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
Choosing the right resume format is essential for creating a successful software engineer resume. The format can affect how well your resume presents your skills and experience to potential employers. It's crucial to choose a format that showcases your qualifications in the best possible light.
First, consider the type of software engineering position you are seeking. If you're applying for a technical role, such as a software developer or software engineer, you may want to use a functional or skills-based format. This type of format emphasizes your technical skills and abilities, such as programming languages and tools you're proficient in.
If you have a solid work history in software engineering, a chronological resume format may be best. This format lists your work experience in reverse chronological order, highlighting your most recent position and responsibilities. This format is particularly useful if you're looking to demonstrate career progression and growth in the field.
Another option is a hybrid or combination resume format. This type of format combines the best aspects of both functional and chronological formats. It allows you to showcase your skills and accomplishments while also highlighting your work experience and career history.
Ultimately, the goal of choosing the right resume format is to ensure your qualifications are easy to read and understand by potential employers. Consider your unique skills, work history, and career goals when selecting a format that best highlights your strengths and makes you stand out as a qualified software engineer.
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 | firstname.lastname@example.org | linked.com/in/milo-thatch
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
- Clear communication
- Collaboration and teamwork
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. Demonstrate your achievements in the software engineering industry
An awards and achievements section in your software engineer resume is an opportunity to showcase your professional accolades and accomplishments. It can help differentiate you from other candidates and demonstrate your exceptional skills and contributions in the field.
Include any relevant industry awards or honors you have received, such as recognition from software development associations, technology companies, or academic institutions. Additionally, list any notable achievements, such as developing a successful software application, contributing to an open-source project, or publishing research in a respected industry journal.
When writing about your awards and achievements, be sure to provide a brief description of what the award or achievement entailed and any outcomes or results that were achieved. This can provide potential employers with insight into your abilities and contributions as a software engineer.
Overall, the awards and achievements section is an excellent way to highlight your exceptional skills and accomplishments and make your resume stand out to potential employers.
Here's an example of how to effectively list your achievements in a software engineer resume
- Received the "Outstanding Technical Achievement" award for developing an innovative mobile application that increased user engagement by 25%.
- Contributed code to a widely used open-source project, which has been downloaded over 100,000 times and has a 5-star rating on GitHub.
- Published research on machine learning algorithms in the respected journal, "IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems."
- Earned the "Certified Scrum Developer" designation from the Scrum Alliance for completing training in agile software development methodologies.
- Developed a complex, multi-tiered software system that successfully integrated with a client's existing infrastructure, resulting in a $500,000 contract renewal.
6. 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
- Major: Computer Science & Information Systems
- Graduated: 2019, Summa Cum Laude