You Speak: What SHOULD a Software Engineer’s Resume Look Like?

After you have been out of college for a few years, you realize that it’s about time to change your resume (you probably do not want to include classes and other trivial information). Well, you might find yourself asking the question, “what should it look like now?”  You could go out there on the webz looking for direction and templates, but sometimes they can be misleading and may not represent the majority opinion.

Well, I figured it’s about time to ask everyone out there what their opinion is; I would like to put together a collection of the comments and opinions from everyone out there and put them together as a coherent set of ideas in a follow up post.

An Apology

Okay, my last post, “What a Resume Should NOT Look Like“, was meant to be more of a piece of humor; however, it wasn’t taken like that at all.

I ended up taking a verbal beating for my About page instead, which I well deserved. The fact of the matter is that I can’t put crap out there on the internet tubes. I apologize. I was lazy and careless, and I deserve all of the flak.

I modeled the About page off of this template, which was, apparently, the wrong decision.

Resume Questions

Here just a few questions that I could come up with:

  • What should it look like?
    • Plain? Fancy? What fonts? Arrangement? Etc?
  • What format should it follow?
    • What content? Sections? Cover Sheet? Etc?
  • What level of detail should be included?
    • Languages? APIs? Concepts? Certifications? Etc?
  • How long should it be?
    • 1 page? 2 page? 400 page hardcover?
  • What types of things are important?

Other things to think about and consider:

  • Automatic searching of resumes for 1st round. Do you include as much info as possible, which you can speak honestly and intelligently about, on the resume to make the cut?
  • Some places like short resumes (minimalism). Let them ask the questions?
  • Change up the design? Make your resume stand out?

You Speak!!!

I am asking you to seriously think about the answers to the above questions and any other ideas/questions out there that I might have missed.

I am asking you to leave a comment or idea. Please, I believe that everyone would benefit from a popular ideal of SE resumes.

Hiring managers, architects, developers, team leads, program managers, technical fellows, professors… whatever your skill set, I’d like to hear from you!

A Follow Up

Once I have enough comments and ideas, I will post the summed suggestions and some example resumes that you can vote on.

Once the voting is done, I can put together some final guidelines that we all can agree on.

So get involved!

Commenting Guidelines

  • Please don’t just rant. If you are going to rant, make sure you equally provide a solution to your rant. It takes no effort to complain;however, it does take a little more gray matter to solve.
  • Take a minute to search through comments and the ideas posted already. Don’t rehash the past

13 thoughts on “You Speak: What SHOULD a Software Engineer’s Resume Look Like?

  1. A few thoughts:
    Keep it short – I don’t have time to sift through 4 pages of bullets. I’ve also found the best people have the shortest and simplest resumes. Over two pages and the success rate on our interviews goes down dramatically.
    Don’t include buzzwords and acronyms like SDLC, ESB, WSAD if you want a job at a tech startup.
    Include independent projects/open source work – I want hardcore geeks who actually ENJOY writing software – convince me that you are one of those people. And unless you wrote them, don’t put MS DOS or Windows 95 on your resume!
    Don’t inflate your responsibilities on projects or level of expertise (expect to be asked detailed technical questions about anything you put on your resume).
    As for format, I like LaTeX (it shows me that you’re geeky and at least smart enough to figure out how to use something other than MS word).

  2. Consider who the target market of the resume is.

    For example: When submitting the resume to,, and/or other large companies. Those websites are searched via Human Resource Professionals, Recruiters, or Hiring Managers. Consequently, your resume should follow Search Engine Optimization rules. What I mean by that, is if you want to be noticed for Ruby, Visual Studio.NET or whatever, you’ve got to include those keywords in your resume. Now, how you include them is a different story. I’ll get to in a second.

    Now, when I am emailing a resume, dropping a resume off at a job fair, or snail mailing a resume, again there are different forms the resume can take and look depending on who the target recipient is. For example, when I go to a job interview, I bring a clean quickly scannable, well-presented paper copy of my resume. Often times, the job interviewer has a printed text copy that is difficult for them to find the information they need to ask me questions. Also, by having a printed copy, you can highlight different things using color and other methods that you can not always do in an emailed resume.

    Now, How do you include the necessary keywords? Again, i think it depends on experience and type of job you are applying for. So, you have to vary your resume towards your target market. I do think that a resume should tell your story(s). It should tell me why I should hire you. What value do I get from your hiring?

    So, if I am working for a large education institution, and they are creating a new learning management system, I’d want to see you say how you’re past projects and experience can help me solve my business problems. If you’ve built an LMS, you’d add that to your resume in a concise fashion. If you haven’t built an LMS, but maybe you built components for a system that can be adapted, you’ll convey that message in your resume and for that matter the cover letter.

    that’s what I want to see. At the same point, when I’ve been a hiring manager, I am going to need to scan resumes quickly to weed out who is worthy for my interview time. So, a resume that is personable can stand out from the rest. Everyone has a story and a uniqueness to them. I think a good resume should stay out of the way and let Human Uniqueness shine through.

  3. I get pleasure from, result in I found exactly what I used to be having a look for.

    You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.

  4. successfulI haven’t been too finding good expalmes on-line. The local library is your best bet. Look for the Dummies series with the obvious titles. Another one that you may want to purchase is Damn Good Resume . One more would be Resume Pro: The Professionals Guide .

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