How to build an effective software engineering resume

Software engineers are responsible for all things digital, from helping to develop mobile applications to creating the productivity software used in almost all offices. To become a software engineer, you need a well-written resume that is effective at convincing an employer that you are the ideal and most-qualified candidate for the position.

In this guide, we teach you everything you need to know about writing a resume as a software engineer. Keep reading to learn all about how to:

  • Properly format your software engineering resume
  • Write a strong software engineering resume summary
  • Include your best technical and interpersonal skills as a software engineer
  • Describe your work experience as a software engineer
  • List your educational credentials as a software engineer

1. Properly format your software engineering resume

Formatting a resume properly is the first key step when writing a software engineer resume.

The format that is best for your needs will depend on what your professional history looks like and what you need a resume to emphasize most.

Let’s examine the three main types of formats you can choose between:

  • Reverse-chronological: The RC resume is the standard format used for most resumes. It focuses mainly on work experience, making this section the biggest and most prominent on the document. While this is the format most employers expect to see, to make it effective you need to have at least 2 to 3 years of experience under your belt.
  • Functional: A functional resume shifts the focus from work experience to education, skills, and unpaid experience (internships, volunteer work, etc.). This type of format allows an applicant to showcase other professional qualifications they possess if they lack a long work history within the software engineering industry, such as a recently graduated undergraduate might.
  • Hybrid: A hybrid resume does not focus on one section in particular. Instead, it shifts the focus more evenly throughout the whole document. This can be a clever way to make a functional resume look more like a reverse-chronological resume, while still providing yourself with ample room to describe qualifications outside of paid work experience.

Make sure that you use bulleted lists when providing details. Large chunks of text will not make you more apt for the position. On the opposite side, they will make your CV look cluttered.

It's also recommended to use a traditional font, such as Calibri or Cambria. Stylish fonts may not look professional, and they will surely deflect a hiring manager’s attention from the content.

No matter which resume format you ultimately opt for, they should all begin the same way — with a well-formatted header that contains your name, professional title, and professional contact information.

Here is an example of a well-formated software engineering resume header

Milo Thatch, Software Engineer
(123) 456-7890 | |

Choose your preferred template and make your resume shine.

2. Write a strong software engineering resume summary

Once your header is in place, you can begin writing your resume summary.

A summary is typically placed either in the header of a resume, below the applicant’s name and contact information, or a few spaces down from the header above the first section (typically the work experience section). In this summary, you should include:

  • An overview of your professional history
  • Your specialized areas of expertise in software engineering
  • A statement on what type of position you are looking for

Here is an example of a well-written summary from a software engineering resume

Talented software engineer with more than 7 years of experience developing and coding video games for major studies such as Devolver, Nintendo, and Rockstar Games. In search of a position as a Lead Software Engineer where I can express my creative interests along with applying my technical skillset.

Why is this Correct?

This summary makes it clear how long the applicant has worked as a software engineer and what they have specialized in within the industry. Moreover, this summary helps hook the employer’s attention by naming major companies that the applicant has provided software engineering services to in the past.

3. Include your best technical and interpersonal skills as a software engineer

As a software engineer, there are many different types of skills you must employ at any moment.

From an engineering perspective, you must know how to properly build, code, test, and other key technical skills. Yet, simultaneously, you will more than likely work with a team of fellow developers, with whom you will need to collaborate efficiently.

This highlights the crucial importance of including both technical and interpersonal skills on a software engineering resume. You need to show employers that you are a well-rounded professional that can achieve a high level of success thanks to your utilization of both types of skills.

Here are 5 examples of technical skills to include on a software engineering resume

  • Coding languages (Ruby, Python, etc.)
  • Building software applications
  • Testing software procedures
  • Working with databases
  • UX/UI optimization

Here are 5 examples of interpersonal skills to include on a software engineering resume

  • Creative thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Clear communication
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Leadership

Find out your resume score!

Our AI Resume checker can scan your resume for issues and give you tips on how you can improve it.
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4. Effectively describe your work experience as a software engineer

When you are ready to begin writing your work experience section, it is important to know how to properly create a work experience entry.

You should always include the job title, employer, location, and employment dates when discussing a former job. To describe your responsibilities at a previous job, use bullet points to help visually organize the information. To make your experience section clear and easy to navigate, write a maximum of 7 points. The employer needs to be able to quickly skim over your resume.

Here is an example of a work experience entry from a software engineer resume

Software Engineer at Tech Mech Solutions, Inc
New York, NY
May 2018 to September 2022

  • Led a cloud migration project for a financial institution that helped boost operational efficiency by more than 35%, leading to $350K saved annually in operational expenses.
  • Collaborated closely with a team of UX and UI developers to ensure applications in development were user-friendly and intuitive to use.
  • Built over 50 custom applications for clients per year, leading development teams on these application projects.

5. List your educational credentials as a software engineer properly

You have reached the last step for writing your software engineering resume!

In general, an education section is small and will come toward the bottom of the document, or tucked away in a sidebar. The exception to this rule is if you are writing a functional-style resume that has placed greater emphasis on educational experience.

Your education section should contain a minimum of three pieces of information: the highest level of education you have, the institution you attended, and the date you graduated or completed.

Here is an example of a well-crafted education section on a software engineering resume

B.S. Computer Science
University of Delaware
Newark, DE

  • Major: Computer Science & Information Systems
  • Graduated: 2019, Summa Cum Laude


Published on Jan. 26, 2023