10 Data-Driven Ways to Use Your Developer Resume to Get Interviews

Reading Time: 7 minutes

The job market's a whirlwind right now – tech, especially. 

Some giants are downsizing, others are thriving, and remote work looks like it’s here to stay. AI has taken off in a big way, and the globalisation of the industry means there are more opportunities to progress a career than ever before.

But one thing's for sure: skilled tech talent is still in demand, which means the tech world is ultra-competitive. 

If you want to make your resume stand out in this shifting landscape, it's time for an upgrade. We analysed over 30,000 developer resumes to uncover the secrets that land those interviews. 

Buckle up, let's dive in.


You Want to Make Your Developer Resume Stand-Out From the Rest

Let’s get on the same page.

There’s no point trying to create an amazing resume if you’re not thinking about its purpose and how it’s being used. Put it this way, a Zety study found that an average corporate job will attract 250 resumes. 250 documents the HR department need to shift through and organise. 

To be in with a chance of shining, you need to stand out from the pile, both in terms of the value you bring to the company, and making the life of the HR team easy.

It’s all well and good writing four pages that detail your life story, but a recruitment team will barely have time to look at it. The chances are they won’t. They’ll move on and you’ll have missed your chance. You need a punchy document that highlights all the best bits concisely, without coming across as generic and bland.

And that’s not even starting on the fact that AI solutions (or ATS, Applicant Tracking Systems) are being used to filter resumes and applications - something you need to structure your resume to beat.

So, how do you do it? Let’s break it down.


  1. Stay away from resume templates. 

The internet is full of templates and forms available to anyone looking to build a CV. While this is a good jumping off point, you need to edit your CV to stand out and represent you. Your resume should look unique, thus ensuring more than a cursory glance, something a resume design they’ve seen 1,000 times before will encourage. And it doesn’t have to be fancy, simple will suffice, but not too simple. 


  1. Make your resume sound like a human wrote it, not a machine. 

Write as you would talk. Make it engaging and enjoyable to read, both for you and your potential employer. Incorporate some interesting, work-related facts about yourself. Sure, you can use AI to write the basics of your CV, but edit it and inject YOU into the content. After all, that’s what the recruiter is looking for. 

For instance:

“I'm a JavaScript junkie, always tinkering with React side projects, and lately I've been dabbling in Python for some data wrangling magic.”

Way more interesting.


  1. Wherever possible, back up your accomplishments with numbers.

Figures are important because they’re concrete examples of when you’ve done a good job. We’re talking things like improved app performance by 40%, achieved 300k plug-in downloads in a span of 3 months, reduced page load time from 20 seconds to 5 seconds, and the like. 

Listing your achievements will highlight your ability to deliver results.

As you can imagine, Google knows a thing or two about hiring top talent. 

Back in 2014, their former head of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, dropped a gem: the perfect way to showcase your wins.  It goes like this: 

"Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]."  

Sounds simple, right?

Yet, even though I've been in tech recruitment since 2012, this powerful formula remains a rare sight on developer resumes. So, if you want to really stand out from the crowd, it's time to back up those accomplishments with some hard numbers.


  1. Enrich descriptions of the things you’ve done with “power words.”

Power words are not just buzzwords. They’re tools to ensure your descriptions are infinitely more compelling to the readers you’re trying to impress. From our research, here are some excellent, standout examples, handpicked from over 1,000 software engineering job listings:

“Automated, complex, concurrent, core, distributed, fault-tolerant, fully responsive, highly available, large-scale, maintainable, multi-threaded, reliable, resilient, resource-intensive, reusable, robust, scalable, secure”


  1. Personalise your resume with a short cover letter.

Love 'em or hate 'em, cover letters have staying power.  

Think of them as your chance to go beyond bullet points and show the hiring manager there's an actual human behind that impressive resume. Don't just dump random thoughts onto the page. Here's how to make your cover letter count:

Oh, and a pro tip for you. Keep it short and sweet – no one wants to read a novel.


ALWAYS Read the Job Description

Sending out the same resume and cover letter to every job you apply for? 

That’s a surefire way to get ignored, and that’s everyone’s time wasted. Instead, you need to read every job description you apply for carefully, break it up, and adapt your resume accordingly. And don’t worry, this doesn’t take as much time as you think – when you know what you’re doing.

Think of the job description as a treasure map – it hides the exact skills and qualities the company's desperate for. Your mission? Decipher those clues, read between the lines, and tailor your resume to scream, "I'm the perfect fit!"

Let's say you've got this generic line in your resume:

"Collaborated on cross-functional projects to achieve company goals."

That's fine, but how does it prove your fit for the specific job? Here's how to adjust it:

Small edits like this in your resume make a HUGE difference. Show them you're not just sending out a generic resume, but you've taken the time to tailor your experience to their unique needs.

Right, now back to the tips.

You Want Your Resume to Be Competitive

  1. Don’t overly detail your history; your resume is a marketing tool, not a bio. 

You need to find the balance between conveying enough information that explains why you’re the best fit for the job and the most valuable choice for the company you’re applying to, while also not being too short and unhelpful. 

It’s a balancing act of giving the recruiter/hiring manager what they’re looking for and not boring them or wasting their time. This boils down to writing a brief overview of your relevant skills, knowledge, experience, and achievements.

Think of those job description keywords we talked about earlier? This is where you weave them in. Show how your past successes directly translate to the skills they need. 

That's the sweet spot – enough detail to prove your value, without overwhelming the reader with your entire career history.


  1. Write a pithy summary or write no summary at all – no soft skills or buzzwords. 

Adding “passionate,” “proactive,” “good team player,” “results-driven,” “hard worker,” and other cliche resume words serves little purpose, as recruiters see them in virtually every resume/summary section.

The experience and accomplishments you add to your resume should showcase that you’re a hard worker, so there’s no need to add “hard worker” to your resume.

This is essentially the show, don’t tell approach. Let your facts and experience do the talking without wasting the limited time or space you have just telling the recruiter what you are. Did you streamline a process, boost a metric, or spearhead a successful project? 

Those are the stories that grab attention. These are stories a recruiter wants to read. 


Describe what makes you unique and sets you apart in 3-4 sentences.

  1. Incorporate relevant keywords.

Remember those Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) – the AI systems that are filtering resumes before they even get to the human recruiters? Well, they're the gatekeepers of your resume, and statistics show around 75% companies are using them.  

Therefore, you need to structure and write your resume in a way that gives these systems the greenlight, thus progressing your resume to the next, human stage. This is an automated process, so if you’re not getting through, your resume won’t be seen.

To get past them, you've got to sprinkle in those job description keywords like magic dust. The keywords they’re looking for. Here's how:

Think of it like a treasure hunt – the job description is your map, and the keywords are the hidden gems that will unlock the next level (aka, the interview!).


  1. Show your “passion.”

Statistics show that there’s an estimated 28.7 million developers and programmers out there in the world. They are all your competition, and they’re going to secure your dream job if you don’t show you’re in this. Remember, you’re against people who code for fun. They spend their evenings coming up with new ideas, debugging projects, and volunteering their time on online communities.

Everyone is passionate in their own way, but you need to showcase this in your resume if you’re looking to stand out. Some examples of how to do this include mentioning your open-source projects, providing a link to your active tech blog. 

You can also include a link to your stunning GitHub, Stack Overflow, or HackerRank profile, especially if you’re using a digital resume solution.


  1. Don’t describe your responsibilities

And finally, focus on your wins and what makes you, as a professional developer, great at what you do. Be real, nobody wants to set and read a list of the basic generic duties that every developer has to do. The recruiter already knows this.

They know you code. Debug. Test. Work with others and work individually. They know you write documentation. 

What makes you stand out?


What have you done to change the game? What results have you achieved with your work? What problems have you solved? What mentorship programs have you been a part of? What skills do you bring to the table outside the norm? 

Remember, and this is most important, it’s not WHAT you know, but HOW you apply what you know, and how you affect those around you (both peers and management) with those skills.

Oh, and top tip: don’t forget to link your LinkedIn profile, so a recruiter or hiring manager can verify you, your experience, and ensure you are who you claim to be. That’s always a good general tip!


Wrapping up

Remember, resume trends change, and what works for one company might not click with another.  But with these tips, you've built a solid foundation. You've turned your resume into a tool that highlights your unique skills and value – the kind that hooks a recruiter's attention.

Now, it's time to get out there and shine. You might not land your absolute dream job with this first resume update, but you're already miles ahead of the generic application pile, and success will come.

Keep refining, keep tailoring, and those exciting interviews will start rolling in. Best of luck!

You have successfully subscribed

Create an alert

As an applicant