8 Tips on Writing a Programmer's CV

I am not a recruiter by profession but I have read hundreds of programmer's resume over the years. Sad to say, quite a number of the CVs are neither well presented nor urging for a "Let's arrange for an interview".

Therefore, I guess it will be helpful if I list down some of the tips on writing an eye-catching resume.

1. A short headline will be nice, for example "Java Programmer with 3 years working experience". Don't try to be gobbledygook like "Seasoned IT professional with great problem-solving skills" though.

2. List your skills up-front, preferably categorized into something like this:
- Programming: HTML, Javascript, JSP...
- Framework: Struts, Spring...
- Web Application Server: Apache Tomcat...
- Database: Oracle, MySQL...
I am begging you not to list MS Office as one of your skills.

3. Make sure your project experience highlights your skills. Don't elaborate much on the "business logic" of the system or software you are working on, but show the hiring manager how you apply certain technologies into your project. Choose those worth mentioning projects instead of listing all 20 projects you have done.

4. Hiring manager will have doubts if there is a long list of employment history, especially those like switching job (or being fired) in every few months. If it was a contract job, state it clearly that you were contracted for x number of months.

5. Some IT hiring managers might put a huge emphasis on educations, but I personally treat that as a tiebreaker if there are candidates on an equal footing. This is especially true if you have a relevant professional certification.

6. I am not fully against hobbies, but I guess interest like having a blog or twitter expressing your knowledge or thoughts on technology will be a differentiator. It will be great too if you are a contributor to an open source project or technology forum.

7. Keep your CV short preferably within 2-4 pages, and remember to format it neatly to make it easier to read. Also, write a short self-intro cover letter in the email to attach your resume.

8. I know, some geeks don't speak English. Not everyone is a native English speaker but try to avoid simple grammar mistakes. If your English level is not that great, get someone who is to proof-read before sending it out. You will not leave a good impression if you can't even put in a decent effort to write a proper cover letter or CV.

Bonus tip: Stand out from the rest, ditch the boring JobStreet's template!

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