How to get a developer job part II – Build a resume

October 2, 2012

This is part II of a multipart series titled How to get a developer job in Seattle, or Anywhere.

Build a resume

Your resume is arguably the most critical component in your job hunting arsenal. Your resume is typically the first thing a potential employer will see and you need to make is sparkle and sizzle. Your resume needs to have enough pizazz at first glance to intrigue an employer into looking at you a second time, unfortunately the resume is where most people fall short. Why? Lack of personal salesmanship. In our society it is often looked down upon to brag upon yourself and it looked at as petty, however that is exactly what you need to do for your future employer. Ever notice how people that seem to get ahead in life quickly are not shy about speaking of their virtues? Do that, but on your resume. Do not be afraid to tweak and customize your resume specifically for the employer you are going after. Remember, you want to look your best for them specifically.

What is that you say? You are sitting with a blank sheet of paper and you do not know what to write? Start with the essential basics:

  • Name
  • Best contact phone number
  • Email address
  • Website address if you have one ( as a developer you should have one! more on that later )
  • Other appropriate links for your field. This may include links to a LinkedIn profile, or a user account
  • Education. Do not make this section large. List your college education ( high school only if you are new to the employment pool ). List your college, degree acquired, and any relevant pieces, such as a minor. Do not put a large description here. the employer will ask you for more if he is interested in you and wants more information.
  • Work experience

Let’s talk about the work experience section for a bit. The work experience is where most people fall flat on their face. Let’s break it down into smaller bit sized chunks that will make it easier for you to attack:

  • Company name
  • Job title when you exited the company
  • Dates you worked for the company. I generally format mine Month Year – Month Year, though some employers want the day as well. It is up to you, but who really cares the exact date you started that job in 2002?
  • URL to company website
  • Description of responsibilities

See? Easy chunks, all except for that last on…description of responsibilities. The description is the crucial part. You need to show your potential employer what you are capable of here. This section needs to be as brief and concise as possible, while still being meaningful and relevant. Show off your knowledge!

Bad example:

Built websites with WordPress, Managed site deployment, engaged in community interaction

Better example:

Designed, built, and managed website projects developed with WordPress. This position included end to end support of the full product cycle, from creating scope and spec documents through the development phase and on to deployment to a production environment. Additionally, WordPress has a great community of developers and users. In this position I daily interfaced with the community to solve issues both of my clients, help others solve issues, and to improve the core software used by the community through use of IRC, Twitter, and Trac.

Now you try. Ask your friends and family members to read over your resume. Specifically ask them if, after reading it through, they know what you have done and have an idea of what you are looking for in a job. Your most un-technical friends will be goldmines of information on improving your resume. Remember, most recruiters and HR managers are not technical themselves.


This is against conventional wisdom, however there are several good reasons NOT to include references.

  • It gives you more room to sell yourself. That inch or more of space could mean the difference between having space to write an award winning job description or losing it entirely.
  • The potential employer does not care about your references if you have not already impressed him
  • If the potential employer is seriously considering you for the position he will ask for your references
  • Helps keep your references contact information safe and confidential. You do not know what the company does with resumes after they are done with them. They may be tossed in the nearest dumpster and made available for the first identity thief that comes along looking for a new pearl necklace. It is really surprising how far you can get if you have a name, address, and phone number

Remember, you should constantly be refining your resume while on the hunt. Anytime you do not get a position ask the employer why and if there is anything you can do to improve your resume. If you talk to recruiters quiz them on resume content sculpting and what, if anything, they would do to improve yours. I went through 5 vastly different looking and feeling resumes before landing a really kick pants development job.

Pro Tip: Try to keep your resume to one page with a Times New Roman or Arial font between 10 – 12 in size. Sometimes multiple page resumes are useful, but in general an employer receives dozens of applications and does not want to spend a lot of time reading them all. If your first page does not wow him he will probably not continue reading. If you write him a book he may not even open it.

Pro Tip: If you are still having trouble deciding what to put on your resume go create a profile on is one of the largest job board website on the net and has an excellent resume wizard that will help you generate great information for your resume for free.

Stay tuned for the next article, coming out tomorrow!

3 thoughts on “How to get a developer job part II – Build a resume

  1. Ben Lobaugh Online » How to get a developer job in Seattle, or Anywhere
  2. Ben Lobaugh Online » How to get a developer job part III – Get some creds
  3. Ben Lobaugh Online » How to get a developer job part V – Tap into some resources