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Three tips to stand out with your developer resume

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Writing your resume can be a daunting task. Many aspiring developers don't always know where to start and what makes a good resume altogether.

At Integrify, we work closely with leading tech companies. And over the years, we learned the exact steps you need to follow to stand out from other applicants.

Let's take a closer look at developer resumes and start with a strong statement: your resume is the most important document you have as a developer at the start of your career.

Why is your resume so important?

Many candidates compete for entry-level developer jobs. One job opening can get hundreds of applicants. And most of these applicants don't get a chance to prove themselves during interviews or coding challenges. Like it or not, hiring managers need to cut out many candidates based on nothing more than their applications. At this stage, your future employer needs to have a crystal clear understanding of who you are as an applicant.

The good news is you can make a difference and help them better understand why you are a great fit for their team.

How can you improve your resume?

We have carefully selected the following three tips to help you take your resume to the next level. We based our advice on the experiences of our graduates who are now working as software engineers, as well as on numerous partnerships that we've built with tech companies over the years.

1. Don’t forget about your background

If you are reading this, you are likely pursuing a career in software engineering after years of education and work in different fields. And you are not alone!

Over the years, we have seen many aspiring software engineers craft their resumes and submit numerous job applications without saying a word about their initial backgrounds. This is one of the most common mistakes and we have a story to prove why your background matters in your new career in software development.

Laura is one of Integrify graduates who started her first job as a Junior Front-end Developer. At first, she thought her Finance background was not relevant for her future career in Software Engineering. And so, she excluded her work experience and education from her resume. Sadly, Laura never got past rejection letters when applying for jobs. After chatting with a Career Coach at Integrify, she learned that her background makes her a strong candidate for developer roles in the FinTech sector. Soon after, her applications started receiving more traction - and weeks later, she was happily choosing between two job offers.

Just like Laura, all your past experiences make you a better developer and team player, so make sure to share them.

2. Pay attention to your skills

Many developers still neglect the skills section on their resumes. For many, this section is no more than an afterthought when filling out generic resume templates. As a result, many developers try to fit a handful of technologies into a single line in no particular order while leaving out some of their hard-earned skills.

You can do better. You should offer your future employer a concise summary of your professional abilities. 

First, include all the technologies that you know in one place. These technologies can be programming languages, frameworks, and other software development tools. Next, categorize them according to their use, such as Front-end or Back-end development, database management, and deployment. Bonus point: You can highlight the skills required for the role you are applying for.

Some say you should exclude skills and experiences not required for the role. And we beg to differ. Here is another success story. 

A recent Integrify graduate applied for a role that required React.js, a JavaScript framework for Front-end development. At the same time, he was enthusiastic about Vue.js. He kept it among his skills on the resume even though it was not a requirement as per the job advertisement. During the interview, our graduate learned that another development team in this same company worked with Vue.js. And knowing both of these technologies helped him land this job.

3. Show your projects

Over the years, many hiring managers told us they found it difficult to assess the programming skills of entry-level applicants. Even more so, many recruiters agree that the biggest mistake Junior Developers can make is excluding their GitHub profiles from their resumes. So let your work speak for itself - show your skills in action with your projects.

And don't forget that presentation is key. You cannot copy-paste a link without encouraging hiring managers to click on it. Give them a reason why they should see your project and explain how it proves your programming skills.

Here's what you can do:

  • Pick two or three projects that are significant to you
  • Add links to their GitHub repositories and demos
  • List the technologies you used to build them 
  • Write a couple of sentences explaining why you built each project and what you accomplished

Bonus point: If you have been fortunate enough to collaborate on a project with other developers this early in your career, you should add it to your resume. Projects like these demonstrate your ability to work in a team.

One more bonus point: If you built a website for your connection or a local business, you should also include it as one of the projects on your resume. It will demonstrate your ability to work and communicate with clients. Translating business objectives into clean code is a rare talent.

What can you do next?

We hope you found these tips useful and you got one step closer to landing your dream job.  

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