How to write an awesome junior developer résumé in a few simple steps
So you’ve seen your dream junior developer role advertised, and are thinking about applying. It’s time to write that Resume! Nothing better than sitting down to a blank piece of paper and not knowing how to start, right?
The resume is the first thing that the recruiter sees. It’s the gateway to the interview process and could be the difference between getting your dream job and, well, not getting it. And with one A4 page available, you’re going to want to make sure it’s in check.
Getting into the right mindset
It’s important to get into the right mindset before starting your resume. Believe it or not, your attitude will come out in your resume. Having been in the position to recruit junior developers myself, it’s easy to tell between the ones who ‘really want the job’ and those who ‘kind of want the job’.
Confidence in yourself and your abilities is important. So before you start, stand in front of the mirror, put on the rocky theme tune (or whatever pumps you up), and tell yourself that you’re awesome.
The main things recruiters look for in junior developers are:
- A basic handle on technology
- Passion and a level of curiosity for technology
- Willingness to learn
They know that you are at the beginning of your career. You won’t be expected to lead teams and design systems from day one. They are looking for someone who has potential, but who can also bring value to the business.
You want to convince the recruiter that you have these traits and that you are the right person for the job.
So be bold, be confident and take pride in what you have accomplished so far. — and let’s get it all down on paper.
What makes a good Junior developer Resume?
A recruiter will spend an average of 15 seconds scanning over your resume. Yes, within the same amount of time it takes to read this paragraph, a recruiter will have decided if you are going to progress to the next interview stage.
So how do you cram all the important information into 15 seconds worth of reading?
- Keep it simple. Fancy templates might look nice, but recruiters don’t care. Have clear headings, nice spacing between lines, and consistent, easy to read font.
- Keep it to 1–2 pages.
- Favor short bullet points over long paragraphs
- Be clear and concise. Try to avoid adding fancy words just for the sake of it
Tailor it to the company
So research the role you are applying for, and focus all your points around the criteria listed:
So, if you were to apply for this job, you want to make sure your resume has loads of details about projects and skills that show you know frontend development. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to mention how much you love video games! ;)
How should you structure a Resume?
The basic structure that recruiters will look for in a resume is:
- Personal Details/Contact details
- Employment history (Including internships and non-software development related)
- Software Projects
- Additional Experience and Awards
- Technical Skills
Although this depends on your circumstances. Make sure to put your most valuable/impressive sections closer to the top.
If you are a graduate in a computing-related degree, with an internship behind you, this structure is fine.
However, if you are a self-taught developer, with no prior experience, boost your Software Projects section closer to the top, as this is what will make you stand out.
Personal Details, Contact Details, Links
This is the easy bit. Keep this concise, within the header. You’ll want to include your name in the center, along with some contact details and a link to your GitHub if you have one. Use as little space as you can here, we have more technical things to talk about!
If you have no previous software development experience, this is your chance to shine. For a junior developer role, the recruiter will zero in on this section to see if you have the necessary skills required for the job.
Likewise, even if you have internship experience, listing 1–2 side projects will make a great impression and boost your chances of getting a face to face interview.
List 3–5 of the best projects that you have completed on freeCodeCamp, a coding boot camp, or from your side projects.
Make sure each project shows something different e.g,
- frontend development skills,
- backend development skills,
- mobile app development skills,
- working with end users,
- UX/Design skills,
- collaboration and team working skills,
- challenging problems
…and so on. For each project, list the following:
- Technologies used
- A short description of the project
- A skill implemented and problems you solved
Link each to your GitHub, or even better, if you have it hosted, drop a link to the URL. Your code doesn’t have to be perfect. Although make sure that your code is professional. Having funny comments and variables may seem like a good idea when your code is free from prying eyes, but the recruiters might not see it that way.
Use this as a chance to show how passionate you are about technology and learning new things. Remember, that is what the recruiters are looking for in their search for a junior developer!
For example, you could say;
“I encountered a some problem, so I built a web app using React.js and Node.js which does some awesome thing . Also, I was really curious about learning server-side development”
Simple, but effective.
This is where you list your employment history (e.g internships & previous jobs).
Don’t have development related employment history? Add your most recent employment history instead. E.g, if you worked as an accountant, write that down.
If you can, add 2 previous jobs you worked at.
For each, you want to add your role, the company name, and the time you spent in the role.
List the projects you worked on during your time there, as well as a bulleted list of the things you accomplished within that role. Here’s an example of one of my previous roles:
Don’t simply state what you did, but why you made a difference. For example, you could say,
“I worked on adding social sign-in and registration to the application”
Which is ok I guess, it gets the point across. But how about this instead:
“Worked on social sign-in and registration. This resulted in quick and easy sign-in, as well as a greater number of registrations and paying customers”
This not only concisely outlines what you did, but also the effect it has on the business. Remember, the company is looking for someone who can make an impact.
But what if you don’t have previous internships or software development experience to talk about?
Don’t worry, you can still list the projects from your previous jobs. The main goal here is to show the recruiter that you can manage projects, can work in a team, and can effectively contribute to the success of the business.
Your resume is coming along nicely! Now it’s time for some final few bits of information.
You’ll want to add the highest qualification you have. It’s also a good idea to add a few lines about any final year projects/dissertations you have completed. This will help if you think you are a bit light in the Employment and Software Projects sections.
Space on your resume might be limited at this point, so try and keep this as short as you can:
Accomplishments, hobbies, and Skills
Add any achievement and accomplishments if you have them; like leadership activities or awards. If you attend meetups or conferences in your spare time, add this to your resume well. This will reinforce your skills and passion for technology.
Lastly, you want to add a 1–2 liner with your technology-related skills. A simple comma-separated list will do. This is helpful for recruiters to get a quick overview of your areas of expertise.
What not to do
- Leave out generic terms i.e, “I can communicate with team members” instead, show how, e.g, “working on Team Project X shows I can communicate well”.
- Don’t lie. If you haven’t used a certain language before, leave it out of your resume. Chances are you’ll be caught out in the interview, and nobody wants that.
- Don’t leave out projects or accomplishments because they weren’t complete, if it adds value, add it in!