Resume Template: Programmer

Every piece of software ever invented required a programmer. They provide the structures by which our modern digital world turns.
Computer programmers will always be in demand. You’ve chosen a potentially lucrative field with wide variety and options for employment. But before you start your job search, you’ll need to “program” a great resume that will promote your skills. We’re going to guide you in doing just that. This article will lay out the steps of writing an effective resume that will be sure to impress hiring managers. You need to know the essentials.

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample programmer resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best programmer resume you possibly can.

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Programmer Resume (Text Version)

Contact Info:

Steve Ward
[email protected]
1 (918) 864-0840
Tulsa, OK 74114
linkedin.com/steveward

Summary Statement:

Programmer: Versatile Programmer with 10 years experience providing programming solutions that resulted in business growth and efficient operations. Proficient at meeting project commitments and excels in the development and management of customized software.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • JAVA, Ruby, C++, XML, HTML
  • SQL Databases
  • User Support
  • Coding and Scripting
  • Database Administration
  • Innovation
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Communication
  • Troubleshooting

Professional Experience:

Riley Mortgage | Tulsa, OK
Computer Programmer | July 2017 – Present

  • Provide daily monitoring and report development
  • Curate company websites and create changes when needed
  • Utilize business development software and work with SQL databases
  • Assist affiliates with website design and development
  • Complete projects on time and according to specifications

Williamson Credit Union | Tulsa, OK
Programmer | January 2015 – May 2017

  • Modified existing software programs and products
  • Developed, modified, and maintained Java batch programs, .NET applications, and relational databases
  • Helped users solve system problems
  • Worked with internal departments to gather requirements and determine design
  • Maintained active awareness of new techniques and innovatives in the programming field

Oklahoma Farmers Association | Tulsa, OK
Computer Programmer | June 2010 – October 2014

  • Produced build reports and indexed views for developer use
  • Composed complex SQL queries
  • Identified and resolved issues with database
  • Ensured performance and security of databases
  • Handled database procedures, backup, recovery, and migration
  • Designed indexes for existing applications

Education/Certifications

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science University of Oklahoma at Tulsa, Tulsa, OK
Class of 2010

Formatting Your Resume

Since programming is your speciality, you understand the need for structure and order.

A good resume is one that adheres to certain rules and guidelines of formatting.

It is especially important these days that a resume’s language be relevant and on point.

Many employers and companies now use scanning bots to evaluate resumes based upon their use of keywords and language.

Then, when your programmer resume has made it past the bots, it will be seen by a hiring manager – but only for about 6 seconds.

It’s a busy world and there is only so much time to work through a stack of resumes!

This is why your two chief goals in writing your programmer resume should be achieving scannability and readability.

Since you want to get the most relevant information to the reader as soon as possible, it is important to use a reverse chronological order layout.

Doing this places your top skills and current experience first on the page.

Before you start writing, select a good font. Something simple and professional.

As you create your text, make sure you are using spacing correctly, taking note of how your white spaces balance with your text, columns, and lists.

Your programmer resume should present a well-organized aesthetic.

Writing Your Resume Summary

A solid way to get your resume off and running is to kick things off with a summary of your qualifications.

The summary should answer the question, “what kind of a programmer are you?”

Ideally, it’s a tight collection of your top skills and skill areas.

Use 2-3 sentences for your summary.

Get specific!

Generalities will not help you. They can only know what you tell them. So make this summary your sales pitch.

PRO TIP: Keep in mind that the skills you talk about in your summary should be supported by the rest of your resume. It’s a good idea to keep referring back to your summary as you write. Or even revise your summary as more skills come to mind.

Now let’s review a few summary examples.

Yes!

Versatile Programmer with 10 years experience providing programming solutions that resulted in business growth and efficient operations. Proficient at meeting project commitments and excels in the development and management of customized software.

No!

I am a programmer with solid skills. Software is my main focus and I can get projects done. Hire me and I’ll see that all your programming needs (no matter how complicated) are met!

The first example is thoroughly professional, with good language and details.

The reader can see that the candidate is accomplished at what they do and also gain an idea of what areas they excel in.

Power words like “providing” and “meeting” lend the summary a sense of action and confidence.

The example that follows is lacking in several ways.

Its language is unprofessional and unclear, without much supporting detail.

The candidate makes claims of competency, yet does not demonstrate in what areas they are qualified.

A good summary should answer more questions than it leaves!

Areas of Expertise/Key Accomplishments Section

Since your skills are what sell your value to a potential employer, it is important to keep emphasizing them.

So, to follow your summary, make a list of your Key Accomplishments, or Areas of Expertise.

This should be a collection of your best skills, delivered in a bullet point format for maximum effect on the reader.

Example:

  • JAVA, Ruby, C++, XML, HTML
  • SQL Databases
  • User Support
  • Coding and Scripting
  • Database Administration
  • Innovation
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Communication
  • Troubleshooting

The list should contain both Hard skills and Soft skills.

This will present a well-rounded view of your competence as a candidate.

Hard skills are the skills related to your knowledge of programming. In other words, they have to do with your vocation.

Soft skills are the personal attributes you bring to your work.

Attention to details, organizational ability, work ethic – these are soft skills.

PRO TIP: Not all skills are created equal. Make sure your list reflects your best skills related to what you do. Emphasizing your personal strong points will help set you apart from other applicants.

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested hard and soft skill ideas to inspire you in writing your skills section.)

Work Experience Section

How long have you been in the programming field?

How many jobs have you held?

Your work experience section is crucial because it demonstrates your skills in action.

This section is the heart of your programmer resume.

So where do you start?

Use reverse chronological order when listing your various job positions. This means you’ll start with your most recent or current position.

The idea is to write about your relevant past jobs – those related to programming.

Start with the details.

Including:

  • The company name
  • Where the company is located
  • What job you performed there

Include dates unless you have a good reason not to. Generally, it is a good idea to list how long you were employed at the position, but you may choose not to if you only worked the job for a short period.

You may also have gone for long periods without a job.

Even if you choose to leave dates off your programmer resume, you will not avoid having to answer questions regarding periods and lengths of employment. A hiring manager will almost certainly ask you about dates if they’re not on your resume.

Each position should have 3-5 bullet points to list your various roles at your former jobs.

Use power words to give your bullet points strength and focus.

Examples:

Yes!

Riley Mortgage | Tulsa, OK | Computer Programmer | July 2017 – Present

  • Provide daily monitoring and report development
  • Curate company websites and create changes when needed
  • Utilize business development software and work with SQL databases
  • Assist affiliates with website design and development
  • Complete projects on time and according to specifications

No!

Riley Mortgage | Tulsa| Programmer | July 17

  • Keep an eye on the company website
  • Use software for business
  • Help customers

The first example demonstrates a well-rounded entry, complete with details of the job and the roles performed there.

The language of each bullet point is significantly strengthened through use of power words. The reader can really gain an understanding of the candidate’s skills at work.

The second example lacks definition. The candidate is let down through use of weak language and almost no specificity.

Important information is left out, resulting in the reader having little to no knowledge of either the position or the employee’s role in that position.

Keep in mind that the work experience section is your chance to show what you’re like in a workplace environment. Each entry reflects who you are as an employee in the eyes of the reader.

Don’t sell yourself short by writing a vague and unprofessional work history!

PRO TIP: Your first entry in the work experience section should be the most impressive, as it’s the most recent position and therefore should reveal what level you’ve progressed to in your career as a computer programmer.

Bots and Formatting

If you know that you’re applying for a job that uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) for the hiring process, you may want to consider an alternate formatting for your work history.

In order to please scanning bots that function via an ATS, you may use a paragraph instead of bullet points.

This will allow you to include more keywords, increasing your programmer resume’s scannability.

So instead of this:

Riley Mortgage | Tulsa, OK | Computer Programmer | July 2017 – Present

  • Provide daily monitoring and report development
  • Curate company websites and create changes when needed
  • Utilize business development software and work with SQL databases
  • Assist affiliates with website design and development
  • Complete projects on time and according to specifications

This:

Provide daily monitoring and report development for the company. Curate company websites and create programming changes when needed. Utilize business development software and work with SQL databases.

Another option is to use bullet points only for certain roles you wish to emphasize.

Provide daily monitoring and report development for the company. Curate company websites and create programming changes when needed. Utilize business development software and work with SQL databases.

  • Assist affiliates with website design and development
  • Complete projects on time and according to specifications

Be forewarned though that a paragraph is more difficult to read for a hiring manager.

More pointedly, it takes more time to read.

So unless you are very concerned about bots and an ATS, we advise sticking with well-written bullet points.

Education Details

Your education is an important part of your professional profile, so it needs its own section.

Start with listing the highest level of education you achieved.

Example: Master’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, High School Diploma, etc.

Again, use reverse chronological order if you have more than one degree or institution to list.

Include details like your area of study and the name of the school or college you attended.

Adding your GPA, concentrations, or academic accomplishments can prove helpful in boosting your value.

Example:

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
University of Oklahoma at Tulsa, Tulsa, OK
GPA: 3.6
Class of 2010

If you’ve added to your skill-set with additional programs or courses, include that information as well.

Example:

  • “Advance Programming Features,” Professional Workshop, Austin, TX
  • “A New Approach to SQL,” Online Course, 2012

Additional Sections

You’ve probably accomplished a lot in your experience that doesn’t have anything to do with programming.

Fortunately, it is perfectly acceptable to add an extra section to your programmer resume listing special accomplishments, hobbies, or awards.

A few options:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

No Experience

If you’re just starting out as a computer programmer and have no experience, you can still produce a helpful programmer resume, but you’ll have to alter its focus and emphasis a bit.

Your education will become the focal point. Move those details so that they follow your summary on the page.

Your work experience is going to be composed of jobs that are not related to programming. No worries though, you can still mine those positions for relevant skill points that will help you on your new career path.

For instance, did you ever hold a job that involved data analysis, inventory management, or technical details?

Skill areas like these could definitely help you in your quest to become a programmer!

Points to Remember

Wait!

Did you remember to include your contact information?

Take it from us, it’s surprisingly easy to forget.

So list your email address or LinkedIn profile. Whatever is relevant and needed depending on your situation.

Here are a few other things to remember:

Use of space

If you’ve followed our guidelines, your programmer resume should make good use of the space allotted. Begin with a summary, add your work experience, and finish up with your education credentials.

Power words

Power words can be an invaluable tool. They can transform mediocre language to something special with a sense of action. So make use of them!

A proofreader

Have a second set of eyes look your resume over for mistakes. Grammar and spelling errors are easy to make. So catch them before your resume goes out the door!

A Few “Don’ts”

No first person expressions

Your programmer resume should not be a letter written in the first person. Rather it is a statement of your skills and expertise. Think in terms of an advertisement or sales pitch, but in this case it’s your skill set you’re selling.

One page

Keep it to one page. All your content should fit. If you have trouble with length you’ve probably gotten too wordy or included too much detail. Your resume shouldn’t be an autobiography.

Repetition

No one likes a broken record. Keep your language fresh and varied. Use power words and take time to consider your full skill set.

(We’ve put together a handy table of power words below to use for inspiration.)

Fonts and formatting

Remember readability and scannability? Fonts and formatting heavily influence both. Choose a sensible and legible font. Avoid odd formatting choices. Follow our guidelines and advice.

Some Helpful Tools:

Power Words

  • Provided
  • Curated
  • Utilized
  • Assisted
  • Completed
  • Modified
  • Developed
  • Helped
  • Worked
  • Maintained
  • Produced
  • Composed
  • Identified
  • Ensured
  • Handled
  • Designed

Skills List

Hard Skills Soft Skills
JAVA, Ruby, C++, XML, HTML Innovation
SQL Databases Work Ethic
User Support Communication
Coding and Scripting Troubleshooting
Database Administration Efficient
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