How to write a CV if you are a software developer
19th Sep 2018
I have been asked on numerous occasions, ‘What structure a CV should be?’ and ‘What content should be or shouldn’t be included in a CV?’. Are you a developer who hasn’t written a CV in quite some time? Or you may even be a developer who has never written a CV, this is your ultimate guide on how to write a CV if you’re a software developer.
Firstly, let's address common CV myths. The main CV myth I hear on a regular basis is about the length of a CV, ‘I should keep my CV to one or two pages’. If you are a developer with over ten years’ experience in a range of different contract positions, this is an impossibility. If you need to take four or seven pages to get your career history down on paper, then do so.
Another myth that seems to affect the way people write CVs, is that a developer needs to write down every technology they have ever had experience with no matter how brief it was. Covering a module of C# in university doesn’t mean you should put it on your CV. Some companies will ask you to back up every skill you have on your CV, so, if you can’t do that, then remove it straight away.
Remember to only include skills you are competent in.
- Begin with a summary outlining who you are, what your current role is and what sort of challenge you are seeking in your next job.
- List the technical skills that you have commercial experience with. Some developers like to create a rating system or assign levels of competence, but I would recommend that you don’t do this. There is a risk with creating a rating system to your levels of competence. You may underestimate your skills or overcompensate for them, let the interviewer judge your skill level.
Also, do not list skills that are irrelevant e.g. MS Excel.
- Remember, employers, are keen to see what your actual role was in a web project. Keep the entries specific to your IT/developer career. Employers won’t care that you worked in Asda when you were seventeen. Ensure your history is relevant to your developer career.
Education and Certifications
- Make sure you include any training you have completed in your own time at your own expense. Employers love developers that are motivated and continually improving their skills.
- Including an ‘Interests’ section is a good idea but only if it something that stands out. Listing interests like ‘socialising with friends’ or ‘going to the cinema’ are pointless. However, if you are an active member of Belfast JS then this is well worth mentioning. List something that really showcases your personality and gives you something to chat about in an interview.
Don’t send the same CV to every job that you apply for. Ensure you tailor your CV specifically to each position you apply for. You can use the job description to help you with this. If a job description lists several essential skills which you know you have, then make sure they are clearly visible on your CV.
The easiest way for you to showcase your technical ability on your CV is to showcase your projects on GitHub. More and more companies are asking for an active GitHub account. It tells the employer that you are passionate about what you do, and you are continually seeking to improve as a developer.
I hope this blog has helped you structure your CV as a software developer, if you have any more questions about the job search or interested in discussing your career, please give me a call in confidence on 02890918528 | firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on LinkedIn.