Hays’ Jason Barr explains everything software developers need to know about their CV, from layout to skills.
If you’re interested in applying for a role in software development, there are plenty of ways to make your CV more engaging to the reader and, in the process, give a better representation of what you’ll bring to the company.
Here are a few top tips to help you build the base of your software development CV.
Unless specifically asked to, it’s not necessary to attach a cover letter. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to make sure you’re giving the reader a good sense of your background and abilities elsewhere.
Write a personal statement that sums up your career to date and ambitions, making sure that it’s relevant to the role you’re applying for. Avoid clichéd terms.
Your commercial experience is important, but it doesn’t have to be at the top of the page.
Include your education and, if possible, mention any specific courses or modules you’ve done that can be applied to software development or the role.
The reader’s not going to be printing this out! Add links to personal projects, create a portfolio of your highlights, or provide access to repositories such as GitHub.
Last of all, list any relevant hobbies and awards you’ve received.
Under each previous role that you mention, include the tech stack used at the bottom, making it as relevant as possible.
Include all the project work or maintenance work you’ve done, but make sure that you’ll feel comfortable discussing it in an interview. If you were working on this as part of a team and only played a small part, don’t go into too much detail. Remember, the company aren’t looking to hire your team, they want you!
If there are any gaps in your employment history, you can add a note at the bottom of the CV.
Mention other tech stacks you’ve worked with but separate these from your strongest skills. As with projects, if you’re unable to talk in depth about it, it’s worth adding a note to point out your limited exposure.
What to do if you have less experience
If you’re searching for your first software development job, or you have little recent experience, there are still ways to promote what you’ll bring to the hiring company.
During your employment history or personal statement, highlight soft skills that will be useful in this role.
Put greater focus on the personal projects you’ve linked to. It’s worth the effort to make your portfolio look good.
Go into more detail on any related courses you’ve taken and what you learned from them.
What to avoid when writing your CV
There’s no need to include non-technical roles, or even part-time roles you worked while in education. If you’re lacking in software development experience and want to add these, provide the dates you were in the role and add a note stating: “Non-technical experience given upon request.”
Don’t put every technology you have ever touched on – keep it in the reader’s interest.
As you should have worked out by now, the key thing to remember is to read the job specification and match your CV to what the organisation is looking for. Yes, it can be painful to tailor your CV for every application, but it’s worth the work.
The only two things that hiring parties have to go on when determining whether to give you an interview are the job requirements and your CV. If they don’t align, you won’t be getting called.
By Jason Barr
Jason Barr is the director of software engineering at Hays Ireland. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays blog.
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