As a full stack engineer with 10+ years of experience, I want to share 8 steps to write a killer full stack developer resume. Use mine as a starting point!
A career in tech as a full stack developer is a very rewarding one. One I’ve enjoyed for many years.
With the explosive growth of the tech industry, it’s no surprise that the BLS sees over a 13% job growth rate for full stack developers in the next 7 years.
As a full stack developer, I’ve worked in many teams of various sizes on web applications at small to mid-sized startups.
I’ve also been part of the process of evaluating and interviewing full stack developers. I’ve probably seen thousands of web developer resumes.
Making your next move in your career in tech can be a challenge.
But a well-structured resume that clearly communicates your value in an engineering team is essential to getting your resume at the top of the pile.
In this article, I’m going to cover the 8 steps to write a killer full stack developer resume. I’ll use my personal resume as an example.
Best of all, you can even use mine as a starting point for your own resume.
Let’s face it.
Whether you’re from a dev bootcamp or going on to your fourth company, there’s a lot to say on your resume. And very limited space to do so.
So what’s the best format?
You have 3 main options:
At a high level, hiring managers want to glance at your resume and get a sense of the following:
The best format for a full stack developer to demonstrate all of these points is by using the Hybrid / Combination resume format.
This gives you enough room to include the skills needed for the job along with recent work experience to demonstrate you fit the role. More on that later!
Did you know that resumes are looked at for less than 6 seconds?
While this is certainly an optional section, your resume summary is one of the best ways to succeed in that short glance.
A resume summary is one or two sentences in the top section that summarizes your entire resume. It’s the punch line that gets the hiring manager to want to know more.
For technology job seekers, you should consider including:
You might be tempted to include programming languages in this section, but it’s usually best to save that for later.
Because as a full-stack developer, you might be dealing with multiple technologies / languages.
If the job description itself only mentions the need for one language, then it’s okay.
The best strategy in this section is to only include info that is relevant to the job.
So for example, if I were to apply to another media-tech company, here’s what my resume summary would look like:
Full-stack engineer with 10+ years of experience at small tech companies in the Media space leading high impact technical projects and growing engineering teams
Here’s a very bad example that I’ve actually seen before:
Full-stack engineer that went to bootcamp.
Really? Cool. So have thousands of others!
Take a look at our guide on how to write a resume summary the right way.
Finally, a place where we can put a bunch of info about our experience. Right?
This is where I see candidates struggle the most.
The biggest mistake I see people make is going too much into detail about what they built.
Instead of the what, you should highlight the how and the why.
I can’t even count how many times people go into details about what the app they worked on does.
Or even worse, they include internal acronyms that people outside of the company don’t know about, nor care about.
I’m not saying to never describe what was built. As long as you stay high level so that you don’t lose the reader, you’ll be fine.
Here’s exactly what you shouldn’t do on your resume:
Built INTSearch to help people find insurance plans from a large aggregated list.
First of all what’s INTSearch?
Whatever it is, it takes up valuable space on your resume, and doesn’t tell me anything.
Here’s a better version thats more relevant to the resume reviewer:
Contributed to a web application that has 1000 daily active users built in React, NodeJS, and GO Lang in an agile-based team of 8 engineers
Why is this better for the reader?
If you can stay away from that mistake, you’ll be in a pretty good spot.
But what are the most important things to convey in this section?
This is the most obvious.
First and foremost, include familiarity with programming languages and tools that are in the job description. This is important because this is exactly what the hiring manager is looking for.
Or even the keywords that a virtual scanner might be looking for.
Second, also include familiarity with languages that are not in the description.
Because this shows that you’ve been able to work with multiple programming languages. And you get that engineering is not about knowing one or two specific languages. But more about being able to use the right tool for the job at hand.
And who knows. Maybe the employer is considering a stack switch.
Maybe some day they’ll want to migrate their server side language, like Python, to a typed programming language, like Golang (or even Node + Typescript).
Did your company practice scrum? Or something waterfall?
Try to mention this without going into too much into detail. It's really important to show that you've built web applications in a structured way in an organized team.
Being part of a team that delivers software in a somewhat of a predictable manner is part of the job.
Depending on the role you’re applying to, this can be important.
Because not every company is going to be okay if you’ve only worked on things by yourself, unless you’re a new grad or new to the industry!
Tech employers are looking for engineers to be part of a team that iterates on a codebase in a structured way.
Were you an engineering/tech lead? A project lead? An individual contributor?
It’s important to let the hiring manager know exactly what your responsibilities were.
A typical team structure often includes engineers, an engineering manager, a product manager, and stakeholders like the executive team, or even external teams.
Mentioning how you worked as a team lets the resume reviewer feel more comfortable to move you to the next step.
Remember, read the job description to figure out how to phrase your role.
Full stack developers are often measured by how many end users have used their features.
Tech employers use this information to form opinions on how much you’ve had to focus on scalability.
This is also a great way to quantify your results.
For example, maybe you’ve worked on a feature that has had over 1,000 Daily Active Users. Or you’ve built a tool that can process millions of rows of data. Mention that!
Or perhaps your software helped a small number of enterprise clients improve their business workflow. Definitely include this!
If the things you built had low usage - its okay. There might still be valuable technical experience.
But remember to talk about work that you did that had the most impact. Especially if it was technically challenging!
I'm talking about testing, like TDD, integrated testing, etc.
Employers want to get a sense that you’ve not only shipped new code, but also maintained it with proper test coverage. Or even on-boarded team members into it.
These are keywords that must be included to show your abilities as a full stack developer.
I've included the text version of my resume's experience section below:
I’ll be honest.
In many small to mid-size employers for full stack engineers, your education might not be that important.
It might not even be looked at.
Larger tech companies though may give it a closer look.
Few even have different compensation bands based on your level and degree (Bachelors vs. Master).
If you’ve attended a university, you should include that on your resume. Especially if your focus was computer science.
However, great full stack developers often learn online and refine their craft through experience.
So if you haven’t gone to school, you still have a good chance of making it to the interview step. As long as you have a strong resume.
If you’re new to full stack development, you might have more space to fill on your resume.
Online certifications are a great way to fill that gap. As long as they’re related to learning and development as a web developer.
A resume with little or no experience still looks attractive if you’ve completed an online bootcamp. Even online courses that are relevant to the job are good to show. They help show interest as well as potential to work on a full stack software project.
Courses related to data structures and algorithms, programs such as App Academy, or Coursera courses like Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning Course are the most ones.
Here's an example of my resume's certifications section:
Machine Learning, Coursera
This section is also a great opportunity to include job keywords and make it past the filters of Applicant Tracking Systems.
If you want to know exactly how to do that, check out our guide on how to include certifications on your resume the right way.
The best way to demonstrate your abilities as a full stack developer is to work on a side project.
Whether it’s a web application that you built during a course or just for fun, it’ll give you a chance to stand out. Especially if you haven’t worked in certain technologies that employers are hiring for.
For example, I was once an embedded engineer. I mainly worked with C and Assembly.
I included that experience on my resume. Believe it or not, the recruiter and I talked more about that than my actual full-time job at the time.
Projects are the best way to gain new skills.
Which brings me to the next resume section...
It’s obvious that keywords related to the job are important to include on your resume.
This is a key section on a full stack engineer’s resume. This section might even be the first one looked at.
A simple list of those keywords is exactly the section for that. Well-known acronyms are more appreciated here.
Because resume reviewers are ultimately looking for skills that line up with the job.
If you want to learn how to nail this section, read our guide on the proper way to include skills on your resume.
The template is going to determine what the resume reviewer picks up in that 6 second glance.
Given that we’re going for a more functional resume layout - where you highlight skills as well as experience - full stack developers should stick with a simple and elegant resume template.
If you’re applying to a startup, you could use a more modern template.
But if you’re unsure, stick with something simple and professional.
In addition to my personal resume that I’ve shared above, take a look at our other proven simple resume templates.
We’ve covered a lot!
If you made it this far, you now have the key to getting that call for an interview.
Whether you’re an entry level candidate, or an experienced one, there is always a way to write your resume in a way that stands out compared to others.
I highly recommend using my full stack developer resume as a starting point.
Good luck with the job search!