In case you missed it, @kaydacode wrote a great post offering Jr. devs a chance to post their resumes for feedback. After giving feedback on a few resumes I realized I was offering the same advice over and over again so I decided it might be useful to put it in a post.
Remember when you are writing a resume the purpose of it is to prove as quickly as possible that you can do the job you are applying for. For this reason, you want to be detailed about your experience BUT you also want to keep it succinct. The person reading your resume likely has 10 other resumes to read so they are going to appreciate a resume that gets to the point. Here are some general guidelines to help you accomplish this!
If you have less than 5-10 years experience keep your resume to 1 page. This is something I was always taught growing up and I think it is good advice. By forcing yourself to stick to one page you will ensure that you only talk about what really matters.
Since you want to sell yourself as quickly as possible you want the first thing someone sees is that you have the ability to do the job you are applying for. Usually your experience is what is going to show you are the most qualified so that should go at the top. I would follow it with either Skills or Education. As for what to include...
- Make sure you give details about your experience. "Developer Intern at Startup Y" doesn't give someone enough information to determine if you are a qualified candidate. Expand on that, what did you do at Startup Y? What languages did you work with?
- Pick and choose your experiences carefully. Even though you might want to list all the details for every one of your personal projects, stick to what is most relevant. Pick the projects you are most proud of or that highlight your best skill sets and just talk about those.
Most people want to pile on every language or framework they have touched but that can make it hard for someone reading your resume to really know what you are good at. Here is where a little customization comes in handy. Usually when you start out you have a broad range of skills, which is awesome! When you are applying for a job, however, make sure that you highlight the skills that the job is looking for. It can also be really helpful to those reading your resume to list your skill level. I personally setup my Skills section like this.
- Proficient: Ruby, Rails, Elasticsearch, Redis, MySQL
Whether you have a college degree or a Bootcamp degree, make sure what you list under your Education section is going to be relevant to your future employer. For example, usually once you have a college or bootcamp degree you no longer need your high school education on your resume because it likely won't add much value.
Also, make sure to include relevant course work! Giving a GPA shows that you paid attention but listing relevant course work can reveal that you have skills the employer might be looking for. With that said, if you took some bad ass engineering classes in high school then that would be a good reason to include high school in your Education section.
I personally do not ever include references on a resume and most resumes I have seen do not have them. Rather than wasting space with other people's contact info I like to end with the line "References available upon request." It is simple, easy, and the employer knows they are available if needed.
I usually save a personal summary section for a cover letter or email rather than my resume. This allows me to put more details about my experiences in my resume. With that said, if you do decide to include a personal summary make sure it adds value! "I want to become a better programmer and improve my skill set" is pretty vague and doesn't add much value. "I have been doing full stack development but I am really passionate about the front end and would love to do more UX/UI design work" is much more detailed and will allow a company to decide if you are a good fit for a job.
Honestly, there are so many formats that you can use that work. While reviewing resumes I saw some nice single column formats and I also saw some slick 2 column formats. Some people had colors, some were black and white. Any style can work but make sure it is pleasing to the eye and, once again, easy to read. If someone had 30 seconds to glance at your resume could they quickly digest it? If the answer to that is yes, then your formatting is probably good to go!
As you can see the theme of this post is relevance. Make sure every word on your resume counts and is adding value to it. These are just a few guidelines that I like to follow when writing a resume. Hopefully others will find them useful! Feel free to chime in if you have any good resume guidelines you like to follow!
Happy resume writing!!!