20 Résumés  Even though you already have a portfolio, you still need to keep an up-to-date resume. Most HR departments require a standard text resume that can be saved in a format like Microsoft Word or PDF and kept on file. Your resume is also what many interviewers use to reference during interviews, and is required when you apply online to most positions. When I was looking for my first job, my resume looked terrible and was utterly disorganized at first. I asked a few recruiters and developers look at it and suggest changes that I could make. I took their advice, made a lot of updates, and, after that, I noticed a dif- ference in how many companies were calling me in for interviews. This chapter will cover everything I have learned about developer resumes over the years; the kinds of information you should include on your resume as well as some other important details.  What to Include on Your Resume As someone breaking into the industry, you will have to be a bit more creative than someone who can rely on their experience to get them in the door. On average, recruiters only take about 30-60 seconds to review a resume, so you should make important details stand out and keep the format scannable and easy to read. To make resumes easier to read and digest, they are normally broken down into sections. Most resume experts, including the ones at Google and other tech companies, recommend a slightly different order and focus for software engineering applications: list the tools, languages, and frameworks that you know at the top, then work experience and education, and finally, volunteer expe- rience, open-source contributions, and community involvement. The order listed above is just a guideline and you might want to switch it up depending on your specific experience. For example, if you recently graduated college and you took classes relevant to software engineering, you could move education up to the top of your resume. Alternatively, if you are new to the industry and do not have relevant work experience yet, you might want to move your open source contributions or volunteer experience above the work section. If you aren’t a resume expert, creating a resume from scratch can be very time consuming. Use a resume template and replace the content with your own. I have a resume template template you can use linked from the content for this book on my website. Here is a section-by-section breakdown of how you should organize your resume. Name & Contact Information This information should be at the very top and your name should stand out in slightly larger text than the rest of your resume. You do not need to list your full street address – email address, city, and state are enough. You should also include a link to your portfolio website, and, optionally, your blog and Github profile at the top below your name or other contact information. About Me Most employers do not require objective sections at the top – even though they are common. In fact, it is generally not recom- mended to write an objective section because they do not tell the interviewer much about you. Instead, you can opt to include a sec- tion with a snippet about yourself. After two or three sentences, you can include a link to a video or blog with more information about you. Recording a one to three minute video of yourself explaining your technical abilities and what you are looking for in your career can really help potential employers connect with you. It should take you no more than an hour or two to plan out your script, record the video, host it on YouTube, and include a link to it in your resume. Skills & Knowledge You should have bullet-pointed lists of the languages, tools, frameworks, and technologies that you know how to use. Include industry-standard professional tools like code editors in these lists so employers will see that you develop in the same environments you will use on the job. Most people wonder when it is okay to list a skill on their resume. A good rule of thumb is you can include any technology that you have used to build something. If you utilized it on a project, add that to your resume. If you have watched a video or gone through a getting started tutorial, then you should not add it to your resume yet. You will only gain enough knowledge about a tech- nology by building something with it yourself, not just following instructions. Here are some examples of things you might want to include in this section: Languages: JavaScript, Python, Ruby, Go, HMTL5, CSS3, Sass Frameworks & Libraries: Vue.js, ReactJS/React Native, EmberJS, AngularJS, jQuery, Rails, Flask, Bootstrap, Lodash, Handlebars, PhoneGap Skills and Knowledge: Responsive Web Design, Programming Paradigms, Optimization and Security best practices, Salesforce/SFMC Platforms, OSX and Android Mobile Development Tools: VS Code, SublimeText, Git, Gulp, Webpack, Rollup, NPM, OSX/Linux, Vim Web Technologies: Node.js, PHP, Web Services (REST), AWS, Heroku, DynamoDB, SQL, MongoDB At first, you will likely only have a few of these listed. You might start with HTML and JavaScript, then pick up jQuery, and then learn how to use Git and Github. Your skills will continue building from there and you will wind up with a few items in each of these categories. Do not worry about putting too many different technologies on your resume as it might look like you are stretched thin, especially if it is your first job. Work Experience If you are just starting out, you might not have any work experience relevant to a career in programming. This is probably the most difficult section to fill in on your resume. Here are some tips to make your work history stand out to hiring managers even if you do not have much, or any, experience in the industry. Your work experience should be listed in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job at the top. Details about your position and accomplishments can be listed as bullet points underneath each employer. If your employment has been short-lived or it is a temporary job, you can just use one bullet point to list your responsibilities. First, be sure to include anything technical you have done at previous jobs. Did you use a piece of software, fix IT problems around the office, or update the company blog? List all of these things, if applicable. Another option, if you are still at the company, is to offer to perform technical tasks right now. If the website needs updating, then offer to use your skills to help. When you do, list this item as the first bullet point under that employer. You need to highlight your technical work and any initiative that you took even though it wasn’t your primary job. Also include any problem solving and leadership experience. These are both very relevant to almost any career, but problem solv- ing is especially relevant as a programmer. It is a big part of what you will be doing every day. If you have received awards or recog- nition, list those at the top underneath the company as well. This is arguably the section where you need to try to sell yourself the most. Finally, include consulting work here if you have built websites for local companies. As I recommended earlier in the book, offer to create or update a website or application for a company. It could be your local pizza parlor that needs an online menu or a stay-at- home mom looking to start a photography business. If the company doesn’t have money to pay you, offer your services in exchange for a gift card or free pizza. The experience is more valuable than the money. Once you build one project for someone else, you can add a section to your work experience about your private consulting business with a list of projects you have worked on bulleted underneath. Education If you went to college, include it. If not, that’s fine, too. List any coding programs you have used for your learning, like freeCode- Camp or completing some other coding curriculum on or offline. If you attended some college, but didn’t graduate, list the name of the school, the years attended, and your focus or major. You do not need to write specifically that you didn’t graduate as that could look negative to someone reviewing your resume. If you have earned coding certificates, list each one of those individually here. They may not hold much weight at the company you are applying to, but at least it will show that you are committed to your learning and personal development. Volunteer & Community This section demonstrates that you are active in the programming community and value giving back. Have you created or helped with a meetup group? Taught coding to kids? Volunteered for Doctors Without Borders or something non-tech related? List that experience here in short bullet points with the year(s) when you did the volunteer work. If you do not have any volunteer experience to list, I strongly suggest you start now. Sign up to volunteer for something like a local community cleanup group or teaching kids how to code at least once a month. This will make you feel good, make the interviewer feel good about you, and also give you some- thing you are passionate about to bring up at the interview. If you have given technical talks, written tutorials, contributed to open source, or made YouTube videos about coding, list all of those here as well. When you have multiple of any of these items, you can just use one bullet point for each category like so: Event Speaker: An In-depth Look at Regex, Functional Programming in JavaScript Text Tutorials: Getting Started with Python, Human-first Design in Vue.js YouTube Videos: How to Use Jupiter Notebooks Series, VS Code Shortcuts Contributions: Core Contributor, Regex Breakfast; Author, Vue Simplicity  Other Recommendations •Do not include references. You can save your references for companies that request them and are serious about consid- ering you for employment. •Do not include the words junior or irrelevant, meaningless certifications like W3Schools HTML certification (many sites have tests you can take online for ‘certifications’; do not fall for it, they may just make you look more inexperienced). Use certifications from online programs that actually make you build something and have a good reputation like freeCodeCamp, Udacity, and The Odin Project. •Do not use bar charts to show the percentage proficiency you have in a technology. There is no standard by which to compare the amount you have filled in the chart. If you have used/built something with a technology, then you can add it to your resume, just do not lie about your level of proficiency in an interview. Good tech interviewers will be able to tell your skill level just from talking with you for a few minutes. •Check for typos and have someone proofread it. I have personally seen people rejected from positions for having typos because it comes across that you are not detail-oriented, or possibly that you don’t care enough about the job (or your professional image) to take the time to proofread it. You want to put yourself in the best possible light, and if someone else’s resume doesn’t have typos, but yours does, the company may move another candidate forward instead of you.  Design & Style Tips •Font should be readable and the same everywhere. Black or dark ink on a white background – high contrast – is best for readability. •Use bullet points, not paragraphs. •Do your best to fit your resume onto one page. Interviewers do not want to see unrelated content, so take the time to parse through your bullet points and only include what is relevant. When you get more experience, your resume will grow. •Again, do not use progress bars. There is no objective measurement for what they mean. •Most recent experience always goes first. •Bullet points should be concise and clear. •Resume experts recommend the use of action words like ”created”, ”developed”, ”managed”, etc. when you are writing the bullet points on your resume. •Be sure to include the programming languages and tools you used for each project or at each company.  Order of Content Jeremy Png, a technical recruiter for Google, recommends listing your programming languages at the top of your resume, above all of the other sections – in the header with your contact information. This makes it easy for employers to see what stacks you have experience working with. The rest of the sections can be organized in the same order as I list them above – with the optional About Me section first, fol- lowed by Skills & Knowledge, and so on.  Cover Letters From my experience, most programming jobs do not require an official cover letter. However, some companies (usually in indus- tries like insurance or healthcare) will require you to include this with your resume. For other jobs, you may also have the oppor- tunity to email your resume and you can make the email body your personalized cover letter. I recommend creating a standard cover letter for yourself that you can modify slightly to personalize for specific companies (you should personalize it for every job you apply to). It should be one to two paragraphs long or a minimum of four sentences. You really want to use this space to connect and catch the attention of the person reading it. Share one or two sentences about your story and then talk about how you can help the company and why you fit in to the culture there. Since you are new, be sure to emphasize that you are passionate about learning. This helps to show that you are humble and willing to adapt to their environment. Words are at a premium in your cover letter so be sure to go back over it several times and cut out any extra fluff. Finally, do not forget to address it to the company and put your name on the bottom.  Conclusion A resume is still the main document used to communicate your skillset to employers. Thus, it is important to put some extra effort into how you present yourself on your resume. Check out the related content for this book on my website for more information. Action Steps: 1.Find a resume template. 2.Write out a draft of your resume and put it aside for a few days. 3.Review it again with fresh eyes and see if you can find ways to improve it. 4.Ask friends or some meetup acquaintances to review your resume and give you feedback. 5.Update your resume as you keep learning and according to the feedback you receive from job interviews. 6.Create a cover letter template that you can modify for different companies.