What should a resume look like and what should it include? Well, depending on who you ask you might get a slightly different answer. That’s because it represents different things to different people. It’s either a document that lists your work experience, or it’s a piece of paper that has everything you’ve ever done listed out beautifully. Despite differences in appearance, ultimately a web developer resume is a ticket to landing your next job.
According to Glassdoor, “on average, each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes. Of these candidates, four to six will be called for an interview and only one will be offered the job.” That’s why the art of crafting a resume is not to be taken lightly. We’ve compiled five steps to take to ensure your resume stands out from the crowd.
Step 1. Determine your objective
Before you begin your job search, you should first go through the exercise of determining what kind of developer you want to be. This will help you hone in on determining your objective. Is this your first job coming out of a web development course? Are you a few years into your career, but on a different path than you want? Take a stab at answering these questions and then determine what your objective is. For example, it may be: with this job, I want to showcase I am strong in time management and have experience in Ruby. My end goal is to land an entry-level job. Once you are able to clearly define your objective, you will have a direction for your entire resume and job search.
Step 2. List out all of your accomplishments
No, not in Microsoft Word, but on a piece of paper. This exercise will help you take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What would you like to call out? What doesn’t need to be included in this resume? A resume is not necessarily a brain dump, but rather a tailored document that speaks to your experience in a clear, concise way.
Not all of your accomplishments should be included in your resume, but rather just the relevant ones. If you were a grocery store cashier back when you were 21, that may not be an accomplishment that is necessary for inclusion on your web developer resume. However, if you were an assistant manager at a grocery store for two years when you were 21, this may showcase your ability to manage, making you a great candidate for a wider variety of positions.
Step 3. Decide on your order
For the position in which your applying, what will carry the most weight? What should be front and center at the top of your resume? What will convince your future employer that you are the person they should hire for the job? Always start with your elevator pitch which includes a brief summary of who you are and convince the reader you are the best candidate for the job.
Next, list your skills. For a web developer position, this includes what languages you’re well-versed in, but doesn’t mean you must list out EACH skill. For example, proficient in Microsoft Office package is a competence an employer expects you to have, so leave it out. Instead, try to focus on five or six top skills. Then you will list experience, but as mentioned in a previous section, only that experience which is directly related to the job you’re applying for. Next, you will want to highlight projects you have done as a developer with direct links to those sites or a portfolio, if available. And finally, list your education starting with your most recent accomplishment.
Step 4. Develop a strong opening statement
Like any document you read, when a hiring manager first looks at a candidate’s resume, they start at the top and work their way down. That is why we suggest developing a strong opening statement of who you are to leave a lasting impression on the reader. This summary should highlight your strengths and passions and may read like this:
An ambitious problem solver with proven experience in back-end development. Passionate about producing client work that exceeds expectations and speaks to a brands’ mission and purpose.
Following the summary, highlight your skills. As stated in Business Insider, “the skills section of a resume is the most important, according to most employers.” Why? Because many applicants may lack experience, but their skills match up with what an employer is looking for. That’s why “skills” should be placed towards the top of a resume to grab a readers’ attention.
Step 5. Customize your web developer resume
Over the course of your job search, you will probably apply for dozens of jobs. It’s important to read through each job description and customize your experience to meet their requirements. No, this is not an invitation to lie on your resume by any means! However, it’s important to leverage all of your experience where applicable and never sell yourself short.
Additionally, use keywords that are essential to your job function. Many recruiters use talent management systems that sift through resumes for keywords, ultimately determining which resumes they will take a closer look at. In choosing what keywords to use, reference the job posting and company website. You may need to alter your resume for each job you apply to based on what keywords are used – this will pay off in the long-run.
In the experience section, you don’t need to list out each duty of every job you’ve held, but instead the duties that are most relevant to the position for which you are applying. Also, be sure to tailor your resume to the company’s culture. Once you have done research on Glassdoor and other job sites, you’ll begin to notice words like ‘collaboration’ and ‘team-player’. Be sure to highlight examples of how you would fit into the culture using those keywords.
Once you’ve mastered the art of building a web developer resume it will get you through the door and to the next round of interviews. When you’re at this stage it’s important to understand how you can be successful with salary negotiation. Take a look at Salary Negotiation for Web Developers for some helpful tips moving forward.