What to Include in a Programmer Resume
As you probably know, programming is a profession that differs widely from job to job and employer to employer. Following on from that fact, your own resume will reflect the specific requirements of your target position and your target company. You’ll also need to vary the content of each resume section based on your level of experience, your credentials and your long term career plans.
In short, there’s no single right way to create an application in this diverse field. But as you can see while reviewing this collection of programmer resume samples, there are a few basic details that every job seeker should include in his or her own document. You can start by breaking your resume down into these nearly universal subsections:
- Resume Summary
- Education Section
- Work History Section
- Skills Section
Furthermore, you’ll have two layout options to consider: the chronological format and the functional format. Each serves a different purpose, and each can be used to gain the attention of employers under different circumstances.
If you choose the chronological option, you’ll list each of your previous positions and provide supporting detail for each job title, including the name of the employer, your start and end dates, your most important responsibilities, and a quick description of your proudest accomplishments. Positions will be listed in the order in which you held them, starting with the most recent.
If you choose the functional option, you’ll start the section with a list of your most important abilities and potential contributions, not your job titles. You may want to list the platforms and operating systems you’re most familiar with, or the types of systems you’ve created, implemented or maintained in the past. After this initial list, you’ll provide a brief list of former job titles with minimal supporting detail.
The chronological option is best for people who’ve moved from one programmer job to the next, with no breaks in employment or out-of-industry positions, and the functional format is ideal for independent contractors who’ve done the same tasks for multiple clients, anyone changing industries or attempting to cover up a large employment gap.
Either way, use the programmer resume samples to gain a sense of what this should look like on the page.
How to Write the Programmer Resume Summary Statement
Just like in the best programmer resume samples, your own document should begin with a short summary of your most important credentials and strongest selling points. This section should consist of about four lines of text at the top of the page, just under your heading and contact information. Ideally, you’ll communicate the key points of your document in this brief paragraph, so employers will still learn something about your candidacy even if they stop reading at this point.
In addition to summaries you’ll find in the programmer resume samples in this set, here are a few more examples:
Modular and object-oriented programmer with over ten years of experience in all stages of the software lifecycle. Critical approach to data structures and algorithms and a proven ability to provide customized, client-driven solutions that improve business operations and profitability.
Recent honors graduate with BS in information technology. Extensive experience with web design and website programming tasks and one year of internship experience with rapidly growing startup company. Expertise in coding, trouble shooting, debugging, and documentation in JAVA, HTML, C++, Perl, SQL and Visual Basic.
- Computers & Technology
- Installation & Maintenance
- Real Estate
- Human Resources
- News & Media
- Food & Beverage
- Most Popular Resources
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How to Write the Programmer Resume Education Section
As you begin working on your education section, keep in mind that this information can occur anywhere on the page, as long as it comes after your heading and summary. You can describe your education before or after your work history and skills, but if you’d like to show off your academic accomplishments, you’ll want them closer to the top of the page, not the bottom.
While some programmers have extensive degrees and post-collegiate academic credentials, others are essentially self-taught and may have spent minimal time in the classroom. At the same time, some employers are highly focused on degrees and diplomas, and others don’t require college experience at all. You’ll need to make your own decisions about this section based on your own circumstances, but again, you can use these programmer resume samples for guidance.
If you do have degrees, list each of them in order, beginning with the most recent. For each entry, list your learning institution and your course of study, and provide your completion dates and GPA if it was above 3.5 and you’re a recent graduate.
If you hold any certifications or you’ve completed any training programs, list these in the education section as well. Your employers will want to see any available information about the courses you’ve taken, both formal and informal, plus your completion status; feel free to list any training sessions that you haven’t finished yet, just be sure to add the date when this will happen.
How to Write the Programmer Resume Work Experience Section
As discussed above and demonstrated in the programmer resume samples, you’ll have a few different formatting options as you draft and edit your work experience section. You can choose to present your information using the chronological layout, the functional layout, or any hybrid combination of these two styles, as long as you make your background available and understandable. No matter how you choose to organize and share these details, your reviewers should be able to easily find the information they’re looking for on the page.
If you choose the chronological format, you’ll create a separate entry for each one of your relevant past positions, starting with the most recent. Each entry will include your job title, your employer, your start and end dates, your basic responsibilities, and your most important accomplishments while you held that role. Put the last bits in bullet point form, start them with action verbs and add a quantitative element if possible.
For example, rather than just saying that you identified missed SEO opportunities, explain how much revenue you generated by making these quick fixes.
If you choose the functional format, begin by adding an ‘Accomplishments’ section that lists each of your most important abilities and programming languages. You can list software tools (like Perl, SharePoint or .net) and you can also list specific skills you have to offer (like user training, GUI design, documentation or software development). Follow this information with a short work experience section that lists each of your past job titles, but don’t worry about adding more supporting detail (like employment dates or special accomplishments).
Action Verbs to Include in Your Programmer Work Experience Section
Here are a few action verbs that can help tighten your message:
How to Write the Programmer Resume Skills Section
After your work experience section, you’ll create a resume section that’s specifically designed to show off your skills – not just as a programmer, but as an employee. In this section, you’ll have a chance to highlight the skills that can add value to your potential company, including all skills related to leadership, reading, writing, presentation, foreign languages, project management, the arts, athletics, math, community service, and anything else that might interest your employers or give them more information about who you are as a person and what it might be like to work side by side with you every day.
Keep this section concise and meaningful – make sure your employers can draw a clear line between each skill you list and your potential success with this company and this position. And above all else, make sure your list of skills aligns with those attributes the employer is looking for.
Should I Include References in my Programmer Resume?
You may want to submit a portfolio of your work along with your resume and cover letter, and you can certainly include a links to your work within the text of your resume document. But don’t include the names and personal contact information of your references within your resume unless this is specifically requested by the job post.
Instead, list your references in a separate document and send this to your reviewers when and if they ask for it. Make sure the list includes at least three people who know you personally and can answer detailed questions about your approach to your work. And of course, you’ll want to let these people know ahead of time that you plan to provide their names for this purpose.
Programmer Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid
Use these programmer resume samples to stay on the right track as you launch your job search, and while you’re at it, keep a close eye out for common mistakes like these:
Buried Details: As a programmer, you’re certainly familiar with the power of keywords. So don’t miss a chance to use valuable keywords, and don’t let important details become buried halfway down the page or lost in a drift of less important information. If you know your employers need HTML skills, and you have these skills, make this point crystal clear.
Missed opportunities: Don’t focus your entire document on your coding abilities alone. As hard as you worked for these skills, they aren’t unique, and your competitors will also be able to claim them. So in addition to coding, show off your ability to lead, teach, and work as a member of a team.
Typos: Employers usually want programmers who pay meticulous attention to detail, so don’t let a typo-ridden resume send the wrong message. Get the editing help you need and make sure every line of your document is error free.
Job Prospects in the Programming Industry
In 2014 about 328,600 new jobs were made available to computer programmers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number is expected to decrease by about 8 percent by 2024 due to global outsourcing, but job prospects for employees in this industry are still decent and wages hover at about 77,000 USD, especially for job seekers with a bachelor’s degree.