3 Ways to Make Your Programmer Resume Stand Out to Hiring Managers

Imagine you’re a hiring manager. You sift through dozens of seemingly identical resumes a day, and choose only a select few to call in for interviews. Now, if you’re one of those applicants, how can you help your resume stand out among the stack of other qualified candidates? The key is making it memorable through personalization so hiring managers can get a sense for who you are before making their selection for the next round of the hiring process.

There’s a lot of advice out there for how to format your resume and, generally, what information and sections it should include. While there are many resources online for constructing a resume, there’s notably less guidance on how to individualize this important one pager that effectively sums up your entire professional career. Furthermore, it’s important to note that a developer’s experience often doesn’t fit into the typical constraints better suited to other industries. Centralizing professional experiences, side projects, hobbies, and more through creating a Stack Overflow Developer Story can be a game changer for developers hunting for jobs or those curious to see what other opportunities are out there.

Looking to make your resume of professional experiences more memorable and have a leg up on your competition? Try out these three tips.

Include Your Own Website

A personal website is a good place to include your qualifications, projects you’ve worked on, and a home for a blog platform. Don’t underestimate the value of a blog! Developers have found success in building a name for themselves by writing about current events and topics related to the industry.

Including a website also gives hiring managers another way to vet applicants before calling them in for interviews. If they see that a candidate is putting effort into showing off his or her programming skills through a personal website, they’ll consider the additional value that person brings to the company. It’s a good idea to include this URL on your Developer Story because hiring managers can easily click through to check it out.

Mention Side Projects

Don’t wait until the interview to show off your side projects. Include any additional work you’re doing right on your resume. Whether that means volunteering to mentor online coding bootcamps, developing apps of your own, or hosting a coding YouTube series, hiring managers love to see that programming is more than your day job—it’s something you’re passionate about. Even if you started a project and didn’t follow it until completion, it’s worthwhile to include it on your resume to explain that you started it and may pick it up again later.

If you haven’t had time to take on a side project, instead note any special interests or hobbies that give hiring managers insight into who you are. How you spend time outside of work can say a lot about your personality. Are you entrepreneurial? Care about work-life balance? Do you prioritize volunteer work? Be sure to include a section for side projects or what you do outside of work because that will be the part of your resume that’s the most specific to who you are as a person, rather than just an employee.

Use Keywords

It’s sad but true: the average hiring manager only spends about six seconds reviewing an applicant’s resume. What does that mean for programmers? It’s crucial to include keywords specific to your coding skills and the job you’re applying to. Hiring managers will skim your resume looking for words that pop out, including any coding languages and prior experience at reputable companies.

It’s good to remember that your resume isn’t the proper place for flowery language or thorough explanations of former positions; that can happen in the interview. Keep your points concise and use any keywords that hiring managers may be looking for in a candidate for the position.

After building these three points into your Developer Story or one page resume, you’ll be ready to start applying. That’s where Stack Overflow Jobs comes in: Check out open positions here.


Alyssa Mazzina

Alyssa was a Content Writer at Stack Overflow where she wrote for the Code for a Living blog, helping developers make the most of their careers. She lives in California, in a house filled with kids and dogs.

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  • Marius Catalin

    Yeah good! My own website is a blog where I criticize capitalism and spread communist propaganda, My only side project proposes a system to abolish capitalism. Keywods include “Haskell”, “Category Theory”, “Type Theory”. Don’t know what employers would think about that

    • Don’t wait until the interview to show off your side projects. Include any additional work you’re doing right on your resume.

    • Haha

  • Marlon Acosta

    Very useful, thanks

  • rita joshi

    Thanks a lot for share great Blog. i like your work