I've canceled my job to move on. Now I was asked how I want my Job description for my employment reference.

My first draft was one full page... This is too much. Now I've reduced the long version to a short version with 4 bullet points. But I'm not happy with this version. I've read lots of things about the usage of active verbs etc pp. But on the other hand, there are a lot of sites which say to use nominalization. I'm confused and want to use the possibility to write my job description. Originally it is written in german. That's why I try to translate it as true to original.

  • Development and architecture of APIs, web services, websites and services with .net Core 2.x and C#
  • Architecture and implementation of cloud reorientation with Google Kubernetes & Docker
  • Automation of the development and deployment process with GitLab and Helm
  • Analysis and optimization of existing interfaces

The last sentence sounds like one, which could be used for every employee. But I want one sentence which describes my possibility to work in existing code.

  • 1
    When you say "interfaces", do you mean literally interface types in C#, or do you mean user interfaces? Because UX is a subject all of its own, so if you're actually good at that in addition to doing programming and DevOps-related tasks (which it sounds like from the rest of your bullet points), you probably want to make that clear.
    – user
    Aug 2 '19 at 17:27
  • 2
    You might want to check out The Workplace as well.
    – user
    Aug 2 '19 at 17:27
  • Is "job description" really the correct term here? You are looking for a job. You are the potential employee. A "job description" is something the employer would put out to describe a vacancy. What you are looking for is, I think, a "Skills section in my resume" or just "resume". Dec 30 '19 at 9:36

Q. Do I use active verbs or nouns in a job description?

The key is brevity. You want your reader to remember the relevant information, without having to process loads of unnecessarily long grammatical constructs. If you think of it, these descriptions are often arranged as lists, instead of writing a narrative across long paragraphs. The rationale is again brevity.

In German, nouns are surprisingly better suited for this task. In my opinion they are also better suited in English.

As an example:

I have followed the deployment of processes related to waste disposal

is probably better replaced by

Deployment of waste disposal processes

Q. How do I customize my job description?

The easy path is to use the specific terms that you know from being an experienced professional in the field. Use jargon if needed, and if professionally acceptable. For instance, considering the following example from finance:

C++ Equity quant dev

instead of

developer of object-oriented software for the quantitative monitoring of stock market data

or, worse

C++ software engineer

The harder path is to add specifics of your role to the specific description given above. In the case of the equity quant dev, it may be further customized by adding information about the specific role and problems that were tackled:

emerging markets equity quant dev


equity quant dev for ultra-high-frequency trading platforms


buy-side equity quant dev

or a combination thereof, to nail down the specifics of your role, skills and position.


In what context did you work?

Those interfaces have probably been in the context of a certain topic. What kind of software did you analyze and optimize? Was it financial software? Something in the game industry? ERP?

You have said much about the technology that you have worked with so far, but you haven't said a single word about the context in which you have worked with these technologies. This is interesting information for people looking for someone to hire. And it might not be obvious, as you could for example have worked for a bank, but worked mostly with their legacy self-made ERP system or something along those lines.

Different industries have different criteria for what is important. If you have worked with financial software everyone will know that you know a lot about security for example. That could be an important point and will certainly make your job description stand out more. It will definitely give future potential employers a better understanding of your knowledge and make your last point far less generic.

  • thanks. That's a good hint. I will try to add this information. (energy utility; not as good as a bank but from security perspective nearly the same) Aug 2 '19 at 7:23

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