How to Write the Perfect Resume After Graduating a Coding Bootcamp
So you’ve graduated from a coding bootcamp and you’re ready to start applying for developer jobs. You’re now in the unenviable position of having the skills you need for a job, but no work experience yet. How do you put everything you’ve learned during your bootcamp on your resume? What about your previous work experience? How can you set yourself apart from other recent graduates?
In this article, you’ll learn how to make your resume stand out as a bootcamp graduate.
What you’ll learn:
- Which sections to add to a boot camp graduate resume.
- What kinds of skills to highlight.
- Resume examples.
- Tips for making your resume stand out.
By the time you’re done, you’ll have a resume that shows employers you have the skills they are looking for in their entry-level developers. It will look something like this:
Formatting Your Resume
A good resume for a bootcamp graduate will have four sections:
- Employment History
Next, you’ll learn how to create each section so your fit for the role you’re applying to shines through, along with examples to illustrate how each section works.
Writing Your Bio
Putting a short summary about yourself at the top of your resume tells your audience who you are and what kinds of skills you have. It’s a great way to create a good first impression and make your resume memorable. A good bio should have:
- Two to three sentences about yourself.
- Important qualifying details like “boot camp graduate” or “iOS Developer”.
- Personal details to make yourself memorable.
- A brief overview of your professional experience.
Each of these examples is a great introduction to a resume. Each one has unique details about the author and also highlights that the writer has the required technical skills for the job they’re applying to.
Another thing both of these examples do well is they take the author’s professional experience from before their coding bootcamp and tie those experiences together. Many people who complete a coding boot camp to make a big career change feel like they are completely starting over, but the truth is that your past work experience is still an important asset in your job hunt.
Even if you don’t come from a tech background, hiring managers want to know about your accomplishments and past employment. Also, including relevant personal details in your bio will help you stand out as an individual and not just another coder in a pile of resumes.
Describing Your Skills
The skills section is where you want to list your relevant skills for the job you’re applying to. Many employers use automated tracking systems called Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to scan candidates’ resumes. These systems are programmed to search for specific keywords related to the job. The more keywords your resume can match, the more likely it is that your resume will make it to a human being’s inbox. Your skills section should include:
- Job-specific hard skills (Save soft skills like “leadership” or “communication” for the Employment History section).
- Multiple sections for different types of skills.
- Any keywords mentioned in the job posting.
Most of the time, the first person to see your resume won’t be a developer, so list skills even if you think they should be obvious. For example, include items as basic as “XCode” or “Android Studio”.
As a mobile developer, you know you can’t make an app without these programs, but while it’s obvious to *you*, an employee in HR probably won’t know that. They usually have a list of required skills that your resume needs to display before you can move to the next round.
- Coding Languages: Swift, Objective-C, SwiftUI, Dart, Kotlin, Java, HTML, CSS
- Spoken Languages: English (Fluent), Spanish (Intermediate)
- Frameworks: REST APIs, Web Sockets, Unit Testing, Push Notifications, AVFoundation, ARKit, Git Version Control, Firebase, CocoaPods, Swift Package Manager, Apple Maps, Google Maps, Core Location, Core Data
- Tools: XCode, Instruments, Android Studio
Listing Your Projects
This is where a coding bootcamp resume will be different from a typical resume. The Projects section is where you’ll put the apps you’ve worked on. Showcase your projects the same way you would a job.
Note that after you get your first job in tech, you should put your employment history above your projects, because relevant work experience is the most important thing you can show. But if you don’t have any experience in tech yet, what’s most important is showcasing your tech skills at the top of your resume.
Your Projects section can include:
- Completed assignments you built during bootcamp.
- Hackathon apps or group projects you completed with a team.
- Any portfolio pieces you have on the App Store or Google Play.
Kitty To-Do List — Available on the App Store
In this app, I use Core Data to store user-defined tasks in the app and display the tasks in a UICollectionView with custom cells. I use AVAudioSession to play a randomized clip of a “meow” when the user marks a task as done. The app features image caching, uses Codable to parse JSON from an API and includes both English and Spanish localization.
Find Nearby Coffee — Available on the App Store
This app uses Core Location to determine the user’s location, then sends their coordinates to Yelp’s Business API, which returns a list of coffee shops near the user. The app features custom MKAnnotationViews, suggested search items, and image caching. It will also show the user driving directions from their current location to the selected cafe.
These two example apps are relatively simple, but what’s important is that they use core components that you’ll use when working on larger apps. Showing that you’re familiar with common libraries that thousands of apps use every day will show both developers and non-technical readers that you understand the fundamentals of app making and you can explain how the software works.
The most important part of the Projects section is that these apps really need to be on the App Store or Google Play. Only other developers understand GitHub. You can’t expect someone looking at 50 resumes a day to make a GitHub account and learn console commands to see an example of your work.
It’s OK if your projects are simple; a completed simple app that someone can download and look at is worth so much more than screenshots of a more complex app or final project you’ll finish “someday”. I once hired an intern because he had a simple to-do app in the App Store and he was able to walk me through how he programmed it during an interview.
Including Your Past Employment History
Working as a mobile developer isn’t just about knowing how to code. There are a lot of universal skills that you can highlight in your employment history on your resume.
Are you detail oriented, organized or a good writer? You’ll be great at writing documentation for your code. Do you have experience working on a team, meeting deadlines and practicing good communication skills? Sounds like you’ll do well when it’s time for sprint planning.
A good employment history section will:
- Use bullet points if the job’s description is more than two sentences.
- Begin each sentence with an action verb.
- Be descriptive and concise.
May 2018 – June 2020
- Filed and submitted warranty claims for equipment parts, ensuring that all paperwork and reports were error-free, consistent and completed in a timely manner.
- Documented and maintained an inventory of all warranty parts according to manufacturer standards.
- Managed supply inventory, ordering parts directly from vendors and calculating deadlines based on when items would arrive.
- Researched and corrected any inventory discrepancies. Protected the company from erroneous customer claims using carefully documented invoices, email history and serial number matching.
In this example, even though working in auto repair is very different from being an iOS developer, the writer’s attention to detail, mindfulness of deadlines and organization skills would catch a hiring manager’s attention.
Here’s another example of how you can use unrelated work experience to highlight why you will be a good mobile developer:
January 2017 – March 2019
- Hired and trained 10+ employees on new products, customer service and consultative selling techniques.
- Surpassed sales goals and was presented with two Santa Clara Sales Awards for the Santa Clara County Area.
- Developed and researched new ideas for increasing sales using merchandising techniques that included product placements and visuals, which increased the store’s profits.
While a programmer might not use skills from retail sales experience on a daily basis, experience with marketing and consumer experience are valuable assets to have when building a product for customers.
Additionally, this example shows that the author went above and beyond by going out of their way to research new ideas that helped the company — and even won an award for surpassing their goals.
Companies want developers who take pride in their work and aren’t afraid to take initiative to make a product great. If you can show that you’re driven and ready to overcome challenges, that’s a skill you should showcase, even if your experience hasn’t happened in a tech job yet.
How To List Your Accomplishments
When you write about your work experience and accomplishments, be explicit and clear in your bullet points about what you did at your previous job and why it was important.
- Improved product quality by 10% through code reviews, writing unit tests and collaborating with QA on implementing automation testing.
This example has a lot of good points in it, and including metrics or percentages is a great way to show your impact on the product you worked on.
However, even though this description shows what the writer did at their past job and provides specific examples of tasks, the wording is unclear about their overall impact to the product. Did the writer make the app 10% faster? Did premium subscription sales increase by 10%? Did they refactor and remove 10% of the codebase by cleaning up unused code?
When proofreading your resume, ask yourself questions like “How did I contribute?”” and “Why did my actions make a difference?” — and then spell it out.
- Improved product quality by refactoring the app’s startup code and increasing loading speed by 10%. Wrote unit tests and collaborated with QA to implement automated testing, saving both teams hours of work.
Think about what your accomplishments did for your coworkers and the company overall, then describe the “big picture” effect of your actions. How did your input help others on your team? If you made a choice or took a risk, why was it important? What was the outcome? Let your readers know how your contributions made an impact.
Here are a few more tips for making your resume clear and easily readable:
- Only use one column: ATS software has trouble understanding two-column layouts.
- Keep it to one page: A longer resume is harder to read.
- Put the most relevant experience at the top: You don’t have to list your employment history and projects in chronological order. Grab your reader’s attention as soon as possible.
- Don’t use progress bars or numbers to rank your skills: It doesn’t tell the reader very much and resume scanning software won’t understand what it means.
- Add a bit of color on your resume to stand out: In a sea of Microsoft Word default resumes, be a pop of color to help your reader remember you.
- Use a sans serif font: ATS software can read Arial or Helvetica more easily than Times New Roman.
Where to Go From Here?
Now that you know how to highlight your skills, start writing your resume and show the world what you’re capable of doing. You will likely tweak your resume a lot as you apply to more positions and get more familiar with what jobs in your field are looking for.
If you’re still figuring out where to apply, try reading How to Get a Job After Graduating a Coding Bootcamp.
If you’d like to learn how to effectively brush up on your interview skills, read Mock Interview Techniques for Tech Job Searchers.
And for tips on how to start building your network as a mobile developer, check out Professional Networking at Virtual Conferences: How to Connect Online.
- Write your resume with Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) in mind.
- Include your past work experience, even if it’s not related to tech.
- Show how your previous work experience relates to the work you’ll be doing in your new role.
- If you have no tech work experience, treat projects you’ve worked on like jobs.
- Focus on your accomplishments and make it clear to your reader why they’re important.
- Put the most relevant and impressive accomplishments at the top of each section.
Have any thoughts on how to write a great resume after a coding bootcamp? Or have any follow-up questions? Join the forum discussion below!
About the Author
Jay Strawn is a full-time iOS Developer and boot camp graduate. He’s worked as a bootcamp instructor here at Kodeco, and has volunteered at tech organizations to review resumes and help people practice interview skills.