The Web Developer Resume Hiring Managers Actually Want to See
By Fullstack Academy's Career Success Team
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for web developers is expected to grow 23% by 2031. With such high demand, you may be wondering how you can kickstart a lucrative career as a developer.
Whether you are a seasoned programmer or on the hunt for your first job, this article will help you craft a professional developer resume tailored to your unique software engineering career goals.
Careers in Web Development
In order to craft an effective web development resume, you first need to understand the different types of developers. There are typically three types of web developers, each requiring a specific skill set:
Front-end web developers build an application’s user experience to deliver information to site visitors quickly, effectively, and aesthetically.
A back-end web developer builds and maintains the technology that powers those user-facing components, as well as implements code that helps browsers communicate with, store, and understand data from databases.
Full stack web developers work in the back-end and front-end—meaning they engineer both client-facing and server-side software.
Web developers can also work in many different roles and industries, including UX/UI design, mobile development, and game development. Understanding the various career paths will help you better tailor your resume and align your skills to your ideal role.
Why Do I Need a Resume?
Once you’ve received the proper training, the next step is to relay your qualifications in a properly structured web developer 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, rely strongly on network connections to find their next job.
In the world of computer science, web designers and developers do 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. That’s why industry-specific professional relationship-building is a core skill set taught to bootcamp students by the Career Success team at Fullstack Academy.
However, 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.
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Web Developer Resume Formatting and Styling
As mentioned above, recruiters typically give your resume a mere six-to seven-second once-over, especially if there are many applicants. If your formatting is off, they might spend even less time.
Readability is the key to preventing this. Especially as a developer, you can ensure that your resume doubles as a sampling of your skills for the job with pertinent information communicated clearly and efficiently.
You can also demonstrate user-experience best practices by applying proven design principles to your resume’s aesthetic.
Use proper spacing
Use white space to make it easier to identify important information
Use page breaks, bolding, and bullet points
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 often more, and a limited palette improves accessibility for readers (including computers!)
Use hyperlinks intentionally to showcase projects, presentations, and article publications
You should also be aware of the difference between a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a resume. A CV is usually two or more pages long and goes into great detail on educational as well as professional achievements.
A resume, the preferred document for most U.S. companies, highlights only the most important career-relevant achievements. In most cases, a resume should only be 1 page long. However, for experienced professionals, a resume may span two pages. It’s important to tailor your resume to each role you apply for.
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 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
While not a requirement, a career summary can be valuable for individuals who want to provide more clarity about their background and goals. Use a professional developer summary to briefly introduce your technical skills, soft skills, interests, and work experience. Here’s a sample from a resume:
Passionate fullstack web developer with 3 years of experience, building RESTful APIs for EdTech companies with an emphasis on maintainability and scale. Proficient in Node, SQL, and GraphQL.
If you’re just starting out, try incorporating your educational background in this section.
Remember to limit your summary to three sentences or less. The details of your experience will come in the rest of the resume.
We recommend leading with a technical skills section to draw the eyes of recruiters and rank well for keywords recruiters and their recruiting software are searching for.
Just like you might be searching for a certain job title in a specific 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:
Back-end: Python, PHP, Java, WordPress plugins
Other: Ajax, Git, GitHub, CMS, SQ
You may also list your skills based on competency:
Experienced: Python, PHP, Java, Wordpress plugins
Familiar: Ajax, Git, GitHub, CMS, SQ
Now it’s time to list any experience relevant to computer science and web development, even if it’s just a volunteer project you completed for a nonprofit.
Make sure to include your previous employers, the length of each position, tasks performed, and quantifiable accomplishments in a clear and concise way.
If you don’t have 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 full stack developer resume.
Full Stack Software Developer - Barnyard Software - 6/2018–Present
- Assisted in designing and development of applications according to design specifications
- Developed scalable strategies for collecting data and delivering timely and efficient solutions
- Created, maintained, and enforced front-end and back-end code and documentation
The projects section could include freelance projects, passion projects, group or individual open-source projects, or a combination of all three.
Here’s where having an online version of your resume pays off. This is a great opportunity to share links to demos and GitHub documentation of your projects instead of simply describing them. Remember: make sure your documentation is both succinct and comprehensive.
For open-source, this means following GitHub READMEs and Wikis. For passion projects, be sure to write your own documentation. And if you’re unable to share quality documentation, it’s better to leave a project out of your resume.
Don’t forget to make your documentation publicly viewable, so that recruiters are able to see all the exciting projects you’ve worked on.
Here is an example of a project to share on your resume:
Here’s a strong experience section from a full stack developer resume.
Learning & Collaboration | Lead Fullstack Engineer | www.sampleapp.com | Github Source | 03/20
Built a customizable online classroom enabling users to tailor the learning environment to subject matter needs.
- Implemented intuitive user experience with React and Twilio
- Produced a robust, real-time updating back-end with Firebase, Node.js, Express
- Project built through Agile Development, including daily meetings with 3 collaborators and daily action item tracking via Waffle
- Contributions include but are not limited to video chat feature and main page image carousel using Twilio and jQuery
- Wrote unit tests using Jest with over 90% test coverage to ensure the application does not break in production
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 solve problems: all essential abilities in developers.
Think carefully about where you want to place the education section on your web developer resume.
If you’ve worked for multiple companies over a number of years, your experience will be more relevant than your education. However, 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.
In the education section, list your institution, degree, dates of attendance, GPA, and awards, if applicable. If you don’t have a degree but have completed a coding bootcamp or other certification, you can list it here. Having a diverse educational background helps you stand out in the job market—use your background to your advantage.
Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication | 2012–2016
Louisiana State University
GPA: 3.8, magna cum laude
It’s important to note that you can account for partial education, as well. If you’ve earned some credits but didn’t receive a degree, you likely have relevant coursework you can highlight. Here’s an example of how to highlight partial education:
Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication | 40 Credits
Louisiana State University
Now you know the five core sections you need to include in your web developer resume to impress hiring managers. To recap, make sure your resume has:
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.
Want to give yourself a leg up in the web development field? Consider additional training at Fullstack Academy.