If you'd like to see the full two-page version of this resume, click directly on the picture.
Key takeaways: Programmer resume
To sum everything up, here's how you turn an average programmer resume into a job-winning one in 7 steps:
- Choose a functional or combination resume format to highlight your skills.
- Include a resume summary that's tailored to the job and has quantifiable achievements.
- Your skills section should be packed with hard skills and should sit at the top.
- Make sure the work experience section is tailored to the job.
- Make the education section relevant by adding relevant coursework and achievements.
- List extra sections that are most relevant to the position you're applying for.
- Add GitHub to your resume and prepare your GitHub presence.