If you google “web developer resume template”, you’ll find a lot of resume models filled with roles and responsibilities such as:
- Browser compatibility testing on: IE, Safari, Chrome, Firefox and mobile devices (phones/tablets).
- Create HTML marketing email templates for: Constant Contact, MailChimp, Aweber, etc.
- Worked with business and design requirements to develop web pages that adhered to company, industry and usability standards
in a Mac or Windows environment.
- Create/maintain e-commerce website using BigCommerce shopping cart.
- Produce wire frames to review design concept.
That seems about right, no?
But there’s a problem. A huge problem, actually. Think of the web developers that you know. How many of them have done similar things? Probably most of them. Because that’s pretty much what being a web dev is all about. There are differences here and there, but roles and responsibilities will often overlap. So if your resume is very close to a typical “web developer resume template”, how is that helping you get interviews? After all, the best resumes are distinctive. They make you stand out, not blend in!
So here’s a little something to help you make your resume stand out. It’s based on the 3 Laws of Resume Writing. And it’s not material that I made up. I found it by carefully studying good web dev resumes.
5 Web Developer Accomplishments to Make your Resume Distinctive
- Implemented rigorous process for cross-browser testing in IE, Mozilla and Chrome, which corrected layout issues on 4 main site pages. (An improved layout on critical pages is a concrete, positive result for the owner of the website.)
- As the owner of [company], developed, enhanced and corrected more than 150 websites for small businesses. (First of all, running a company says a lot about this professional’s autonomy, reliability and business sense. Then, having served 150 clients means solving a lot of problems, improving a lot visuals, facing many technical issues, etc. This candidate quickly seems well-rounded.)
- Managed hardware and software for eCommerce department in 2012-2013 (including budgets, purchasing/inventory) and assisted with deployment of assets, reducing costs by $83,000. (A developer who can save its employer thousands of dollars is always good to have on board!)
- Managed a staff of six programmers and designers on business client Internet/e-commerce web sites. (Here, we see both leadership and management, since managing staff means setting priorities, getting people to work as a team, coaching, having tough discussions… The list goes on.)
The benefit is the key component of each accomplishment: improved operations, more money, demonstrated leadership and reliability, … Accomplishments like these are the most critical pieces of your resume. Now read that last sentence again, because that’s the best resume advice you’ll get this month.
If you’re a fantastic employee but your resume is silent on many of your accomplishments, you’ll end up behind a good employee whose accomplishments are all clearly laid out.
And for that matter, an average employee with weak accomplishments better know how to network, since the resume alone won’t pull its weight. (Actually, networking skills are critical to everyone’s job hunt. But I’m more of a resume guy, so let’s stick with the topic, if you don’t mind.)
Accomplishments are where it’s at. When you solve a problem, reduce costs, make something better/simpler/faster, when you show initiative, it has to be on your resume, without being drowned out by too much roles and responsibilities (i.e. the “we’ve-all-done-it” resume template material). In my view, half of the energy and time spent on your resume should be focused on your accomplishments. To write good accomplishments, you need to think of what your potential employer is thinking about (problems solved, better results, and so on) and emphasize that. If you go through 20 resumes of your peers, you’ll certainly find great accomplishments that you could adapt on your resume. I truly believe that is time well spent.
Many More Accomplishments, Just for You
I’ve already done that research… The 5 ideas above are just a glimpse of the full list of accomplishments I’ve assembled. If you’d like that well-rounded, unique list of real-world web developer accomplishments, for just a few dollars, check out our e-book, Web Developer Resume Hacking, on Amazon. You can read it even if you don’t have a Kindle device.