What You’ll Find in This Guide
- Why a Web Developer Should Spend Time on a Resume
- General Rules to Follow for a Web Developer Resume
- Tips for Each Section of a Web Developer Resume
- Tips for an Entry-level Web Developer Resume
- Cover Letter for Web Developer?
Why a Web Developer Should Spend Time on a Resume
If you want the highest salary for your skillset, you’ll need a resume to help prove that you’re worth it. But it doesn’t just come down to money. Positions with companies with the best culture, benefits, perks, and work-life balance are the most competitive. That said, there’s no reason why you should have to settle for a subpar job. Taking the time to craft a quality resume can go a long way toward helping you find a career you can enjoy. And feeling satisfied with your work can have a big impact on your overall happiness.
Putting a game-changer web developer resume together requires time and consideration. Unfortunately, sometimes the people who see your resume may not have the same technical background as those they’re in the process of hiring. These recruiters might not be able to decipher a web developer resume or any tech-focused resume. That means that you’ll need to be able to express your skills in language that an HR representative will be familiar with (without falling back on jargon).
Resume builder programs or resume templates are often an attractive option, but what is most important is that you deliver a resume that solves the problems faced by the recruiter. That is to say, recruiters need resumes that are easily searchable and that demonstrate to them that you can perform the job for which they are hiring. How do you do that? Take a look at our “Guide to Writing a Web Developer Resume.” We’ll walk you through everything you’ll need to create an impressive, accessible resume to help you get your foot in the door.
General Rules to Follow for a Web Developer Resume
Think Like a Company or Recruiter
It’s easy for a resume to feel like it’s all about you. But it’s really all about the company you want to work for. What do they need? What do they want? Don’t make your talent the focus. Instead, focus on how your talent can benefit the company.
Too often, a web developer resume includes something similar to: “Remodelled client’s website by conducting all front-end development and coding entire back-end.” This is a worthy accomplishment. But most companies aren’t as interested in how you spent your days at work; they’re much more interested in knowing whether or not you produce good results for companies. For all they know, that revamped website didn’t bring in any extra revenue or improve company perception.
Instead, you could lead with the results of your work. “Increased client’s online purchases by 9% through remodeling their website.” Now, when a recruiter skims your resume and sees a list of how different organizations benefited from your work, they’ll see how their company will benefit from you.
Also, be aware that recruiters will want to know if you’ve worked in a similar environment to the one you’re applying for, so demonstrating positive results in those areas can go a long way. Simply put, if you have prior experience — and success — doing what the employer needs done, then you’ll look like a very practical hire.
Revamp for Each Company
Just as every company or position you apply for will be different, you’ll need a different resume for each. Recruiters and companies will have different expectations and focuses for each position. Which means you’ll need to research each position and company to understand exactly what they’re looking for. Then, consider how you will be able to fulfill those needs. Address specific experiences or skills you can showcase that relate to their needs.
You should also read the web developer job description, the company website, and any other communication you’ve had with the company. Make note of the language and try to use it where appropriate. This will help the recruiter glancing over your resume to recognize that you meet their needs.
The right language and terminology can also be helpful for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) — programs used by many companies (large and small) to handle the large influx of resumes they receive.
Tell the Beautiful Truth
Don’t lie. Never, ever lie on your resume. But feel free to tastefully brag about your accomplishments. Recruiters like to see numbers and clear-cut results. While you’re working, set up analytics and other forms of tracking how your work is affecting results for your company. If you don’t have numbers to support the change and improvement you’ve influenced, you can give calculated estimates. This isn’t lying if you can explain the numbers.
For instance, let’s say that you know that your team became more efficient once you joined. You could talk to people from your team, or a manager, to find out about how many clients or projects your team handled per month or year before you started. Then, find out what that number is with you on the team. If these are estimates (researched estimates), that’s okay. With those numbers, you could write in your resume, “Increased team project efficiency by about 11%.” If you are in an interview and they ask you how you increased efficiency, you’d have an explanation for that number.
Show, don’t tell. A nice list of attributes or skills can be useful for someone scanning the resume. But any skill you put in one of those lists should shine through in your experience section. Those lists can be helpful to recruiters. Don’t get rid of them. But reference them while writing your experience section, and make sure that the listed skills are obvious in the work that you talk about.
For example, if you make a list of skills and include front-end web developer, make sure that you reference successful front-end projects you worked on throughout your experience section. You can also go through the experience section once you’ve finished it and see what skills stand out. That way, you know your skills section is supported by the experience section.
Make It Skimmable
A visually-appealing resume may look nice. But when it comes to getting hired, you need something that the recruiter can take in at a glance without having to dig through unnecessary graphics or unusual formatting. A simple resume formatted chronologically that clearly states your geographic location, skills, education status, and previous job experience will be much more skimmable (and less likely to get passed over).
Tips for Each Section of a Web Developer Resume
Once you’ve written the experience section, scan through and look for common themes. What kind of employee are you? What makes you stand out? Craft a very brief summary of how you benefit organizations. Even though you write the summary last, place it at the top of your resume. The purpose of the summary section is to give the recruiter a quick look at what sets you apart from others and makes you an asset to their company — but be aware that many recruiters will skip past this section if it looks too long.
You might hear that you need to choose between a summary and an objective depending on how much experience you’ve had. But if you don’t have too much work experience, your summary will naturally end up looking more like an objective. Either way, it’s usually ideal to write your summary after you’ve done the rest of your resume. This will give you the chance to look at everything and decide which pieces to set on the summary pedestal.
Typically, a web developer resume has a long list of hard and technical skills to show off. You don’t always know which technical skills the recruiter is specifically looking for. Since that’s the case, it’s okay to include a long list of skills. With a long list, you should organize the sections to make it skimmable. For instance, you could have script, database, and application as three sections for your web developer skills. Just make sure you aren’t listing skills you don’t have. Additionally, when discussing your skills, remember that you’ll be speaking to someone who understands to industry, so don’t be afraid to talk tech and use acronyms.
It’s important to list hard and technical skills but soft skills are more debatable. Listing these isn’t always impressive because (1) a ton of people are going to include the same items, like leadership, and (2) these skills aren’t always easy to prove in your experience section. If you have a few specific soft skills that you really want to include, try to reword them in ways that show how they are well suited to the specific job you’re applying for. You should also make sure to prove those skills in your experience section.
It’s easy to fill your experience section with the first projects and accomplishments that come to your head. But this can backfire. For one thing, many applicants have a tendency to remember the projects that they cared most about rather than the projects that made the most impact. You want your experience section to be a list of proof that you improve and sustain organizations. You also want it to be direct and concise — include the company or organization name, the dates you were employed, and 4 – 6 bullet points with a technical tone that focuses on your action and the result.
How to Pick the Best Projects and Examples
Try to take the extra time to rack your memory for experiences that aren’t surfacing quickly. It might help to involve other people. Ask co-workers, former employers, peers, or even family if they can think of anything you’ve worked on. Once you’ve made a decent-sized list, you can start the vetting process.
Shift your focus from showcasing your talent to proving that your talent can benefit an organization. Look for projects with big, organizational results. Or at least look for projects that have measurable results. That being said, some projects are definitely worth mentioning, even if they don’t already come with quantifiable measurement.
In the general rules section, we discussed how to make a researched, educated estimate of the impact of your work. Feel free to do that for those projects that you really want to showcase that may not have numbers already attached. Or do it for projects that you know had an impact but currently lack quantifiable proof.
Organizing the Experience Section
List your professional experience in reverse-chronological order. Assuming that you’ve been improving your skill over time, the reverse-chronological order will showcase your best work at the top. Make sure to include your job title, the company, and the dates that you worked in that position or on those projects.
Since so many job candidates practically ignore tweaking this section, you can use it to stand out.
If you had a GPA of 3.5 or higher, you could showcase it. If you had classes that were particularly hands-on or projects that stand out, list those. Highlighting a handful of extracurricular clubs or involvement can tell a recruiter that you do more than the bare minimum.
One thing to be aware of is that if you’ve recently completed your education (such as within the last few years), recruiters might consider you more teachable than someone who’s been in the industry for a while, which can potentially help offset a lack of work experience. So if you’ve been investing your time in your education, make sure to highlight that fact.
Of course, traditional college isn’t the only educational path to a career in web development — coding bootcamps are gaining a strong reputation for training talented, effective developers. So, be sure to include your bootcamp experience as well as any certifications or recognitions you may have earned during your time there.
Hobbies and Interests
Whether or not you include this section and what goes inside it depends a good deal on the culture of the company you’re applying to and who you are as a person. Some organizations really want well-rounded employees. They value an engaging culture, and they try to find interesting people.
Other organizations might feel like you’re wasting their time by including fun facts about you in a resume. If you have no idea which side of the line the company stands on, you can play it safe by including a small tidbit about your personal interests. If possible, you might also consider doing some light research into the hiring manager (no stalking, though); if you can see that you share any hobbies or interests, then it might be worth pointing out.
If you include this section, you should still be showing the company that you’ll be beneficial to their operation. Each personal piece of information should tie back to how you’re driven, creative, or how you have another beneficial attribute. Here are some ways to show your hobbies in a good light.
- Not: I love the great outdoors
- Instead: Each summer I hike the equivalent of summiting Mount Shasta
- Not: I love Star Wars
- Instead: Coded an interactive Star Wars themed computer game as a personal project
Tips for an Entry-Level Web Developer Resume
How to Get Experience Fast
Freelance projects are a very useful solution to entry-level-resume paralysis. Ask friends or family to see if someone has their own business who could use some less-expensive (or free) web development.
You can also sign up for hackathons or work on your own code in GitHub. Any work that you do on your own can be listed in the experience section with a job title like Freelance Web Developer. By securing just a few projects under your belt, crafting a resume will feel much easier.
Don’t worry though. It’s definitely still possible to put together a competitive resume without professional experience. The secret is recognizing how your talent can benefit the company. There are multiple ways to prove this without work experience.
How to Use the Experience You Already Have
Highlighting educational experience and accomplishments can boost an entry-level resume. Which school projects are you most proud of? You can have a mix of web development projects and regular school projects. There are certain skills that a future employer cares about that other projects could prove.
For instance, you could show that you are dedicated to meeting deadlines. You could include a bullet point about being the team lead in a group project and making adjustments to your team in order to meet the deadline. At this point in your career, you might not have too many projects specifically in web development, but any coding skills or projects can be useful to highlight.
Cover Letter for Web Developer?
Many resume guides will tell you to always include a cover letter, but the reality is that unless your prospective employee requires one, you can actually skip this section. That’s because recruiters are often very busy people, and are much more interested in seeing your skills and experience laid out in your resume than reading a personal essay about your hireability. If you have specific points you’d like to address in your cover letter, consider simply putting those points into the resume or sharing them verbally when you meet the recruiter in person.
That said, there may be occasions where a cover letter is necessary. Here are a few ways to make an effective cover letter.
- Address it and send it to a specific person. This is really a bigger issue than just a cover letter trick. The difficulty of standing out in a large pile of resumes can be disheartening. But if you can find someone from the organization to be a point of contact, you’ll have an edge.
- Customize it to the company. You can customize a resume only to a certain extent. But the content of a cover letter should be original and unique, company to company. But that’s it. Make sure to explain exactly why you chose to apply to that organization.
Here’s a recap of the most useful advice that’s been discussed.
- Your resume shouldn’t just show off your talent; it should prove that your talent can improve and sustain an organization. Apply this principle to what you choose to include in your resume, how you word your bullets, and how you organize everything.
- Customize your resume for each company you apply to.
- Prove your summary and skills in your experience section.
- Use quantifiable proof to fill your experience section with impressive results of your work
- Believe that you can make a quality resume as an entry-level employee