Top CV tips for a job in software development

Robert Beckley, Regional Director, Hays ANZ

If you’re interested in applying for a role in software development, there are plenty of ways to make your CV more engaging and, in the process, give a clearer representation of what you’ll offer an organisation. Here are a few top tips to help you build a solid foundation for your software development CV.
Search for software development jobs here.

What to include in your CV for a job in software development

How to layout your CV

Cover letters can really help. Keep it simple and to the point and detail your background and why you’re enthusiastic about the position.
  • In your CV write a personal statement that sums up your career to date and ambitions, making sure that it’s relevant to the role you’re applying for. Avoid cliches.
  • Your commercial experience is important, but it doesn’t have to be at the top of the page.
  • Include your education and if possible, mention any specific courses/modules you’ve done that can be applied to software development and the role.
  • The reader will not be printing this out so ensure you add hyperlinks to personal projects, create a portfolio of your successes or provide access to repositories (such as GitHub).

Employment history

  • Under each previous role that you mention, include specific information about the tech stack used.
  • Include all the project or maintenance work you’ve done, but make sure that you feel comfortable discussing it in an interview. If you were working on this as part of a team and only played a small part, don’t go into too much detail. Remember, the company aren’t looking to hire your team - they want you.
  • If there are any gaps in your employment history, you can add a note at the bottom of the CV.

Additional skills/experience

  • Mention other tech stacks you’ve worked with but separate these from your strongest skills. As with projects, if you’re unable to talk in depth about it, it’s worth adding a note to point out your limited exposure. It’s better to be honest in this process.

What to do if you have less experience

  • If you’re searching for your first software development job, or you have little recent experience, there are still ways to promote what you’ll bring to the hiring company.
  • In your employment history or personal statement, highlight soft skills that will be useful in this role.
  • Put greater focus on the personal projects you’ve linked to. It’s worth the effort to make your portfolio look good.
  • Go into more detail on any related courses you’ve taken and what you learned from them. For example, any AWS certificate courses are great to include here.

What to avoid when writing your CV for a job in software development

  • There’s no need to include non-technical roles, if you’re lacking software development experience and want to add these, provide the company name and dates you were in the role and add a note stating: ‘Non-technical experience given on request’.
  • Don’t include every piece of technology you have ever touched – keep it in the hiring managers interest and relevant to the role.
The key thing to remember is to read the job specification and match your CV to what the organisation is looking for. Yes, it can be painful to tailor your CV for every application, but it’s worth the effort. The only two things that hiring parties have to go on when determining whether to give you an interview are the job requirements and your CV - if they don’t align, you might miss out.
Find this useful? Read other CV tips here, or search software developer jobs here.

About this author

Robert Beckley is a Regional Director based in Melbourne. Having worked in the Australian IT recruitment market since 2006, Robert leads the Hays Information Technology business in the ANZ region. Robert has a Master’s degree from the University of Birmingham, and two decades of industry experience.

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