While software engineers are not required to include their GitHub profiles on their resumes, doing so can often be a great way to demonstrate vital skills to potential employers.
Software engineering continues to be a high-demand occupation, with tremendous growth potential well into the future. At the same time, however, it is a field with equally tremendous competition in hiring, as universities around the world continue to produce skilled coders each and every year. Fortunately, if you maintain an active GitHub account for your coding, there is a way to leverage that portfolio of work to help you in your job-seeking efforts.
With a little time and effort, you can help yourself stand out from the crowd during the hiring process by including information that displays your coding skills in your resume. In this post, we will explain how to put GitHub on your resume, highlighting everything you need to know to convey that important information to any prospective employer.
What is GitHub?
If you are a software engineer, chances are that you are already familiar with GitHub, the code hosting platform that so many coders use to develop and collaborate on software projects. Developers use the site for a variety of purposes, including code-sharing, software version control, and code file management. Knowing how to use the platform to your advantage can provide you with a competitive edge over other engineers who do not maintain active profiles.
Right now, the site claims to have 83 million developer users, located in countries around the world. For software engineers, however, the platform can be more than just a useful place to work and collaborate. Used properly, it can also provide an ideal way to display your work to potential employers, since the platform provides you with the ability to create and manage a profile that you can use to highlight your best work and display it for any company to see.
Should you put GitHub on your resume?
We would absolutely recommend that you learn how to put GitHub on your resume since it can be one of the best ways to demonstrate your skills and experience to hiring managers. Since coding is such a technical profession, it can often be difficult to verify your real skills to potential employers. After all, educational accomplishments only tell part of the story. The world is filled with credentialed mediocrities whose real-world skills fall far short of what their educational background might otherwise suggest.
When you know how to put GitHub on your resume the right way, you can ensure that employers have access to verifiable information that demonstrates your skills. You can highlight your best projects and provide hiring managers with a better understanding of your coding language proficiencies, style, and contributions. Most importantly, it can be a great way to differentiate yourself from other job candidates who are seeking the same position.
Are there times when you shouldn't put GitHub on your Resume?
Of course, there may be valid reasons why you might not want to put GitHub on your resume. For example:
If you do not have a GitHub profile and never use the platform, you obviously cannot add it to your resume. New coders may experience this reality. Still, it might be wise to consider using the platform so that you can add it to your resume later in your career.
Developers who have not been using GitHub for some time may also want to avoid including it in their resumes. An inactive account may be worse than no profile at all.
If your GitHub activity is not really reflective of your professional coding efforts, then it might just distract from your skills.
The best advice, though, is to try to use GitHub regularly and build a strong portfolio of coding work that highlights your talents. Most software development firms utilize the platform in one way or another, so having your own portfolio on GitHub can be important when you are seeking a job with any of those companies. It is also usually the easiest way for employers to gain quick insight into the value you can provide if they bring you on as part of their team.
Some tips you can use before putting GitHub on your resume
Before we tell you how to put GitHub on your resume, it is important to ensure that you get your profile ready for public view by hiring managers. For software development companies, this profile and the projects it highlights may just be the most important part of your resume. After all, great companies want great coders, so any hiring personnel will be taking a close look at your online profile to gain insight into your skill level before deciding whether you deserve an interview.
The important thing is to take the time to clean up your profile and make sure that your best work is on prominent display for anyone who investigates your work. The following tips can help you prepare that profile to ensure that you make the best possible impression:
Give your profile a professional look
If you use social media, then you know how important a great profile page can be. You should take the same approach with your GitHub profile. Make sure that you include as much vital information in that profile as possible and think of it as an elevator pitch to potential employers. Highlight your top skills and include relevant experiences that might make you attractive to any company that needs a top-notch coder.
You should also pay attention to those tiny details that all too often get neglected during an online makeover. Make sure your username isn't controversial and change it to something more professional. While you are at it, don't forget to replace any default or silly avatar with a more professional picture of yourself. In short, get rid of any whimsical online persona and replace it with a polished, accurate profile that sells you as a professional.
Clean up your work area
GitHub allows you to maintain multiple repositories for different coding projects and collaborations, and you have the ability to make any of them either public or private. Before you put GitHub on your resume, you should go through your coding history and make sure that you either remove or make private any code or projects that you would not want an employer to see. This can include embarrassing projects, broken code that you abandoned years ago, and similar unattractive content.
Also remove public access from any personal coding work that you have done, unless it has direct relevance to the job you are seeking. Remember, you want your profile and highlighted work to illustrate your professional abilities. If you have a mix of personal pet projects and professional efforts jumbled in your profile, some hiring managers may not want to take the time to sift through them to figure out which ones are relevant to their needs.
You can also pin your best repositories to the top of your GitHub profile, and then rank them in the order that you want them presented. Keep in mind that most visitors to your profile will only review the top few repositories to get a sense of your skills, so make sure that your best work is ranked at the top of your profile in a prominent place.
Consider creating readme files for your top-ranked projects
It is also a good idea to make it as easy as possible for hiring managers to understand what they are seeing when they review your repositories. The best way to do this is to create explanatory readme files for each pinned project, to quickly explain the nature of the project, why it exists, how it impacts users, and other important questions. As you do this, you should also make sure that each repository is organized, with clean and easily readable code.
You may also want to create a simple readme file for your profile as well. That can allow you an opportunity to develop your biography details, add more information about various projects you have contributed to, and link to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Just don't be too long-winded in that readme since you don't want to draw any attention away from the repositories.
While the creation of those readme files might seem like extra work, it can actually be another strong selling point for hiring managers who visit your profile. After all, development companies expect personnel to be able to not only maintain code but document it properly too. A hiring manager who takes note of your consistent approach to that documentation is likely to appreciate that attention to detail.
Try to get stars for your profile
On GitHub, stars serve as signs of approval and recommendation from other software engineers. As you collaborate on various open-source projects and work on other coding, you should be reaching out to other developers to seek those recommendations. The more stars you have on any of your projects, the more chance there is that a hiring manager will quickly recognize your talent as a coder.
Develop a diverse portfolio
If you have been focused on just one type of coding, then it might be wise to take some time to do work for various open-source projects to diversify your portfolio. One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from any job competitors is to demonstrate that you have a broad set of skills that can be applied to many different types of projects. If your entire profile highlights nothing but mobile app development projects, you may struggle to land a job that focuses on other software development needs.
How to put GitHub on your resume and where to add links
With your GitHub profile cleaned up and properly ordered, it is time to think about adding it to your resume. There are several good places where you can add GitHub on a resume to make the maximum impact on the reader and ensure that it gets prominent notice. They include:
Your contact section of the resume
Since your GitHub account is an online profile, it should be included in your contact information section on the resume. Here, you can just include the link to your profile, listing it after your email address and LinkedIn address. It should look like this:
A separate section for your projects
Since your experience on projects is such an important part of your overall employee value-added proposition, it is important to highlight them in your resume. One of the best ways to do that is to create a separate project section in the resume, where you can list some of your most impressive work. That will enable you to give an employer an easy way to examine your programming skills, language proficiencies, and style.
For each project listing, include the name of the project, your role, the dates you worked on the coding, and a link to the specific repository where they can view your efforts. That last part is important since you want to make it as easy as possible for the hiring manager to find that project. Then provide a brief description of the project, its purpose, and its usefulness, followed by two or three bullet points that outline the languages you used and what your coding achieved. The following format can provide a template for each project listing:
Project Name | Your Role | Dates
Description of the project
Bullet point: technologies and languages used
Bullet Point: Achievement #1, including quantifiable metrics
Bullet Point: Achievement #2, including quantifiable metrics
If possible, try to work some of the job description keywords into your project descriptions or bullet points, to help you satisfy any applicant tracking systems that might screen your resume. Also, make sure that each project that you have linked to in your resume is publicly available on GitHub. You should also avoid including any projects that you are not authorized to reveal. That would include coding assignments that are sensitive or confidential in nature.
How to put GitHub in your resume summary section
Another great area to include GitHub is in your resume summary. Here, you will just want to mention your proficiency with the platform and experience using it, rather than getting into any specific projects that you worked on. You can, however, mention your collaborative use of the platform, since that can be an easy way to demonstrate your ability to work as part of a larger team in pursuit of a common goal.
If the job description mentioned that candidates need to be proficient with GitHub, then you can focus much of your summary on your familiarity with that platform. However, if the description made no mention of GitHub, then it is best to simply acknowledge your proficiency while focusing more attention on your coding knowledge base, commitment to teamwork, and project leadership abilities. Again, remember to use key words and phrases from the job description within your summary.
For more details about how to write an effective and compelling summary, and how it differs from other types of resume statements, read: Ask Amanda: How Are a Resume Objective and a Resume Summary Different?
While you likely have many soft skills that will make you a valuable employee, companies will be focused on your technical skills to determine if you are the right candidate for their position. One way to make it easier for them to understand your skill level is to include a technical skill section in your resume. Within that section, you can include skills related to programming languages, as well as platforms like GitHub. As far as formatting goes, try to keep it as clean and simple as possible. For example:
Bullet Point: Skill #1 – years of experience using it
Bullet Point: Skill #2 – years of experience using it
Bullet Point: GitHub – years of experience using it, profile or project link
Key things to remember to optimize your GitHub effectiveness for job searches
As you might expect, it is not enough to simply know how to put GitHub on your resume. You also need to make sure that you are maintaining your profile over time so that it is always relevant for your job search needs. The following tips can help you organize that process:
Get in the habit of using GitHub for your coding projects, including personal and professional ones, The site is secure, and you can always make sensitive coding projects private.
Regularly update and maintain code on the site, so that you can confidently include those projects on any resume.
Keep tabs on your projects as you accumulate more work, and regularly reprioritize them in ranking. That can save you time later on and allow you to focus more on your resume rather than hurriedly updating your GitHub.
Treat your GitHub profile as an online office. Keep it clean and organized so that it is always ready for guests to visit.
Your GitHub account and profile can be one of the best tools you have to demonstrate your software development skills to any potential employer. With a little effort and the guidance provided in this post, you should be able to learn how to put GitHub on your resume in a way that highlights just how valuable you can be for any employer who chooses to hire you for their company.
When it comes to resume creation for software engineering jobs, it's not always easy to “crack the code.” If you are struggling with your resume and want to ensure that it makes the best possible impression on potential employers, get a free resume review today!