Out of Room? What to Cut from a Developer Resume

Hiring managers often get hundreds of applications for open positions, and they simply don't have the time to read your whole resume carefully or to sift through paragraphs of information to find out if you're the right candidate. That's why it's important to know how to edit your resume to emphasize the most relevant skills for the job at hand.

So what's the goal? A one-page resume is ideal. Two pages is OK if you have years and years of experience, but that's probably not the case if you're coming out of a coding bootcamp. 

Getting Started

If you're staring at a blank page about to start making your resume, don't worry too much about being concise yet. The easiest way to get started is to write down everything you're thinking. Then, when you have it all written out, you can start making your targeted cuts.

Common Problem Areas

Photo

Generally, a photo is not necessary or recommended in a resume. In addition to taking up valuable space, an unprofessional photo can make a resume look sloppy right off the bat. It's ultimately up to you whether you want to include one, but remember, a hiring manager is never going to dismiss your resume because it doesn't have a photo. 

Address

There is no need to include a full address on your resume especially if it takes up precious space. It may also not be in your best interest. What if an employer thinks your commute might be too long to and from the office? We recommend sticking with just the city & state.

Skills

Some developers like to include a section listing technical skills in which they are proficient. This is fine, however, make sure you keep it targeted to software engineering and to the specific job for which you are applying. This rule goes for career changers especially. The tendency is to list all the skills and qualifications you've ever obtained even if they aren't related to your new career. However, this can be counterproductive. If a hiring manager sees a Skills section that starts with MS Office and "teamwork" and ends with "leadership" then they might just skip it all together -- and miss Python in the middle. 

Hobbies

Hobbies can be great to include on your resume -- if they are development-related like local Hackathons and coding meetup groups.

You can also include unrelated clubs or organizations you're involved in if they are recent and show particular leadership experience. If they're old, unrelated, or just for fun -- (eg., guitar player) best to leave them out to make room for more relevant activities. 

Volunteer Experience and Accomplishments

This is tricky because, like hobbies, volunteer experience shows that you are well-rounded and interested in your community. However, be reasonable when deciding what to include. Helping a nonprofit with a website redesign six months ago? Great! Two months at the local animal shelter 14 years ago? Cut it. 

There are some exceptions to this, of course. An accomplishment like Eagle Scout, while probably garnered over 10 years ago, is still a strong testament to your character, and therefore resume-worthy. 

Work Experience

If you've been in the work force for a long time, remember the industry standard for resumes is to go back about 10 years. If you have more experience than that, you might want to include a section that says something like:

1997 - 2001 Various Positions (details can be provided on request)

In addition, for older experiences, it's perfectly fine to include only one or two bullets that sum up your role and responsibilities. Of course, make sure that you include detailed descriptions of work experiences that are directly development-related, no matter how old they are. 

White Space

A lot of people use the default settings on their word processor when creating their resumes. This is a mistake, you can gain a ton of room just by decreasing your top, bottom, and side margins. You can also create extra space by decreasing your font (11 pt is good) and the space between lines.

...but wait! Don't forget about LinkedIn 

Just because you're making these hard cuts on your resume doesn't mean all these things you've done are insignificant! Your LinkedIn profile is the perfect place to put all of them. In fact, it's arguable that this is what your LinkedIn profile is for -- listing all the interesting things that you've done that didn't make the cut for your resume.

In most cases, an employer will look at your LinkedIn profile after your resume has made the first cut. Therefore, it's worth it to take the time to fill out your LinkedIn profile thoroughly. Here's your chance to show a bit of your personality (and that photo that you left off your resume!). 

 

All of our courses include detailed resume guidance and feedback. Interested in learning more? Click the button below to download a course packet today!

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Author
Katy McElroy

Student Services Coordinator