How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job
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Resumes are tricky because they offer greater risk than reward. One on hand, an out-of-this-world and impeccable resume is unlikely to get you hired on the spot. At the same time, a poor resume that’s littered with mistakes will take you out of the running immediately.

Creating and maintaining a solid resume is mandatory in many fields, and programming is no exception. Here are five things to do and five things to avoid when putting together your resume for a programming job Jump Start a New Programming Career with this Entry-Level Bundle Jump Start a New Programming Career with this Entry-Level Bundle If you would like to upgrade your resumé, The Entry-Level Python & JavaScript Programming Bundle offers four courses that teach programming from the ground up. Read More .

Programming Resume Do’s

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job resume for programming jobs
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Proofread and Re-Read

As mentioned, a resume with no mistakes won’t win you a job right away. That will come later, after you take the interviews. But a resume with mistakes will undoubtedly cost you a second look from a potential employer, so the importance of a mistake-free resume cannot be overstated.

Oftentimes, recruiters spend as little as six seconds on each resume they review. That means even the smallest mistake could put you behind out of the gate. All the typical resume rules apply to a programmer’s resume.

This resume sample from Monster.com shows how clean yours should look when you’re done:

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job monster resume
Image Credit: Monster.com

When proofreading your resume, review it for three main things: grammar, spelling, and consistency. A resume audit by Grammarly found that 60 percent of resume errors are grammatical. Meanwhile, the average resume has 1.5 punctuation errors and less than one spelling mistake.

Use a Consistent Layout and Format

On a practical level, a strong layout or format on a resume can make it much easier to read. At the same time, a resume with a concise layout can subliminally tell your potential employer that you are well organized.

Of course, that can be easier said than done for many, particularly those without an instinct for design. Even for those who do have some design sense, there are a number of resume templates available 15 Free Creative Resume Templates for Photoshop and Illustrator 15 Free Creative Resume Templates for Photoshop and Illustrator A stunning application can be the first step in landing your dream job. We have compiled the best free professional resume templates for Photoshop and Illustrator. Some packages include cover letter and business card templates. Read More  online that can jumpstart your creative process:

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job muo resume

Include Online Job Profile Info

If you use an online professional networking service such as LinkedIn — these days it’s unusual not to — include your profile URL on your resume. Your potential employer will look for you online anyway, so make it easy on them. This also means your LinkedIn page should be presentable and up to date.

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job digital resume
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Include the URL at the top of the resume, where your other contact information is. Including your personal URL prevents recruiters and potential employers from mistaking you for someone else.

Highlight Skills and Achievements

When writing about your previous experience, try to minimize the mundane day-to-day tasks that almost everyone has to do. Instead, focus on specific skills and past accomplishments, especially those that are most relevant for the job you’re applying to.

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job skills e1486407330504
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Also, even if your previous experience sounds fairly straightforward, there are ways to spice it up without over exaggerating. Simply get more specific in describing your previous day-to-day tasks. Go beyond only stating the task you performed. Give an example of how or why that task was crucial or beneficial to your previous employer.

Get Specific With Experience

Another way to help your resume stand out How To Write A Resume With The Help Of 8 Ivy School Guides How To Write A Resume With The Help Of 8 Ivy School Guides Trying to build the perfect resume? Check out these free resume tips from some of the best schools that make up the Ivy League. Read More  is to not only list which technologies you’re familiar with, but also when and for how long you used this technology. Listing “I have 5 years of experience with [app X]” seems much more appealing than simply listing the name of the app on its own.

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job balance resume
Image Credit: The Balance

Also, when it comes to your education history, details are key. But unless you’re just out of school and looking for an entry-level position, list your educational information at the bottom of your resume.

Programming Resume Don’ts

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job programming resume
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Don’t Limit Yourself

One of the big debates when it comes to resumes is whether they should be kept to one page or not. Of course, recruiters and potential employers don’t want to read an autobiography. But sometimes your years of many experiences can’t effectively be reduced to one single page.

One of the big debates when it comes to resumes is whether they should be kept to one page or not. Of course, recruiters and potential employers don’t want to read an autobiography. But sometimes your years of many experiences can’t effectively be reduced to one single page.

When it comes to programming, resume lengths between two and four pages are acceptable. That said, don’t fill it out with fluff. No matter how long it is, make sure it’s packed with relevant and detailed information about you and your history.

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job long resume
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For example, if you’re well versed in a wide variety of operating systems, list each one specifically — Linux, Windows XP, the latest Mac OS, and so on. Also list each individual programming language you’re comfortable with, such as Java, HTLM5 or C++.

Don’t Use the Job Description’s Wording

While you always want to make it clear your resume reflects the relevant experience you have that would make you a perfect fit for the job, make sure to get creative when presenting that idea. In other words, don’t copy and paste the exact words you saw while reading the job description.

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job language
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This makes sense. An employer who wrote the job description doesn’t want to simply re-read it on your resume. Instead, remember to remain descriptive when it comes to your previous experience and show why your talent helped your former employer.

Don’t Over-Design

You do, of course, want a clean and slick design that will make your resume stand out and be easy to read. But this is a resume, not an arts and crafts project. It probably goes without saying, but don’t use any unusual colors or fonts in your resume, unless it for some reason it directly applies to this position — and for a programmer, it likely won’t.

discussion thread on Quora has some good advice. Kent Nolen says, “Design is important, but I suggest that you place your focus on the content of your resume.”

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job minimal design
Image Credit: Etsy.com

That’s not to say you have to forgo color altogether. When done right, just a splash of a relatively neutral color can give a resume an elevated and distinguished look. Again, there are countless examples available online to give you a good foundation for the type of format you should use.

Don’t Go Overboard

As previously mentioned, it’s no longer considered job-hunting “suicide” if your resume runs longer than one page, especially in the programming field. At the same time, it’s a somewhat fine line. You also don’t want to over do it with the details you give to hiring managers.

Providing too many details — particularly those that are irrelevant — can make you look like you don’t understand the importance of prioritizing your own work. One way to avoid over-doing it is to continue to list previous jobs/experience, but if your tasks there were irrelevant to the new position, don’t list tasks in that section.

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job minimal experience
Image Credit: ResumeWay.com

Don’t Undersell Teamwork

The main purpose of your resume is to showcase your own experience and strengths. However, you should also highlight work that you collaborated on with others. At the very least, this gives a recruiter or hiring manager the idea that you don’t mind working with others on larger projects — and that you can do it successfully.

When highlighting teamwork, try to be more creative than simply writing, “worked with project managers and other team members.” That part’s a given. Instead think of a short description of how you worked together, such as mentoring, and why it was a success.

How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job soft skills
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What Jobs Will You Apply for Today?

There is no such thing as the “perfect” resume. Some are perfect for some hiring managers but not for others.

If you keep these do’s and don’ts in mind while also remembering to tailor your resume to each specific job you’re applying for, it should go a long way toward earning you that interview.

What changes will you make to your resume today? Which job applications will you tackle first?

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  1. Akash Choudhary
    July 6, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Really helpful article.
    Btw, you repeated the first paragraph in the "don't limit yourself" section.