The software developer’s guide to a perfect resume

While it’s true that you have one of Southeast Asia’s hottest and most in-demand skills, never assume that your resume sells itself just fine.

Whether you’re a fresh graduate, or a programmer at the mid-to-senior level, there’s something in this guide for everyone. Keep these tricks and tips in mind when crafting your resume to increase your hit rate with job applications.

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  1. Pick a clean and simple CV format, and always list your work experience in reverse chronological order. Start from your most recent stint and work your way backwards.
  2. Limit your resume to 2 pages at most and balance out the white space with your content for easy readability. Recall that recruiters and hiring managers screen hundreds of resumes a day and cannot afford to spend more than 10 seconds on each.

Anyone reading your CV should be able to conclude in less than 10 seconds if you are worth shortlisting for an interview/technical test.

  1. For the section on your work experience, write results and impact-focused statements rather than task-focused ones. In other words, don’t copy and paste your entire job description. Instead, you want to say things like “Reduced measured bugs per day in track.js from 82,500 to 2,500 by refactoring legacy codebase."

A great structure to follow is 'Achieved x, as measured by y, by doing z.'

  1. Always list your side projects but never clutter your entire resume with all of them. Pick and choose only the most impressive, relevant, or ‘meaty’ ones. They can be an open-source contribution, an independent project, or a web app, mobile app, that you built.

Showcasing the work that you do on your weeknights and weekends is an excellent signal of passion and initiative, usually hallmark of a very good programmer.

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  1. When mentioning your languages, opt to list them in order of proficiency rather than years of experience. That way, you manage your interviewers’ expectations on your actual level of comfort using them as part of your technical test or interview. A good example to do so is this: “Python (expert), .NET (proficient), Ruby (prior experience).

    Ex-Google and Microsoft Gayle Laakmann McDowell from Cracking the Coding Interview also recommends that you broaden your exposure to coding in languages that are not too similar to each other. C++, Python, Java are good examples.

Companies tend to prefer well-rounded developers that don’t define themselves around any particular language but have worked with a good selection of them.

  1. Finally, realize that your resume shouldn’t be your only personal and professional statement. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is updated and optimized for maximum visibility and searchability by recruiters and prospective employers.

    Participate actively on Quora, Stack Overflow, or Facebook groups. Make sure you showcase your projects on Github. Attend coder meetups in town or hackathons. These places are increasingly popular among recruiters looking to identify top talent.

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