How to craft an impressive software engineering cover letter
Software engineers are responsible for creating computer and digital programs used throughout all industries, from education to government and military uses. Earning a position as a software engineer requires not just the technical skills and talent but also a well-written cover letter that showcases these qualifications to employers.
In this guide, we teach you everything you need to know about writing a cover letter as a software engineer. Keep reading to learn how to:
- Craft a well-formatted cover letter header and headline
- Tailor your software engineering cover letter with personalized details
- Include attention-grabbing information in your cover letter introduction
- Describe your best software engineering qualifications properly
- Conclude your software engineering cover letter persuasively
1. Craft a well-formatted software engineering cover letter header and headline
Any great cover letter starts with a well-formatted cover letter header and cover letter headline.
The header is the block of text found at the very top of the page, containing your name and professional contact information, among other things. Making your header look visually appealing is key, as you want your name to stand out and be memorable to employers.
Here is an example of a well-formatted software engineer header
John Doe, Software Engineer
(123) 456-7890 | firstname.lastname@example.org | linkedin.com/in/john-doe
To: Loganson Software Development, Inc.
1234 Street Address
New York, NY 10001
A cover letter headline follows the header and often serves as a title for your cover letter. In this headline, key components to include are a relevant keyword, an attention-grabbing number or trigger word, and a powerful verb or adjective.
It is also wise to include a personalized statement — such as “your business”, “your company”, or “your clients” — that lets the employer know you will address their exact needs within your letter.
Here is an example of a great headline from a software engineer cover letter
My 4 Major Successes as a Software Engineer & How I Can Employ These Talents at Your Business
2. Tailor your software engineering cover letter with personalized details
All cover letters should be tailored to address the specific needs of each employer — or else they can end up sounding generic, boring, and invaluable to the reader.
Tailoring a cover letter requires you to sprinkle personalized details not just in the headline but throughout the entire letter. This can include references to the company’s values and goals, or explanations of how your skills can assist the company in its current projects or partnerships.
Additionally, you should always include a personalized greeting on your cover letter. This type of greeting addresses a specific person by name and lets them know that your letter is tailored for them.
Here are 3 examples of personalized software engineer cover letter greetings
- Dear CEO Matt Smith,
- Dear Mr. Matt Smith,
- Dear Lead Software Engineer Damon Gary,
3. Include attention-grabbing information in your cover letter introduction
In software engineering, you impress your clients and employers with well-written code — in a cover letter, you impress employers with a well-written introduction.
A strong introduction on a cover letter should include:
- A brief overview of your professional history (years of experience, specializations, etc.)
- A statement on why you are enthusiastic about applying to this company
- A mutual acquaintance (when possible) that can serve as a professional reference
Here is an example of a great introduction from a software engineering cover letter
Dear CEO Matt Smith,
I write to you today with great enthusiasm about the opportunity to join your team of talented software engineers. As a software engineer with more than 10 years of experience in both front-end and back-end development of financial mobile applications, I know I will be the perfect addition to your team. My former coworker, Mr. Damon Gary, now works as one of your lead engineers and strongly recommended I apply.
4. Describe your best software engineering qualifications properly
Now that you have hooked the employer’s attention with an impressive introduction, strive to impress them further with concise descriptions of your most relevant qualifications.
The best qualifications to discuss in a cover letter are your relevant skills and accomplishments. These types of qualifications are the easiest to relate back to the employer’s specific needs, as well as to demonstrate your professional value.
Here are 6 skills to describe in a software engineer cover letter
- Programming languages (Python, Ruby, etc.)
- Analyzing software systems
- Front-end development
- Back-end development
- Software testing processes
- Clear verbal and written communication
Finished projects are an excellent way to display your talent. Give a clear description of your position on each project, such as "software development team lead". Include data that give further context and demonstrate the project's success.
Here is an example of how to describe an accomplishment in a software engineering cover letter
As a software engineer for [Former Employer], I introduce the concept of DevOps to the development team and created a dedicated in-house DevOps department. After leading this team for just six months, we were able to reduce time-to-completion rates by 65%, resulting in 45% faster deliveries of software products.
5. Conclude your software engineering cover letter persuasively
The last crucial detail to include in your software engineering cover letter is a persuasive conclusion.
In this conclusion, an employer should find:
- How and when they can best contact you
- When you intend to follow up
- A formal sign-off
Here is an example of a persuasive conclusion from a software engineering cover letter
It is with great enthusiasm that I submit this letter and application for your consideration. I am eager to hear from you and hope to receive your call regarding this position within the next two weeks, after which I do plan to follow up if I have not heard back. The best time to reach me is between the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at (123) 456-7890, Monday through Friday.
If you have ever wondered how a cover letter differs from a resume, this article will tell you everything about the key differences between the two.