Your online code repositories hosted on GitHub, GitLab and similar platforms are one of the most important tools for recruiters to assess your technical capabilities. They play a big role in the decision on whether you will be invited for a job interview. At Portavita it is usual to go through a candidate’s repositories together with them and have a candidate talk about their code.

In this article we would like to provide you with some tips on how to make your repositories look impressive and inviting.

Tip 1: Make your personal projects private

If you’ve uploaded projects just to have them be hosted online or to share with a limited number of people you should consider making them private. This relieves you of the burden of tidying them up. A recruiter will not have to spend their time reviewing code that you didn’t intend them to see.

Tip 2: Treat your repositories like open-source projects

They technically are! Add a brief file to your repository explaining what it does and why it exists. If your project is running somewhere, add a link to that location so the reader can see it in action. You could add brief instructions on how to build and run the code too, but don’t expect many recruiters to execute them due to security considerations.

Considering other aspects of open-source development like documentation, proper handling of bug reports and pull requests and the use of integrated CI/CD tools are a big plus as well.

Tip 3: Pin the most relevant repositories

Platforms like GitHub allow you to prominently display some of your repositories on your profile page. Make clever use of this by showing the most relevant and recent repositories front and center. Order them in such a way that the ones most relevant to the position you are applying for show up first. You don’t want a recruiter to have to scroll through a big list of your projects and end up missing your best work.

Tip 4: Last-minute changes before an interview are okay

Found some problems in your code while preparing for an interview? Feel free to fix your code and refactor the nasty parts away. It will help you get back into your code mentally and shows a recruiter that you care for code quality. Mentioning these changes during the interview will surely get the conversation going.

Tip 5: Show old, bad code too

Have some projects that are very old and/or of poor quality? You might want to consider highlighting those as well. During an interview you can discuss what you would change nowadays and convince recruiters that you’ve grown since then.

Not exactly remembering how certain things work is fine; you’re not expected to have perfect memory. If you and a recruiter manage to figure out what your code does during an interview you’ve perfectly demonstrated your ability in code archeology.


With these five tips we hope you will be able to complement your CV with a neatly organized portfolio, convince recruiters to invite you to a job interview and get you through technical assessments. Let your code do the work for you!