Need help writing a software engineer resume, or a resume for a related industry title? CV Owl offers writing tips and software engineer resume samples that will not only help write your application materials but help you get hired faster.
Today, software engineers make the world go ‘round. Thanks to their ability to design and develop computer software, software engineers work in nearly every industry under the sun.
As a software engineer, you possess an impressive array of software development skills with knowledge in mathematics, physics, and other analytical disciplines. You are responsible for creating technically sound and efficient programs uniquely situated at the forefront of a new digital paradigm.
With your numerous software engineering skills, languages, and methodologies, you may be asking, “What should I leave? What should I leave out?” This guide will help you navigate these tough questions.
As a software engineer, you are the kind of person who is attentive to detail, highly motivated, and averse to making mistakes. Unfortunately, a resume is all about communication. It’s meant to communicate your skills, achievements, accomplishments, competence, and personality — all on one page or two.
1. What kind of skills do you have?
Every branch of engineering has its own very specialized language, tools, concepts, and problems. That much is obvious. But even within your own branch of engineering, you may possess some form of expertise as a result of either self-study, formal education, or naturally learned from your work experience.
The technical and practical knowledge that you’ve accumulated can be displayed on your software engineer resume in a number of places — a summary of qualifications, within your professional experience.
This is the critical question that can make or break your software engineer resume. As someone who has studied engineering, or worked professionally in some regard, you’ve probably encountered classmates or co-workers who are knowledgeable and “book smart,” but can’t seem to put it to good use.
This is a classic problem in countries with authoritarian school practices — the students are sharp, with impressive memories, but they couldn’t cut their way out of a paper bag. When writing your resume, you need to think back on your major creative accomplishments in your field.
Maybe you invented more efficient methods or processes, improved safety standards, or solved complex problems through some ingenious solution. Communicate that information in your professional experience section.
If you’ve been asked to lead projects or train new hires, it’s probably because you have good leadership skills. Leadership is about keeping up morale, motivation, and knowing how to effectively assign tasks to the people who seem to be the most capable.
If you’re an entry-level candidate although you may not have any formal leadership experience that you can put on your software engineer resume, group projects from university are also kosher to include, provided that they weren’t too simple. Basically, if you’re an engineer with social skills and leadership capability, you’re bound to go far.
Caution! Your resume is a document that is meant to respond directly to the employer’s needs. However, engineering is a field where you can play with the rules a little bit.
And given that engineering can be so highly specialized, it is somewhat likely that any projects you have may be related to, or of some benefit to your potential employer. You may find that your project piques the interest of a hiring manager.
The following sections are normally included in a software engineering resume. For our full guide, read how to write a resume.
Always be sure to include your important contact details at the top of your software engineer resume such as your address, phone number, email, and perhaps your LinkedIn profile.
When writing your career objective, don’t go over two sentences. At the same time, you want to pack these two sentences full of the experiences, knowledge, and qualifications that make you the most qualified candidate for the position you are applying for. You can include a lot of relevant information in a tightly condensed space – just look at our sample above to see how it can be done.
Want to stand out from the crowd? Read our guide for creating eye-catching resume objectives.
First and foremost, this section should be written in reverse-chronological order. However, if you have missing work experience, you may need to hide those weak spots with a functional or combination resume for which you must have knowledge about different resume formats.
Companies are not looking for engineers who are capable of completing mundane tasks — they need motivated employees that are creative problem solvers and strong leaders. Your biggest accomplishment should be in the first bullet point that you write.
If you’re a recent graduate, include your GPA. Only list your high school if you haven’t attended college. Here’s more about the education section for your software engineering resume.
This section is unique to engineering (and other technical) resumes. Through training, you learn valuable skills that can make you a more effective employee and team member — therefore, you should definitely include this section.
This section is in parentheses because it is not absolutely necessary. However, it may be of some benefit to including on some versions of your resume, if you feel that the employer would be interested. Here’s what to include in your resume and what not.
By going through our following resume hacks, writing your software engineer resume will be easier than it seems. Here are four proven guidelines that will help you debug your resume, get you noticed, and help you land your dream job.
1. Keep your resume to one page.
Time is in short supply these days. Hiring managers are swamped with dozens (if not hundreds) of resumes for each job opening. Chances are, a two-page resume won’t be read in full. Under these circumstances, a one-page resume is the most important element of success.
The easiest way to reduce document length is to reduce work experience. Good programmers know how to prioritize clear code. The same goes for resume writing. Your goal is to write clear, well-structured sentences that explain the depth of your experience. Do this and you will keep your resume content from mushrooming.
2. Clearly, list relevant technology skills.
Listing skills required for the position is a no-brainer. For example, if you use Laravel for PHP, but only list PHP, the hiring manager will be left guessing what framework you are familiar with.
Always make it easy for hiring managers to perform a fair assessment of your abilities. The candidate in the sample above has succeeded with listing his skills, for these reasons:
On the other hand, be aware that if you show too many skills, hiring managers may assume that your knowledge is too broad and not deep enough to perform at a high level. It will also look like you made the rookie mistake of bloating your resume with skills you don’t have or aren’t relevant to the job.
In addition to including your skills, you need to quantify your accomplishments on your software engineer resume to demonstrate your value to an employer. Here’s how the software engineer resume sample above does this:
Mastering the Do’s and Don’ts
Targeting your resume for one job at a time is the path to success. This requires a combination of two aspects: researching the company and customizing your resume.
Conduct extensive background research on all of the companies you are interested in working for. What are their products? Do you know how these products are designed? What are the technologies behind their products? And equally important, do you understand what the business is trying to accomplish?
These leading questions will help you delve deeper into the needs of the company. They will also help you further optimize your resume, and even glean useful nuggets to address in your cover letter or interview.
Customize your software engineer resume by optimizing your resume introduction and professional experience sections by addressing the job’s needs with your related background.
The clean, simple header in your software engineer resume should include the job seeker's name and contact information without any fuss. Since the addition of graphics, images, and other design elements can confuse an ATS, this job seeker has chosen an unassuming design that won’t confuse an ATS.
The professional summary is a critical section of a software engineer’s resume, and this job seeker has written one with impact. In this software engineer resume example, he succinctly highlights his work experience and adds metrics for impact, all in a concise statement that will make recruiters want to read more.
The skills section on this software engineer resume example, which highlights the jobseeker’s relevant skillset. Remember, studying the job ad before writing your resume will help you to ensure that you are highlighting the critical skills required for the role.
The work history section of this resume utilizes a reverse chronological format, which is the preferred format of recruiters for its easy reading. Just a quick scan allows hiring managers to see their past job titles and career progression.
The education section is critical for a role like Ravindra’s, which is why the prominence of his degree from the University of Oregon on her software engineer resume example is sure to catch the eye of a recruiter.
The optional affiliations section on his resume allows Ravindra to show that he is involved in a community of professionals in his industry.
Because the field of software development has such a wide variety of job titles, job seekers looking for work in this field have a unique challenge: how to present the information on their resume in the most appealing way. Since software developers are both highly creative and highly technical, crafting the right mix of skills is critical to getting a foot in the door.
Choose a mix of hard and soft skills and mention of some of your more impressive professional achievements. To start, study the job ad to determine the skills that the employer values most, then customize your resume for each job.
Click on the job title that best matches your career goals for information and inspiration before you begin writing your resume. But, first, let’s review some basic resume tips that all job seekers in the field should consider:
Your level of experience in your field and your work history are two elements to consider when deciding between resume formats. Study the three main resume formats to decide which one is best for the role you seek.
These are the header, professional summary, skills, work experience, and education. In the education section of your resume, be sure to include your degrees, as well as and any certifications or specialized training you’ve completed.
This is perhaps the most important step in resume writing. To get your resume past an applicant tracking system (ATS), it’s critical to study the job ad to look for relevant keywords. Once you’ve determined which skills are most important and then incorporate these into your resume. It’s important to do this every time you apply for a job.
Many job seekers skip this step but ATSs are used by the vast majority of companies to weed out unqualified candidates by searching for pre-selected keywords that are critical to the role. By customizing your resume to the job ad, you are increasing your chances of having your resume rank well as it passes through the ATS and later be read by a human recruiter.
When perusing resume examples, aim to keep your software engineer resume simple and free of any design elements that could confuse the ATS. Rather than adding visual appeal through images or fancy fonts, instead concentrate on creating a clean, easy-to-read document that clearly highlights your teaching accomplishments, licenses, and certificates.
Don’t forget to add metrics that showcase the impact of your work i.e. try to measure your work by including some quantitative analytics. For example, if you increased the cost efficiency for your employer, or boosted customer retention, note that on your resume to catch the eye of a hiring manager and set you apart from other applicants.
Your most recent or current job should always be at the top. This allows hiring managers to see your work history at a glance. Also, always include your dates of employment as omitting dates can raise a red flag.
Software development is a fast-growing field and competition is fierce. To make it clear that you are the right person for the job, you’ll need to flaunt your credentials. Prominently list your degrees and any other certifications or specialized training you’ve completed or are pursuing. Showing an employer that you’ve continued to learn and grow over the course of your career can set you apart.
Sure, software engineers spend a lot of time behind a screen but that doesn’t mean they work in a vacuum. Emphasizing your ability to collaborate and to communicate with others, both verbally and in writing, is incredibly appealing to hiring managers. Remember, hard skills can be taught but many soft skills are innate. Let them know you have what it takes to be a great teammate.
Regardless of your exact job title, creating a professional resume that will get a recruiter’s attention shouldn’t be a painful experience. By studying up on how to write a resume and taking advantage of CV Owl’s library of tips and suggestions, professionals at all levels can quickly learn how to write a resume that will get them hired.
If you are in a hurry, or uncertain about your writing abilities, using CV Owl’s online resume builder can make the process even easier. Our Online Resume Builder / CV Maker not only suggests text to make your skills and experience shine but the built-in spelling and grammar check ensures that your finished document is clean, attractive, and free of typos and grammatical errors.
For creating a perfect software engineer resume for yourself, keep the following pointers in mind:
You may be a genius when it comes to writing code and designing software, but you'll need to rely on a different set of skills to write your resume. After all, in order to have the best shot at getting called for a job interview, your resume needs to shine right off the bat.
Could you use a little help making sure it's ready to be seen by hiring managers? Get a free CV Review from the experts at CV Owl's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback on your email within 2 business days, including a review of your resume's mistake and content.
Nobody writes cover letters anymore, right?
That's true. If you're talking about the ones who don't get hired.
A cover letter is the short version of your resume. It tells recruiters whether you're worth looking at.
Without a cover letter, nearly half of all recruiters will pass by your professional software engineer resume without a second look.
Here are a couple of tips to nail it:
For that last part, go through the software engineer cover letter sample here.
Also, a great cover letter that matches your resume will provide you with an extra edge over other candidates. You can start creating your software engineer cover letter on our cover letter builder here.
Create, edit and share your professional resume and cover letter in minutes using our free resume builder. Build the perfect resume and get the job you deserve!