97

I am looking for good, objective ideas and examples of a resume for a Software Engineer. By all means, post a link to your own resume if you are comfortable with doing so.

Mostly I am looking at how it should be formatted and what kind of information should be included (and in what order on the resume.)

51 accepted

There is no single good way to structure or layout a resume.

Avoid common mistakes (MS Comic Sans; bright distracting colours; pony pictures; and incorrect grammar and spelling) and consider the following typical guidelines:

  • Use a clean, legible font, with clear headings.
  • List core skills near the beginning of the document.
  • Don't cram too much into too small a space - leave room for white space.
  • Keep the content to within two sides of paper.
  • Order work experience or education by date, in descending order.
  • Write about your achievements at each job, and what you used to attain them.
  • Include information about being a team player, when relevant.

Large gaps in your development history might require an explanation. Be sure to have a good explanation prior to the interview (do not think one up on the spot).

Talk with a human resources representative about the subject. Many university and colleges have departments that specialize in resume writing.

30

The classic advice is:

  • Put your name at the top in large font (for ease of sorting). Dont put 'Resume' or 'Curriculum Vitae' - its amazing how many people still do this.
  • Follow with a comma separated list of your key skills on one line. Not everything you have ever used but the 4-8 things you are happy being quizzed on in detail
  • Next comes your employment history in reverse order (no one cares where you started 'n' years ago), then your industry certifications and finally your education (reversed again)
  • Be very careful if you have a PhD and an impressive publications list. Unless you are going for a very specialized position this can do you more harm than good. Be modest (e.g. 'publications available on request')
  • Assume that the whole thing is going to be faxed, scanned, photocopied and folded several times before it gets to the person who can give you the job. So no fancy fonts or use of colour and never any images.
  • Contact information should go in a footer at the bottom of each page. You want it to be readily available but not to waste useful space.

I keep mine here - note that its an abbreviated version for clients who want a summary.

22

Here are some suggestions:

  • Keep it short and to the point. Few people bother to read anything longer than three pages. Put the most important information first, since when someone is scanning a large stack of resumes, they are only likely to read the first few paragraphs or the first page before they move on to the next in the pile. Because of this, you must make your first page a memorable one.

  • Write a short (one paragraph) "snippet" about yourself at the top of the first page (after the basic personal information, contact details, etc.). If someone only reads the first two scentences on your resume, this is your (possibly only) chance to make a good first impression.

  • Summarize your areas of expertise and key domains with a few keywords on the first page. Again, this is your first impression for lazy and busy readers. Put "trigger" keywords here that will make peple interested in reading the rest of your resume. For example:

Key areas:
Programming, quality assurance, usability, networking (TCP/IP), enterprise systems, distributed applications, Scrum, security, databases (SQL), test-driven development, web 2.0, cloud computing.

Note: don't fall for the temptation to put a lot of buzzwords in this section. If they trigger anything for the interviewer, you probably don't want to work there anyway... ;)

  • Include keywords for your work experience. If you write a few sentences about each job position or project in your list of work experience, it is often a good idea to also include some keywords about the languages, concepts and technologies used. Again, this is to increase "scannability" of your resume for people who don't have time to read it all. Example:
2000 - 2005: Mad scientist assistanct, Insanley Rich Man Inc., Secret Place. 
             Worked as an assistant for a mad scientist on a private research
             project funded by an insanely rich man. Developed humanoid robots
             to feed and play with his pet tigers while he was on vacation. 

             Keywords: Python, C++, Scrum, robotics, microcontrollers, 
             animal psychology.  
  • Include your hobbies and interests. They tell something about you as a person and it gives the interviewer a chance to "break the ice" and make you relax with some smalltalk. You might be surprised how often geeks (even geek bosses) share similar interests, also outside the domain of computers and natural sciences.

  • If you have experience in many programming languages or technologies, it might be useful to list them in a three-column table listing the language, years of experience and your subjective experience level. For example:

  Language    Level           Known since
  C++         Advanced        1995
  Perl        Basic           2005
  PHP         Intermediate    2000
  Java        Advanced        1998

Update: I have elaborated on some of these thoughts (and others) in a separate article on my blog.

13

I like to receive them in PDF. Name of the attachment should ideally include your name, and not just be CV.pdf - it makes my life easier. Include a subject line in the email, and a short covering note saying where you saw the ad and why you are applying.

Anything more than 2 sides is too much. I want to know

  • Work experience
  • Level of programming ability, if not shown by work experience. Be honest. When a fresh grad claims intermediate C++, they invariably mean "took one course in it".
  • Degree, including grade, or equivalent
  • Hobby programming or anything that demonstrates an interest in programming
  • Other interests (e.g. team sports, organisations, communications skills)

Anything else is just fluff. I don't mind it being there so long as the CV is less than 2 sides total.

Absolutely NO spelling mistakes. If English is not your native language, then get someone to read it through.

A covering letter is also nice, stating where you saw the advert and what position you're applying for. If you mention the company and/or address the recruiter by name (if the advert states it), then try to spell the names correctly. It's amazing how many people don't.

EDIT -- I apparently need to defend my position that I like to see the university grade. Since I usually target fresh grads for recruitment, University represents the most recent three or more years of their life. I want to know what they did with it, and the grade is important. I also take into account what they tell me about the course, their projects, and so forth. Despite what people say, I find that there is a correlation between people who do well at Engineering type degrees and who subsequently become good software engineers.

If you got a 3rd class degree, or whatever that equates to in GPA, then you are welcome to work here. But you not only need to show why you are good at software, you need to explain to me why you got a 3rd. Because at first face it looks like you pretty much failed in a course that you chose to study for three years. I know, of course, that there are plenty of good reasons why this may be the case, and I will ask. But the guy who got 70% in his degree has an advantage over the guy who got 50%, and that's just the way it should be.

9

My #1 tip that's confirmed working =)

Try to stand out! people looking for employee's read loads and loads of boring resumé's.

I built a webbased resumé

Embedded in the document there's hidden input's that define date parameters. With these date parameters an unubtrusive piece of MooTools builds a nice clickable timeline.

Ofcourse, also MAKE SURE you have PDF and Word documents downloadable and/or mailable.

The theory behind it is that it will show the recruiter that you are willing to show off your skills and go the extra mile to stand out.

7

I actually maintain three (well, two in three different formats) resumes. I have a "short" version (1 sheet of paper, front or front/back) that I use when meeting people. I also have a longer version that I maintain on my website and document/PDF format for digital consumption.

Something like that might be appropriate for you.

7

Go clear, short and sweet. And tailor it specifically for every job that you apply for.

6

Follow all of the above advice except the pages limit (mine is about 7 pages after 30 years). Use whatever space is necessary to convey the depth and breadth of your experience, without being verbose

But keep in mind that a resume is a selling tool; you are selling yourself to the reviewer. Don't just list where you worked and what title you had, but put in bullet points of the things that you achieved and how they benefitted the company, e.g.

  • designed and implemented a whizz-bang foobar translator using XML, VRML, and SPAM, which resulted in a 77.4% cost savings to the company in the first year

Software engineers add value to the bottom line; given the choice between two engineers with identical resumes, I'd choose the one that told me the business value of the projects he/she worked on over one that did not. That tells me that this engineer understands his/her purpose is to add value not just flip bits and sling code ;-)

Good luck!

6

This article The Art of Developer Resume has some pretty useful thoughts on resume format.

6

Latex! Why has nobody mentioned this?

http://www.latex-project.org/

5

You can look at my latest CV online.

4

As others have already said, keep it to a single sheet of paper.

One of my biggest interviewing pet-peeves is when someone lists something on their resume, but isn't willing or prepared to talk about it. If it's been too long for you to remember any details, don't list it. If your role in a project was minor and you can't speak about the project in general, don't list it. Don't list technologies that you aren't prepared to talk about or (if applicable) demonstrate at the white-board.

It's better to understate on your resume and wow at the interview, NOT the other way around (i.e. don't use the term 'expert' on your resume).

If it's on your resume, it's fair game in an interview, and that is usually your only chance to make an impression.

4
  • Short - no more than 2 sides - preferably one.
  • Obvious - make it easy for me to see why hiring you is a no-brainer. Structure your CV to emphasize your characteristics that match my job-post.
  • Recent - tell me what you actually did in your last round of work - this is the experience that will most interest me. Tell me the highlights of your job too - I want to know where your passions lie.
  • Relevant - if you're going to tell me what you did in 1999 keep it simple I'll ask questions if I need to know. Telling me every position you've worked in since school may not actually help me.
  • Factual - anything you tell me could/will be called on - don't lie - it's not worth it.
  • No Alphabet Soup - list of products and codewords tells me nothing about you.
4

The name of your resume should always include your name. Good ideas:

trenton_lipscomb_resume.pdf
TrentonLipscombResume.pdf
lipscomb_trenton_resume.pdf

bad ideas:

resume.pdf
r.pdf
attachment.pdf
cv.pdf
trenton_lipscomb_resume.odt (sorry Open Office... we need a widely compatible format)

I've sorted through hundreds of resumes, and I'm sure at least 1 was lost due to a naming collision.

3

Make sure it is one page. Bill Gates doesn't need more than one page for his resume, why should you?

3
  1. Leave out all the fancy formatting etc if you are sending to an agency as the first thing they do is copy the text into their database.
  2. If you are listing your education details, also list results, companies get suspicious if you leave them out, it makes them think you are hiding something.
  3. If you have a work gap, for any reason, put a note in as to what you were doing, even if it was just extended holidays. Companies dont like unexplained gaps in your work history.
  4. Whatever you put on your CV make sure you can talk for at least 10 minutes about it. Dont put anything on that you dont know about, you will be caught out, maybe not straight away but it will come back to bite you later.
  5. If you are active on any technical forums, put it in your interests and hobbies section.
  6. If you have a website put it in your contact details, but only if its something you would not mind your future employers to see.
  7. Something which a lot of agencies and companies were very surprised to see on my CV was a list of all the technologies I have used, number of years used, and last used. Dont list your level of competence in them, just how long you used them, it is better to explain your level of competence in person rather then just having a list of technologies with expert beside each one, people assume you are lying in that case.

Thats all I can think of for now. except for this one, never, ever, ever lie on your CV. you will get caught.

2

Don't have a huge laundry list of technologies (languages, frameworks, toolkits, etc) you've used. List your prior experiences, and include the appropriate technologies et al that you used specific to them.

List pertinent hobby projects as well as work experience. Be prepared to talk about anything and everything on your resume.

2

I use the Europass CV template. At least here in Europe, it's widely recognized and it's spreading rapidly.

2

Representation-wise, I like the approach of writing the source document in Markdown. This can be submitted when plain text is required (e.g. many web-based resume management systems) and it's already "ASCII formated". You can then convert to X/HTML (particularly for web-oriented employers expecting valid W3C hypertext docs). Finally, for a traditional publishing/printable/what-HR-depts-like format: print X/HTML to PDF.

2

See http://www.manager-tools.com/category/resume for a series of podcasts and examples of a simple one page format that has been very effective. Yes, I know the site says "manager" and you wanted "engineer", but it doesn't matter - take the principles and apply them.

One page. One paragraph per position, including dates in that position and the responsibilities you had. A few bullet points for each position with your accomplishments in that position. Use numbers in your accomplishments, e.g.

  • reduced build time by 27% by reconfiguring Cruise Control and ant scripts

Work your technology buzzwords into your responsibilities and accomplishments - the OCR will find them.

2

Ths comic does a good job of succintly making cynical but not entirely untrue points.

1

I look at a lot of resumes and, in general, I like to see things in the following order: skills (ranking), job experience (including projects and innovations) and education.

1

It partly depends on how much experience you have. If you're fresh out of school, you probably have an internship or two, but not much work experience to list. In that case, instead of having the basis of your resume be your past employers and what you did for them, focus on your skills and talents and how you use them, even if it wasn't for a job. Here is an example from my resume when I was fresh from undergrad. Include what you did as a member of any club or organization.

You'll notice I prefer to have my resume use strong active verbs, as well. This would include words like "developing", "designing", "writing", "creating", etc. Try to avoid using weaker words like "supporting" or "assisting".

There are tons of resume templates out there. Choose one that doesn't have much formatting and leaves lots of white space. Try to leave as much of that white space as possible.

1

I found the strangely named BusinessBalls.com pages to be very helpful, as they are full of templates and example statements, not only for technically focussed job applications, but also managerial ones

1

I went with an unusual approach for an IA position about 2 years ago, the resume was well-received and a good interview-conversation-starter. I didn't get that job but ended up using the same resume for the next job I interviewed for, this time a UI development position, which I got! All that to say I'm not sure this is a great direction to go with resume-building, or even if it is that I executed very well at all, but I do still have PDF and PNG versions of it online...it is three pages but meant to hold up as 1, 2, or all 3 pages. The 3rd page timeline did not get updated with the most recent revision.

1

I'm wondering when I'll see a resume that includes a programmer's Stack Overflow Reputation or a link to their Stack Overflow profile - i.e. indicating their ability to answer technical questions.

1

I'm a consultant so it might be different, but I basically have my summary (what I do, .NET, SQL, C# yadda).

I list the:

  • Client - Dates Worked

  • Project Summary and Scope.

  • Type of development environment (.NET, SQL, MVP, MVC)

  • Then I list what I did on the project.

My resume is about five pages.

1

By far the best resume book out there is Resume Magic. It's written by a long-time professional resume writer and has a ton of before-and-after examples to see how to improve your resume. It also teaches you to use the secrets of advertisers to write a resume that will capture the reader's attention. Both my brother and I have used it to write resumes that got us interviews.

1

Having interviewed a few people, I can only list what I like in a resume:

  • Short: 3 pages or less, lots of whitespace (aka note scribbling space). Don't feel obliged to mention everything you ever did.
  • Tailored: going into detail about the things relevant to the position, skimming across the rest
  • Topical, not chronological: organize things based on topic, not date, but do make it clear which was your most recent position. Although I have to say this is not that important.

Other people may prefer other structures, so YMMV.

1

Most important: short and organized, make it easy for those hiring you to see relevant details. I have reviewed many resumes, and when I get an 8 page resume it goes straight into the trash, I never even look at it. It's like the applicant is saying "your time is not valuable to me, I am going to make you wade through all this crap trying find important details." Volume never impresses me.

I used a 2 page resume even when I had 10 years of diverse software experience (nice because it fits on a single sheet, double sided). I have gone to 3 pages now that I have 15 years experience.

1

Remember to mention the language used in each of the projects you list. I've seen far too many CVs which start with a list of languages and technologies but then don't link them to the experience.

If I can't tell where/when/how you used the languages or technologies that you claim to know then I assume you wrote them at the start to get past some auto-filtering process and its going in the bin.

Also - since there is no auto filtering process, if you're CV is too long (more than 3 pages) then I'm going to lose interest and move on to the next one.

1

I use emurse.com . I don't worry about format at all. The most important thing is still the content. The website provides a url (e.g. yourname.emurse.com) where you can use to distribute your resume such that people can download it in any format. It can even send you email notification when someone views your resume.

0

Have a look at xmlresume (http://xmlresume.sourceforge.net/). It's an xml schema + formatters (xsl stylesheets) for text, html and pdf. It contains many elements that are 'common practice' in resumes. It makes formatting really easy, and helps you maintain a single source that you can use in different contexts.

0

If you do it in TeX and you'll impress those whom you wish to impress. Not so much if you do it in Word. If you make your resume in Google Docs and the URL prints off http://docs.google.com/resume%20for%20this%20stupid%20job%20interview you are not a lucky guy.

0

How about a more visual approach to your resume?

http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2009/07/02/how-creative-should-a-designer%E2%80%99s-resume-be/

0

My two cents goes for an online version of your cv. Specially if you have your own domain name and own hosting (total freedom to edit). Some small details that you cannot cover with a dead-tree format:

  • Links providing more info about the companies/projects you worked for
  • Source code samples
  • Online communities: Linkedin, SO...

Going a little bit further, a blog might be a great introduction letter

Ideally you should have something that is quick to read, but easy to navigate for more information

0

Well I suggest instead of let us post the resume why don?t post your resume and ask us what?s on our mind. Any way if you real need sample check resume template for more different Software Engineer?s template.

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0

Resume objectives is your first impression, Writing a resume is challenging work. You have to work hard on every phrase and to describe more effectively.your objectives. what is d purpose of writting resume objective? How resume objective is helpful for our career. The objective has to be written in a good manner and it shoud be clear. Also provide an example of resume objective