CV Tips for Engineers

Strong resumes that stand out are sometimes short, informative, and to the point. Here are some tips on how to build an effective resume for software engineers.

First of all, some general guidelines:

Shorter the better? 

Have you written a rich, 6 pages of resume and never gotten a response from companies? Here is why: companies simply do not have time to examine everything you write on your resume. Just imagine you are receiving hundreds of job applications on a daily basis (possibly more for larger corporations) - all you’ll look for in the resumes is some specific information/key words. Long, dull resumes look less appealing and make it hard for companies to screen and get to the information they want. It is no surprise resumes that stand out often contain 2-3 pages at maximum, while including just right amount of information. 

Simple, yet informative

It may sound contradictory, but strong resumes likely consist of some simple, yet informative points such as:

Summary/highlights: short summary of your career, your strengths and what you can offer - 5-6 sentences at maximum, using bullet points is also okay

Skill set: list of programming languages, framework, tools and years of project experience you have with each - the point is to state your strength. Listing every single technology you have ever used, including even ones you are not so familiar with, won’t help. 

Experience: company name, project/application name, detail, link to the website if possible, your role/main responsibilities, projects scale, team structure, technology used, etc. Especially in a larger project, mentioning which part you were responsible for is very important. Another thing is you might want to pick some of highlight projects if you have lots of experience. Again, listing all will make the resume longer than necessary.

Achievements: include some specific numbers i.e. The application has reached over 1,000,000 downloads with more than 400,000 active users and 3.5/5 ratings on App Store

Education

Others: Github, portfolio, linkedIn, personal website link, certifications, language proficiency (include TOEIC/TOEFL/JLPT score if you are not a native English/Japanese speaker), publications

No grammar & spelling errors 

Absolutely no grammar or spelling errors are acceptable in a professional resume. These errors indicates lack of attention in detail and disorganization, which might apply to how you code as well. 

Next, we asked a few of our consultants to put together a template for you.  You can download it below.  We also asked them to for their best CV tips!  Here is what they said:


bryan_cheng_cropped

Bryan Cheng

Bryan has worked at Wahl and Case for 5 years, first as a consultant, and now fulfills a Management position.  He has received awards on multiple occasions for outstanding performance. He is the longest serving member of our consulting division, has a strong grasp of the challenges of hiring technical talent and has a strong network among engineers & creatives.

Here are his top tips:

  • Always include a Summary.  Use this section to capture the reader’s eye.  Focus on what you can do, and what you have done, and note any significant career achievements to date.
  • Be Relevant!  While it might look good to have a long list of technical skills, your potential employer is only interested in the technical skills that are relevant to the job. This is the same for any additional professional qualifications.
  • When describing your previous experience, it’s important to list both the job title and the department.  Also make sure to include as many of the following as possible: Projects/Products (titles of games, applications, services, clients; Scale of the product, B2B, B2C; Seniority; technology/tools used; size of the team; anything else applicable, popularity of the product, traffic.
  • Remember to include the details.  If you list languages, include the level; include your nationality in your personal profile; and don’t leave out your graduation date from educational history.

melissa_watanabe_croppedMelissa Watanabe

Melissa has worked at Wahl and Case first within our community management team and now works as a consultant.  A Columbian native, she is US educated, and has lived in Japan since high school – she is trilingual, and one of our best performing consultants.  Her most recent 5 placements were at Japanese health tech startups and gaming companies.

Here are her top CV tips:

  • Be specific about the programming languages you use for each project
  • Always good to mentioned at the point the type of programming language you use
  • If you are not comfortable enough with certain languages, do not write it on the CV because companies might test you on it.
  • Be specific in how many people worked in the specific project and if you lead anyone
  • Always good to include a Github active account
  • Include personal projects you've working on besides your job

nancy_lam_croppedNancy Lan

Nancy also started in community management and has made a successful transition to consulting. Trilingual in English, Japanese and Chinese, she recently made a significant contribution to a traditional Japanese corporate that launched a global tech product as well as some other global tech startups.

Here are her top CV tips:

  • For Japan, you don't have to squeeze everything in one page.
  • The more information you have the better.
  • Please specific the results of the improvement of the products.
  • Language is not a "must" to include in the CV
  • Better to have experiences on open source codes
  • Feel free to include some side projects if you have.