CV Tips for Web Developers

Struggling to get to the interview stage? Here are some simple CV tips for web developers who may be missing out on a few tricks or getting non-techies bogged down in technical detail.

Unfortunately it doesn't matter how good you may be at writing code, because if your CV isn't working for you, there must be something not quite right.

For example your CV may have to survive a ruthless filtering process by someone in HR who doesn't know anything about coding. Perhaps the person hiring only has time to read your introduction?

Either way, it seems to take more time and effort to get a technical CV to read just right.

So here are five simple tips for web developers to improve their CVs.

1) Make it easy to scan-read
Because employers typically take 30 seconds to read a CV, yours needs to be able to be scan-read at speed. But unfortunately too many CVs are just too wordy.

Instead use a table or bullet points to summarise your skills, experience, tasks, achievements, etc. This way you can include as much relevant info as possible while taking up far less space and (most importantly) using far less words.

This achieves two things: Firstly, that the reader can quickly see that you have the right skills and experience for the job. Secondly, so you can speed read your CV for things to talk about when you get to the interview stage.

2) Link to your online portfolio
If you have a personal project, blog, website or other showcase of work online, link to it in your CV. Ideally, your link should be at the top of your CV, along with your name, address, phone number and email. Any employer worth their salt will take the time to look at your work to get a better understanding of who you are and what you can offer to their company.

3) Make it idiot proof
By that I mean, explain in plain English so that non-techies can understand what you did and how you did it.

For example: built a messaging system for 1000 employees in J2EE using SOA.

Keep it simple enough that your Mother could understand what you did if she read it. Because chances are that you will have to work with marketing and other non-technical departments.

Don’t forget that your CV probably has to get past someone in HR who doesn't know anything about coding.

4) Explain your tasks and achievements
Two candidates could have the same job title, but their roles, responsibilities and salaries may differ dramatically.

Because projects and job roles may vary, it’s worth explaining each of your roles in detail, from a general over view, to bullet points illustrating your day to day tasks, as well as a list of your achievements in each role.

In an age of flattering job titles, clarifying what you actually do is more important than ever.

5) Describe your previous employers
Beside the name of each of your previous employers, explain what their business actually is and link to them in your CV.

For example, you may have worked for a company called JJRS Ltd. But if you don’t explain who and what JJRS are, recruiters and hiring managers could assume that JJRS stands for anything from JJRS motorsports to the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies!

And finally, keep your CV short with your most recent experience at the top, because few people will read past the first page. So that’s where you need to put all of the good stuff.

Further work experience and personal interests deserve to be on the second page. And that’s if you have enough relevant work experience to warrant a second page.

Once you've got your CV in order, it’s time to get ready for the web developer interview questions that employers love to ask.