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How to write a Software Development CV

19th September 2018

Since you are currently browsing on WeCode NI you must be considering a new job sometime soon. As an IT Recruiter with over 7 years’ experience, I have been asked on numerous occasions what structure a CV should take and what content should be and shouldn’t be included. Some developers have stayed in the same job for quite some time and haven’t written a CV in a while, others have never written a CV.

CV Myths

Firstly, lets bust a couple of myths that are out there about CV’s. The main one I hear on a regular basis is that a CV should be kept to one or two pages. If you are a developer with over ten years’ experience in a range of different contract positions, this is an impossibility. If you need to take five pages to get your career history down on paper, then do so.

Another myth that seems to be out there is that a developer needs to write down every technology they have ever had experience with no matter how brief it was. Just because you covered a module of C# in university doesn’t mean you should have it on your CV. Some companies will ask you to back up every skill you have on your CV so if you can’t, then remove it straight away. Only include skills you are competent in.

General Structure

  • Begin with a summary on who you are, what your current role is and what sort of challenge you are seeking in your next job.  
  • Then list the technical skills that you have commercial experience with.  Some developers like to give a rating system or assign levels of competence, but I would recommend that you don’t do this. Do not list skills that are irrelevant e.g. MS Excel.
  • After this, you can go into your career history. Remember, employers are keen to see what your actual role was within a project. Keep the entries specific to your IT career. Employers don’t care that you worked in Tesco’s when you were sixteen.
  • At this point, I would list your education and certifications. Make sure you include any training you have completed in your own time at your own expense. Employers love developers that are motivated and continually improving their skills.
  • Including an ‘Interests’ section is a good idea but only if it something that stands out. Listing interests like ‘socialising with friends’ or ‘going to the cinema’ is pointless. However, if you are an active member of Belfast JS then this is well worth mentioning. List something that really showcases your personality and gives you something to chat about at an interview.

Additional Tips

Don’t send the same CV to every job that you apply for. Tailor it specifically to each position.  Use the job description to help you with this.  If it lists several essential skills that you have then make sure they are clearly visible on your CV.

The easiest way for you to showcase your technical ability is to showcase your projects on GitHub. More and more companies are asking for an active GitHub account. It tells the employer that you are passionate about what you do and you are continually seeking to improve as a developer.

If you would like me to read through your CV and offer additional tips then feel free to reach out to me at /.

Gareth Stirling

Career Advisor