Front-End Developer Résumé: What to Include, and How to Stand Out

Front-end developers often face challenges as part of their daily workflows. A typical front-end developer is tasked with designing web properties’ navigation, layout, and design elements, which means not only working with a variety of tools and languages (including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript), but also using “soft skills” to deal with sometimes-difficult clients and bosses.

Over the past few years, the front-end developer job market has also become fiercely competitive, with online courses and bootcamps producing new developers at a steady clip. But all those challenges aside, the job can prove incredibly rewarding—after all, the entire world can see your work!

With all of that in mind, how can you craft a front-end developer résumé that stands out? We spoke to several hiring managers to get insight on how you can build a great résumé that will get you through to the interview stage.

What 3 Things do Hiring Managers Look for In a Front-End Developer Résumé?

Tina Hawk, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at GoodHire, tells Dice: “When reviewing résumés for our front-end web development, the key elements we’re looking for are outstanding technical skills, independence and self-directed productivity, as well as excellent communication and team integration skills.” 

Hawk also touches on a critical soft skill you can show off in your résumé: communication. “As a fully remote team, it is essential that our front-end development conduct themselves diligently while showcasing fantastic verbal and written communication abilities. Communication is huge for our whole team, but especially so for those whose role involves high technical proficiency, the details of which often need to be clearly expressed to those without the same technical background.”

Aron Ezra, Chairman of Plan A Technologies, says résumé formatting and layout should not be overlooked—especially for a front-end developer:

“One of the best things you can possibly do is make sure that the résumé is clear and easy for a recruiter to review. The best résumés tell a logical, understandable story about a person’s career… how they started, how they progressed, and where they are today. Engineers should outline what their role was, what they did specifically in each job, and should list the programming languages, frameworks, cloud platforms, and more that they used in each role. It sounds simple, but we get countless résumés every week that have terrible formatting, embarrassing grammatical errors, and no meaningful details about what the engineer actually did, and sometimes no contact information. Good engineers are clear thinkers, and that should be reflected on your résumé.”

Juan Pablo Madrid, Design Director at Online Optimism, adds: “When reviewing a résumé for a front-end developer, I look for position-related skills, general problem-solving skills, and projects completed in past roles. These matter more than a candidate’s particular degree or area of study.”

Madrid tells Dice: “GitHub links are also a good way of assessing how active a front-end developer is, but I don’t think that is as important as a well-crafted portfolio. I cannot stress enough the importance of a portfolio to show the quality of work a front-end developer has produced and how involved they were in a particular project.” 

A portfolio is a no-brainer, he adds: “I want to see what they have built and, most importantly, I want to understand their role in the development of projects. These days, development teams can be big, and so a simple link to a website is not enough to assess what the applicant’s capabilities and strengths are. The portfolio should go into detail about what the candidate was responsible for on each project.”

Hawk says: “A portfolio of work can make all the difference when reviewing résumés for front-end development, and we have used them as criteria when deciding which candidates progress in their application. A portfolio of work, in my experience, also helps front-end web developers to share easily and confidently about their work experience, and in this way act as a boost to their interview performance. Portfolios also help candidates to really understand their own work and careers to-date, bringing greater self-awareness.”

What matters is that you give whomever is reviewing your résumé an opportunity to see your front-end developer skillset. Many use GitHub as a portal to their projects elsewhere; if you’ve built a website, GitHub is a great place to host links and any open-source frameworks you use or contribute to. 

Like any other technical discipline, companies hiring front-end web developers have specific needs or requirements for frameworks and platforms. It may not seem relevant to you, but showing you know how to use the same tools your potential employer does can make all the difference.

What Earns Front-End Developers an Interview?

An interview is the second step in a long process, but it’s a critical one. What allows a front-end developer to stand out within a crowded market?

“Two things that tend to move a front-developer from résumé review into an interview are creativity and a tendency to go above and beyond for clients [or employers],” Madrid tells Dice. “Creativity, especially coming up with creative solutions to problems, is essential to creating a positive experience for clients and their customers. One of our values is to be exceptionally helpful, so I also want to see that the candidate thinks of ways to go above and beyond the requirements of the project to create a superior user experience.”

Ezra adds: “If you’re applying for a more senior engineering role, your résumé and your interviews should demonstrate that you’re not just blindly executing instructions from others, but that you understand the fundamentals of how and why things work the way they do.”