Professional Devs Share Their Resume Dos and Don'ts

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Professional Devs Share Their Resume Dos and Don'ts

If you're writing your first dev resume it can be hard to figure out how to strike the right tone, what to share about your life before coding and how to highlight the skills you have while still being upfront about your beginner status.

To get some answers, we talked to professional devs who have interviewed dozens of engineering candidates about their biggest resume dos and don'ts.

The devs

Amanda Himmelstoss is a New York based software engineer working at Transfix, a transportation startup. Amanda graduated from the Flatiron School in 2013 where she developed a passion for solving problems with code.

Leigh Scherrer is a software engineer at Condé Nast. Before she learned how to code, she worked in healthcare communications. She enjoys JavaScript, napping, and taking pictures of her cat. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Mat Trudel is a polymath tech consultant from Toronto and is old enough to have made just about every mistake listed here. He works mostly in Elixir, Rails, and Objective C.


List some of your pre-coding experiences and roles--we want to know who you are and what you've been doing with your life! Talking briefly about what you did before learning to code gives us a sense of who you are as a person--something we need to asses if we want to work with you as a teammate. --Amanda

Talk about any student projects and be prepared to discuss that went well, what didn't go well and what you learned. I'm trying to get a sense of what it's like to work with you, so I'll ask about the projects on your resume and try to understand how you worked on them and overcame any challenges. --Amanda

List any personal projects that you have. This shows your passionate about coding, that you spend time solving technical problems even when its not required of you by school or work. --Amanda


When I was applying for my first co-op in university, a botched document conversion caused all my cover letters to go out with dollar signs in place of bullet points. Always check your work before applying! –– Matt

One bad strategy is to add every library and framework you've seen/ever used. Great way to get asked questions you can't answer and show you are familiar with many, proficient in none. –– Leigh

Don't add super long descriptions of past jobs or projects! I don't have a lot of time in which to review your resume, and I'm looking to get a quick sense of who you are and what you know. Don't make me work for it. –– Amanda