Code Camp CV Advice
CV fresh out of
I saw this career advice question on
I’ve been applying for jobs and I am getting really frustrated since I am rejected each time I apply. Perhaps there is something wrong with my resume
Last year I read hundreds of CVs and conducted close to a hundred technical interviews while hiring developers for my company. My key takeaway is: Hiring is tough - on both the candidate and the interviewer. So when I saw that question on the
freeCodeCamp forum answers started pouring out of me. Here are some ideas for preparing a CV for a technical position.
Don't forget the README
If you have a project on GitHub make sure that (a) you have a
README.md and (b) an uninitiated reader can understand what the project is about.
A good example of this is ReKotlin, they follow a simple structure of:
- A 1 liner describing the project
- “Introduction” section that describes the project at a high level
- “About” section that goes into detail about design & details, with code examples.
Avoid Copy-Paste Statements and Templates
I see a lot of self described “motivated”, “faster learning”, “flexible”, “innovative” applicants. If you don't provide evidence to back it up it will sound hollow - why should I believe you?. For example
I am a motivated self taught web developer and a fast learner who can transition easily into any new work environment
This mentions 3 skills: motivation, quick learning, adaptability. Those all sound nice - but if I don't see examples of past experience or behavior to support them they are claims to me. As a reviewer that is a bad sign.
If you don't have professional experience in software development you may have examples of motivation, quick learning or adaptability in other contexts.
- Did you run a club in school/university?
- Did you volunteer for something?
- Have you been in a challenging work situation that you had to adapt to?
Giving a concise account (2-3 sentences) of this evidence shows that you are not just making things up and it is a great entry point for conversation during an interview.
Use Projects to convince me
You probably have projects or applications to show off your skill - that is great. I particularly like source code, I always review code to gain an understanding of the candidate's development style & practices.
However if you submit source code of a study/learning project I want to see it deployed as a functional demo (e.g. on Heroku). A running application, even if it is just a prototype, is much more convincing than just code. The technical reviewer of your CV will have confidence in your skill.
On the flip side if you submit a link to a huge and complex application I need more details. What did you work on? What challenges did you face/overcome? The main goal of reviewing past projects is to understand what you are capable of - if you make that really obvious you have an advantage.
The visual presentation of many tech CVs is a bit bland & loveless (some of this is due to recruiters, who copy content into word documents 🤦♀️). This may seem a bit nit-picky but it has a big impact.
Typography: Don't use too many font sizes. Don't mix serif and sans serif fonts. Don't use text background (gray boxes etc.). Go easy on the bold & italics. I suggest you keep it simple: 1 font, 2 font sizes, use bold rarely.
Visual noise & white space: Many CVs are visually busy and dense. Typography helps. In addition to that using white space to visually group sections together makes your CV more readable. This is especially useful when the reader comes back to the CV to quickly find a piece of information that she vaguely remembers from the first read through (that happens 2-10 times for every CV that I read). Making the CV easy to use for the reviewer increases your chances significantly.
Hyperlinks: You are sending a digital document to apply for a position in tech. Nobody will type out the urls you put on the CV. They will click it. Therefore I suggest you put in clickable links behind descriptive titles.
🚫 Don't do
Sample project https://github.com/ReKotlin/ReKotlin
✅ Instead do
I hope the above tips help you to make your CV clear and easy to read. If you have any more questions head over to the
freeCodeCamp forum, I'll come find your question 😉.