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How to write a developer CV that recruiters love

05 Jun 2020 by Maria Kotaniemi

What should every developer CV include and more importantly, why should one have a CV? First things first. Everyone, not just developers, should have a CV to convince a prospective employer of your know-how and special skills = employability. When it’s in writing, it makes it more trustworthy. People are funny that way.

At Talented, we have helped hundreds of developers in job and project hunt and to find their dream jobs. Having seen thousands of CVs and after hours and hours of discussions with recruiters and hiring managers, we have learned what the key elements that recruiters want to see are and what makes an excellent developer CV. Here we share those insights with you.

>> Download a free CV template here! <<

Developer CV should

  • be in English. It will come in handy to have your CV at least in English when looking for new challenges in the software industry.
  • be short, meaning that you should only list relevant work experience.
  • be truthful. Moderate self-congratulation is healthy but don’t exaggerate or lie.
  • stand out. You don’t want to be just another frontend developer.

Github is great for showcasing your code and (hobby) projects, but it’s not enough.

What should a developer CV include?

Must have

  • Bio. A short intro about your special skills, career goals and professional passion, tailored to the applied role.
  • Contact information
  • Photo. A nice headshot, no travel pics, motor vehicles or sunglasses. You can be creative and show your character, but don’t go too crazy.
  • Education
  • Relevant job history. If you have a long track record, only list the experience that’s relevant for the role you’re applying. Also, recruiters love a story form: “Customer X had a problem Y. A team was built to solve the Y and my role was Z. I defined the solution based on paradigm H. The solution was carried out by the team and I was responsible for A, B and C.”
  • Professional skills. Recruiters want to know how much experience from [name a technology] you have in years, so you might want to write the skills like this: Java 2009-2020 (11 years).
  • Superstar moments. What makes you special? What are the greatest professional moments of your career? Examples: Scaling a service from 100K requests a day to 10M requests a day. Combining two legacy databases with billions of rows of data into a modern relational database with zero downtime.

Nice to have

  • References
  • Achievements. Have you succeeded in competitions or hackathons? Have you won awards or do you have patents for your creations?

Could have

  • Mentoring experience.
  • Hobby projects, such as open-source projects, game projects or side businesses (online courses, SaaS, consulting…)
Time to update your CV? Download a free CV template here!

You might also want to read:
What developers can ask for in a job interview
How to land (any) job


Hey software superstar. Movie stars don’t send individual applications to roles, why should you?
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Talented is shaking up the general way of recruiting software professionals in Finland and worldwide. We help senior IT and digital Talents to find better fitting jobs and projects, and companies to build digital competences and employer brand.

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