Software engineers are the heroes of the tech world; they deal with some of the most difficult problems in the industry. They play a huge role in the success of a business, and they’re in high demand. So if you’re sending off resumes with all the right software engineering skills, it’s only a matter of time until you get hired at a great company.
In a perfect world, you’d be able to talk to a software engineering hiring manager in person and convince them of your knowledge and work experience. But alas, that’s just not the case: you’ll have to go through several layers before you even make it to the interview.
We’ve got your back. In this article, we’ve created the ultimate guide for how to write a polished and persuasive software engineering resume.
How to Begin
A resume tells a story. And the story you want your resume to tell is that you have a passion for creating software; you’re not in computer sciences by chance.
If you’ve already got some software engineering experience, it’s important to show off the technologies you’ve had the opportunity to work with. But to make a case for yourself, you'll need to do more than simply name the technologies you’ve used.
It’s also important to tell a good story through your resume. As you write out your work experience, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did you make a positive impact while working as a software engineer?
- Does your resume illustrate how you did that?
- Do you have the skill set to fulfill the required role, and preferably some details or examples to back up your answer?
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential recruiter, and make sure you’re someone they’d want to hire.
Every aspect of your resume has the opportunity to make or break your chances of moving to the interview. And that includes our next topic: formatting.
The Best Resume Format for Software Engineers
Most software engineers use the reverse chronological order resume format. This format can be the most efficient way to present your work experience and skills since your most recent experience is front and center.
It’s also important to include all the usual sections that recruiters, and their software, look for to decide who’s worthy of an interview.
Here are the sections you absolutely need:
- A proper header section with a specific job title and URL(s) to your software engineering Github or portfolio websites.
- A short, crisp, and focused summary section.
- An experience section that highlights your accomplishments.
- A skills section that lists your hard and soft skills relevant to the job.
- An education and certification section.
While adding information under these sections, you should make sure they talk about what the recruiters are looking for in a resume.
Now that you’ve understood the basic format of a resume, what sections are to be included, and what recruiters want to see in your resume, it’s time to dive into each section in more detail.
The Importance of a Header
The humble header is often overlooked, even though it's an essential aspect of your resume. Since it's the first thing a recruiter sees, the header should include your name and contact info. It would also be useful to include a URL to your LinkedIn and Github profile.
There are some recruiters who select applicants solely based on technical skills. They’ll skim through your resume to see whether you’ve mentioned your coding languages. They may not even bother looking at your educational details. That’s why it’s important to provide a link to your Github.
How to Write A Summary in Your Software Engineering Resume
A great summary section can help you land an interview, but a poor one can also instantly ruin your chances. You want to make sure that your summary is to the point, but intriguing.
An example of a summary would be:
Polish up the "Experience" Section
You want to make sure the recruiter doesn’t toss your resume after one glance. So you have to make sure the previous job experiences you include are:
To explain this further, let’s take a look at a sentence that’s often found in software engineering resumes:
“Developed a predictive algorithm”
What was the purpose of the algorithm? What measurable differences did your algorithm make for the company? It’s important to add the answers to these questions to stand out from other software engineering candidates.
How to Write about Your Skills
Most people in the technical field tend to list all of the programming languages and software tools that they’ve ever used, even if they barely understand them. Surprisingly, this may work against you. Instead, focus on the skills you know inside and out - the ones you can definitely back up with work experience if you’re asked about them in an interview.
Here are 10 technical skills you should try to highlight in your resume:
- Angular JS
- CSS, HTML
- AWS, GCP and Azure.
In addition to these technical skills, you may also want to showcase your interpersonal and teamwork skills. Be sure to slide your soft skills into your relevant work experience descriptions.
Projects, Education, And Certification Section
If you’re a fresh graduate and don’t have much experience in the field, then these are your sections to shine. In the projects section, you can discuss any sites or software you’ve created either by yourself or in a team. These projects can be ones that you’ve decided to do just for fun, during an internship, or in previous jobs.
The ‘education and certification’ section is pretty simple to format. This is where you include your educational qualifications and the relevant certificates you’ve earned. There’s no need to include your grades in this section unless they’re phenomenal.
Final Steps to Land A Software Engineering Job
Once you’ve written a strong resume, you also need to craft an effective cover letter. Send off the perfect application, and then get ready for the next step: interview prep.
If you’d like more guidance on how to start your career in software engineering, our team is here to help. We’ve pulled together a whole range of useful tech articles to help you thrive in your career.