Crafting a CV or resume as a software developer isn’t just about listing out your coding skills or the languages you’re familiar with. It’s about presenting your experiences, projects, and achievements in a way that resonates with hiring managers. In this article, we’ll walk you through the essentials of creating a standout software developer CV, complete with real-life examples. Whether you’re a newbie in the tech world or a seasoned coder, these tips will help you showcase your expertise effectively. Let’s dive in!
- 1 Read the job description / advert
- 2 Research The Company
- 3 Find a Good CV Template
- 4 Write 2 or 3 Bullet Points as a ‘Professional Summary’
- 5 Detail your employment history
- 6 Detail your education history
- 7 CV Structure
- 8 WHAT NOT TO DO
- 9 Software Developer CV Tips – Let’s Recap What We’ve Discussed
- 10 Software Developer CV Sample
Read the job description / advert
The first step is, of course, to read the job description. We need to know what the firm is looking for so that we can properly highlight these characteristics in our CV. So read back over the job description and try to pinpoint the important points. A lot of times a firm will call things “required”; if you see this, you need to make sure you include that in your CV. Similarly, if certain things are repeated throughout the advert, this indicates they are of high importance, so we will want to make sure our CV shows that as well.
When performing this analysis, take care to copy the ‘exact’ words and phrases that are being used by the hiring manager. We will want to pepper these into our CV later.
Software Developer Job Description Example
Software Developer – Join Our Dynamic Team!
We’re on the hunt for a passionate Software Developer to join our forward-thinking tech team. If you’re someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment and is eager to push the boundaries of technology, we want to hear from you!
As a Software Developer at our company, you’ll be at the forefront of creating innovative solutions that drive our mission forward. You’ll collaborate with a team of talented professionals to design, develop, and maintain software applications that cater to our diverse user base.
- Design and implement new software applications, ensuring they are efficient and scalable.
- Collaborate with cross-functional teams to define, design, and ship new features.
- Utilize React Native to develop mobile applications that provide an exceptional user experience.
- Debug and optimize existing and new code to maximize performance and improve application responsiveness.
- Stay updated with the latest industry trends and technologies to ensure our applications remain cutting-edge.
- Proven experience as a Software Developer, with a strong portfolio of projects.
- Proficiency in React Native is a must.
- Solid understanding of the software development life cycle.
- Strong problem-solving skills and the ability to think critically.
- Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
- A passion for continuous learning and professional growth.
We offer a competitive compensation package, flexible working hours, and the opportunity to work with a team of dedicated professionals. If you’re ready to take your career to the next level and work on projects that make a difference, this is the role for you!
Research The Company
Time to put on your detective hat and do some research on your target company. Look at their website, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. You are looking for any piece of intel that will give you the leg up.
- Find out about recent work/projects they have undertaken or will be embarking on (highlight your experience in these areas on your CV)
- Find out what software/processes they use and make sure you include your proficiency in them in your CV
- Learn what interview questions you might expect should you make it that far
See if you know anyone who works there and/or connect (LinkedIn) with people ahead of the interview. A little nepotism could never hurt, and you might be able to glean more information about the role/hiring process in the meantime.
Find a Good CV Template
When selecting a CV template, it’s essential to opt for a simple design and structure. Not only are straightforward layouts more compatible with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), but they also make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to quickly identify and understand key details. A clutter-free and organized CV ensures that your most important information stands out, facilitating a smoother review process for potential employers.
Write 2 or 3 Bullet Points as a ‘Professional Summary’
A handy approach is to craft three sentences: the first highlighting your qualifications and experience, the second showcasing your biggest professional achievement, and the third detailing your most recent experience.
Software Developer Professional Summary Example
- Recognized for leading a team that developed “EcoApp”, an eco-friendly mobile application that garnered over 2 million downloads within its first year and won the “Green Tech Innovation” award in 2021.
- Recently played a pivotal role at TechSolutions, where I spearheaded the migration of legacy systems to cloud infrastructure, resulting in a 30% increase in system efficiency and a reduction in operational costs.
Detail your employment history
Begin by listing your employment history in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent role. This allows potential employers to see your recent experience upfront, which holds greater value. Keep in mind that brevity is key.
As you go further back in time, reduce the level of detail to ensure your CV doesn’t exceed two pages. Employers are less likely to read lengthy CVs.
When writing down your responsibilities on your CV, don’t just jot down your day-to-day tasks. Instead, frame them in a way that highlights your accomplishments. So, instead of writing “Handled coding tasks,” you could say “Developed and optimized 10+ applications, improving user experience by 40%.” This approach not only shows what you did but also emphasizes the positive impact you made. It’s especially useful for a Software Developer to demonstrate both technical skills and the results achieved.
Detail your education history
Keep your CV concise, aiming for a two-page limit. The education section can often be streamlined.
Highlight the most relevant qualifications. For instance, if you have a degree, your A-levels become less significant. Similarly, if you’re in the U.S., having an MBA overshadows your high school GPA.
Unless an older educational milestone is crucial for the job or highly pertinent, focus on showcasing your Bachelor’s degree, post-graduate studies, or professional certifications. If you lack these, mention your latest qualifications. Remember, having a Master’s suggests you’ve finished school, so no need to state the obvious. Only include your educational background if it’s pertinent to the job.
Tactically structure your CV to the ‘most wanted’ attributes of the job description. For example, if the job description values “qualified”, then place your qualifications first; if they want someone with RECENT experience, put your last job up top. If they want multiple years of experience, highlight your tenure.
We always recommend that you have a Professional Summary up top (after your name/contact info), as it will be the first thing that anyone reads. As discussed earlier, this should be tailored towards the job advert and showcase your experience and skills in what the employer is looking for.
A fairly typical structure would go:
- Name and contact info
- Professional Summary
- Current (or most recent employment)
- Education & Professional Qualifications
- Employment History
WHAT NOT TO DO
Now that we’ve discussed what you should be including in your CV, let’s look at some things that you should avoid doing.
- Do not include personal history or likes. Employers are not going to care about your hobbies, so unless you have some inside information that the hiring manager only hires people who play a particular sport, for example, then leave your extracurricular activities off your CV. This does not extend to things like volunteer or charity work. Definitely include that if you have the space.
- Do not list your skillset and the tools/applications you have experience with. It takes up valuable space and is often obvious (Skilled in Excel…?). Instead, include these in your achievements section (Example: “Used Asana to manage and coordinate tasks for a remote team of 25 members”).
- Do not include references or “references available on request”. If employers want a reference, they will ask you for them; otherwise, this is just wasted space on your CV.
- Do not include a photo of yourself unless specifically asked. In many countries, including the UK and US, you should not include a photo of yourself on your CV/resume. Companies don’t want you to do it, as it opens them up to liability, and there is absolutely nothing for you to gain by doing so – plus, you are making it easier for firms to discriminate against you, either implicitly or explicitly.
- Do not use any fancy graphic or artistic CV format. Most CVs come in a standard format, allowing Application Tracking Software, recruiters and hiring managers to easily pick out the key pieces of information they need quickly based on their experience. If you throw them a CV in an artistic format, they are more likely to get annoyed and throw your application away. This is not a situation where standing out is good. You want your skills/experience to be noted, not your CV format.
- Do not include your previous salaries. This will severely impact your negotiation abilities down the line.
Software Developer CV Tips – Let’s Recap What We’ve Discussed
1. Start with a Strong Professional Summary
Begin your CV with a concise summary that encapsulates your experience, skills, and what you bring to the table. This sets the tone and gives recruiters a snapshot of your professional journey.
👉 Example: “Software Developer with 5 years of experience in full-stack development, specializing in Java and React.”
2. Highlight Technical Skills
List the programming languages, tools, and technologies you’re proficient in. Group them logically, such as frontend, backend, and tools, to make it easy for the reader.
🛠️ Remember to include both hard skills like “Python” and soft skills like “team collaboration.”
3. Showcase Achievements, Not Just Duties
Instead of merely listing your job responsibilities, focus on your accomplishments and the impact you made.
🌟 For instance, “Optimized application speed by 30%” is more impactful than “Worked on application optimization.”
4. Include Relevant Projects
Detail a few significant projects you’ve worked on. Describe the challenge, your role, the technologies used, and the outcome.
🚀 This gives a practical demonstration of your skills in action.
5. Tailor Your CV for the Job
Customize your CV based on the job description. If the role emphasizes a particular technology or skill, ensure it’s prominent in your CV if you possess it.
🎯 This increases your chances of passing through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and catching the recruiter’s eye.
6. Keep It Concise
Aim for clarity and brevity. A well-structured, 2-page CV is often more effective than a lengthy one.
✂️ Cut out any redundant or irrelevant information.
7. Proofread and Update Regularly
Ensure your CV is free from typos or grammatical errors. Regularly update it to include new skills, technologies, or experiences.
📝 A polished CV reflects attention to detail and professionalism.
8. Add a Personal Touch
While maintaining professionalism, include a hobby or interest section to give a glimpse of your personality.
🎸 Whether it’s playing the guitar or contributing to open-source projects, it can make you more memorable.
Software Developer CV Sample
Below is an example CV from someone with a number of years experience in the field. For an editable .DOCX version, click here.