The Front-End Developer Resume Hiring Managers Actually Want to See

By: Fullstack Academy's Career Success Team

We’re creating a series on developer resumes so you can be prepared for the job market and the interview process. See our resume recommendations for back-end developers here.

Front-end web developers are tasked with building an application’s user experience to effectively and aesthetically deliver information to site visitors. Essentially, it’s on them to communicate the essence of the product to consumers.

Since no business can survive without the medium for this communication—client-facing web pages—there is a strong job market for front-end developers. In the United States, they receive a handsome average salary of $103,000 a year.

You may be wondering how you can get a piece of that pie.

Once you’ve received the proper training, the next step is to relay your qualifications in a properly structured front-end developer resume. Whether you are a seasoned programmer or on the hunt for your first web developer job, this post will help you craft a professional front-end developer resume.

Why Do I Need a Resume?

On average, recruiters spend only six to 10 seconds scanning a resume before they decide whether it stays or goes, so some developers, especially those who have experience with various programming languages, count strongly on connections to find their next job.

And it’s true that in the world of computer science, web designers and developers often find employment through referrals, and having held the job title of front-end or back-end developer certainly boosts your marketability even without a resume to go with it. Professional relationship-building is a core skill set you will develop with the Career Success team at Fullstack.

The question is, though, do you want to limit yourself to the kinds of jobs that might (or might not) just fall into your lap? Or do you want to put your best foot forward and land the kind of job you would do for fun, even if you didn’t need the paycheck?

Persistent, active applying and using your resume to your advantage are also a core skill set that adds to your job search tool belt. Putting your best foot forward involves creating positive connections and simultaneously pitching your credentials with a resume.

If you still think you can rest on your laurels, consider this data collected by Glassdoor: On average, each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes. Of this talent pool, four to six will be invited to interview, and only one will be offered the job.

Ready to build your resume? Let’s do it. 

Formatting and Styling

As mentioned above, recruiters typically give your resume a mere six- to 10-second once-over. If your formatting is bad, they might spend even less time.

Readability is the key to preventing this. Especially as a front-end developer, you can ensure that your resume doubles as a sampling of your skills for the job.

You can also demonstrate user-experience awareness by giving detailed attention to your resume’s aesthetic. 

Best Practices

  • Use proper spacing
  • Use a lot of white space to make it easier to identify important information
  • Use page breaks, bolding, bullet points, and color
  • Italicize key data points in your job descriptions
  • Bring attention to your major contributions by bolding select phrases
  • Be careful when using color—less is more.

Be aware of the difference between a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a resume. A CV is usually two or more pages and goes into great detail on educational as well as professional achievements.

A resume, the preferred document for most US companies, should be no more than a single page and highlight only the most important career-relevant achievements. As one hiring manager put it, “If your resume is four pages or longer, I immediately resent you.”

Note: While a well-designed resume can appeal to a recruiter’s eye, it may not work well with applicant-tracking systems, the online screeners that scan your resume based on keywords. When applying through an ATS, you will want to use a plain text, preferably Microsoft, PDF, or pure text resume version.

You should also have an online version of your resume. This way you can provide links to project demos, repositories, LinkedIn, and your social media.

The Components of a Web Developer Resume

Career Summary

If your resume opens with, “Using my skills in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, I am hoping to secure a position as a front-end web developer,” the hiring manager is probably going to think you are in high school.

Instead, use a professional summary to briefly introduce your technical skills, interests, and work experience. Here’s a sample from a resume we like:

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY
Passionate front-end web developer with 3 years of experience using JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS to build all aspects of the user experience and user interface for client-facing landing pages. Specializes in using jQuery and AngularJS to build e-commerce sites.

That’s it! As a rule of thumb, your summary should be no more than three sentences. The details of your experience will come in the rest of the resume.

Technical Skills

This skills section is strategically placed near the top of your resume to draw the eyes of recruiters and rank well for the keywords recruiters and their recruiting software are searching for.

Just like you might be searching for a certain job title in a certain location, hiring managers are searching for developers with a particular skill set of programming languages. This is the place to show search engine recruiters that you’re a match.

Keep this section to a simple list using spacing and possibly bullet points. It should look something like this:

TECHNICAL SKILLS
Front-end: JavaScript, jQuery, HTML5, CSS3, Sass Bootstrap, WordPress, AngularJS
Back-end: Python, PHP, Java, WordPress plugins
Other: Ajax, Git, GitHub, CMS, SQ

You may also list your skills based on competency:

Proficient: JavaScript, jQuery, HTML5, CSS3, Sass Bootstrap, WordPress, AngularJ
Experienced: Python, PHP, Java, WordPress plugins
Familiar: Ajax, Git, GitHub, CMS, SQL

Work Experience

Here you should list any experience relevant to computer science and front-end development, even if it’s just a volunteer project you completed for a nonprofit (which is a great resume builder, by the way).

Without being wordy, note your previous employers, the length of each position, tasks performed, and ideally, quantifiable accomplishments.

If you really have no relevant paid or volunteer experience, replace this section with a “projects” section, which we’ll describe below.

Here’s a strong experience section from a front-end developer resume.

WORK EXPERIENCE
BarnYard Software 6/2017–Present
  • Created more than 20 web application landing pages with HTML5 and CSS3
  • Used CSS/Bootstrap to design multiple responsive web apps
  • Iterated user experience to increase visitor form completion by 200%
  • Created, maintained, and enforced front-end code and documentation standards

Projects

The projects section could include freelance projects, passion projects, open-source projects you have contributed to, or a combination of all three.

This is where it pays to have an online version of your resume. Sharing links to demos and GitHub documentation of your projects is far more valuable than simply describing them. Remember: If you are sharing your documentation (which you should be), make sure it’s good!

For open-source, good documentation means following GitHub READMEs and Wikis, and if you are presenting passion projects, write your own documentation. Sharing a project with bad documentation is worse than not sharing a project at all.

Here is an example of a front-end project to share on your resume:

PROJECTS
________________________

Learning & Collaboration | Lead Front-End Developer | www.sampleapp.com | 03/20

Built a customizable online classroom enabling users to tailor the learning environment to subject matter needs

  • Implemented intuitive user experience with React, Twilio, jQuery
  • Produced a robust, real-time updating back-end with Firebase, Node.js, Faker, Express
  • Project built through Agile Development including daily meetings with 3 collaborators and daily action item tracking via Waffle
  • Contributions include but not limited to video chat feature and main page image carousel using Twilio and jQuery

Remember, your projects and work experiences are not meant to stand alone and vouch for you; they should act as guides to tell your story and illustrate your value.

With your descriptions, you are highlighting how you can identify needs, demonstrate creativity and character strengths and solve problems: all essential abilities in developers. 

Education

Think carefully about where you want to place the education section of your web developer resume. If you have worked for multiple companies over a number years, your experience will be more relevant, but if your experience is thin and a degree in computer science is your primary qualification, it may be better to shift the education section to the top of your resume.

If you don’t have a degree but have completed a coding bootcamp or other certification, you can title this section “Skills and Certifications” instead.

In the education section, list your institution, degree or certification, dates of attendance, GPA, and awards, if applicable.

EDUCATION
Bachelor of Science, Computer Science | 2012–2016
New York University
GPA: 3.6, cum laude
Courses: Digital & interactive design, internet technology, content management systems

Resume Ready

You now know the five core sections you need to include in your front-end developer resume to impress hiring managers. To recap, make sure your resume has:

  1. Professional Summary
  2. Technical Skills
  3. Work Experience
  4. Projects
  5. Education

Remember, projects can be substituted for work experience, and education can be moved to the top of your resume if you lack professional experience.

Of course, a professional resume is just a start. You’ll also need a tailored cover letter for each job application and an online web development portfolio showcasing your best work.

When it comes to developer resumes, there is no “one size fits all.” Play to your strengths and design your resume like you would a web page. After all, you are a front-end developer.

Want to give yourself a foot up in the web developer marketplace? Consider additional training at Fullstack Academy.


 
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