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Writing a Winning Web Developer Resume

ambrwlsn profile image Amber Originally published at amberwilson.co.uk on ・4 min read

It's hiring season!

Do you want a new web developer job? You might call yourself a frontend (front-end/front end) engineer, a UI developer, a full-stack engineer, a software engineer, etc. There are many different and fun combinations of job titles!

I will assume you develop things for the web, so you are a web developer.

This post will give you, a web developer, tips on how to make a good impression at companies you'd like to work at.

Who cares about a good resume? Well, unless you know people at the company you want to work at, it's likely the first impression you'll make is with your resume.

Tips on writing your web developer resume

There are loads of tips out there on how to write a good resume. Below are some of my favourites that I gathered from both applying for jobs and from reviewing applications:

  • Write things you achieved, not only things you did. For example, instead of "added lots of JavaScript features", try "added JavaScript features that lowered load time by 400ms". Did you save your company money? Cool! Did you reduce loading times? Awesome! Explain how you did it and how it benefited your company or customers.

Evidence for how you helped your company succeed or improved customer experience allows reviewers to imagine how you could provide value at their own company.

  • Make sure your listed skills are relevant. It is not good to list a skill or technology just because you read a blog post about it or because it is popular. Focus on skills and technologies you have used, enjoyed, and want to use in your next job. There's nothing much worse than listing way too many skills for a job—mostly because it shows you don't really care about your application.

Adding relevant skills gives a clearer impression of what you actually enjoy and want to do in your job.

  • Separate your skills section into what you use daily, weekly, and monthly. If you only used Redux once a few months back, it's best not to give the impression that you use it all the time.

Being clear about how often you use different skills or technologies helps a reviewer understand your strengths.

  • Keep your "education" section simple. Reviewers won't pay too much attention to it, especially since many web developers are entirely or partially self-taught.

Details about your hands-on coding experience are most often more important than details about your studies.

  • The person reviewing your resume is short on time but has lot of other resumes to look at. Keep your resume short and concise. Imagine a reviewer has only thirty seconds to read each application.

If you can read through your own resume in 30 seconds then it is a good length.

  • Look at your resume and be honest - would you enjoy reading it? If not, then try to add space between content, use whitespace well, choose a pleasant font, make sure spelling and grammar are correct, cut it down to maximum two pages etc.

A tidy, short, and well-designed resume with no spelling or grammar errors shows you put effort into your application.

  • Add links to your projects and (if you want) social accounts. Linking to project work on a personal website or repository is a great way to show off what you can do. But beware, reviewers will look at your source code! Linking to social accounts is good if you are comfortable with that and believe it can give a useful impression of you.

Links to projects can help reviewers learn even more about you than what you can squeeze onto your resume.

  • Introduce yourself and your hobbies. At the start of your resume it can be nice to introduce yourself by summarising your work experience and perhaps mentioning some of your hobbies. A reviewer may be glad to see that you have interests outside of coding.

Summarising your work experience along with your non-work experiences (hobbies) can help a reviewer see that there is more to you than coding.

  • Consider not adding a photo. It may seem tempting but it is not really necessary. Some companies even ask for no photo. It makes more sense for a reviewer to judge your competency by your experience and not how you look.

Humans can be biased and may unfairly judge your capabilities based on how you look.

Bonus tips for cover letters and interviews

  • Being a web developer isn't only about writing code. Aside from coding achievements, describe proud moments you had while interacting with others at work, or decisions you made on a problem that helped you avoid wasting time and building up technical debt. Describe how well you collaborate with others and show off your problem solving skills.

Awareness of the importance of non-coding skills is crucial to being a good web developer.

  • Don't address your cover letter with "Dear sir or madam". It's a good idea not to assume the gender of whoever is reviewing your application. Find another way to start your letter - for example "Dear {company name}" or "Hello!"

Neutral language ensures that everyone is respected—including your reviewer and your customers.

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