Software Engineer Resume Examples & Tips [+Template]
A full-stack guide to writing a software engineer resume that’d put Linus Torvalds to shame. With easy to code tips to make your next job application a cinch.
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Writing a good software engineer resume is surprisingly similar to writing good code—well-constructed sentences, bug-free grammar, and adaptability to new requirements.
You’re about to learn how easy that is to achieve. You’ll even get software developer resume examples to see exactly how it’s done. Read on, and you'll see how to write a job-winning resume for software engineer and developer jobs as robust as your finest code.
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Sample resume made with our builder—See more resume examples here.
Looking for advice for other IT jobs? Check out our related resume guides:
- Senior Software Engineer Resume
- Entry Level Software Engineer Resume
- Software Engineering Internship Resume
- DevOps Resume
- Full Stack Developer Resume
- Computer Science Resume
- Computer Engineer Resume
- IT Resume
- Programming Resume
- Best Resume Examples for All Jobs
Software Engineer Resume Example
Diligent software engineer with 5+ years of experience in commercial application and software development. Eager to join Cyclone Inc. to build innovative and cutting-edge business solutions for the impressive suite of clients within its global reach. In previous roles, slashed downtime by 25% and ensured 98% on-time project completion. Also identified and dealt with a significant process bottleneck that boosted coding efficiency by 35% when resolved.
- Built innovative microservices and Web Services (incl. SOA/SOAP/REST/XML).
- Utilized Cloud Foundry for efficient building on top of Kubernetes.
- Efficiently deployed and integrated software engineered by team and updated integration/deployment scripts to improve continuous integration practices.
- Liaised with Product Managers to identify minimum viable product requirements and clearly defined feature sets into well-scoped user stories for individual team members.
- Maintained maximum uninterrupted flow of business-critical ops. Cut downtime by 25% and costs of warranty by up to 45%.
Software Development Intern
September 2015–May 2016
- Supported Kell Tech’s testing and engineering processes.
- Confirmed that completed software met client requirements.
- Completed maintenance on existing programs.
- Worked closely with product team on scope of future projects and innovations.
- Carried out continuous identification, measurement, and improvement of processes.
- Identified and dealt with a significant process bottleneck that boosted coding efficiency by 35% when resolved.
Bachelor of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
September 2012–July 2015
- Heavy focus on full stack engineering with modules on both front and back-end processes.
- Built a mock payment system for an Android eCommerce app for a senior year project.
- Software development
- Agile frameworks
- Interpersonal communication skills
- Java, HTML, CSS, SQL Server, No SQL
- Status tracking frameworks (Jira and Rally)
- Practical knowledge of SQL and database concepts
- Solid knowledge of cybersecurity principles
- Cloudera Certified Software Developer for Apache Hadoop (CCDH)
- Oracle Java Certifications Associate Professional
- Puppet Labs Puppet Developer Certification
You’ve just seen a perfect software engineer resume template. Use this template for your software developer resume as well.
You think there’s a difference between these two jobs? Let’s find out.
Software Engineer Resume vs. Software Developer Resume
Even though these terms are quite similar, there’s a difference in responsibilities between a software developer and a software engineer. It can vary from company to company, but in general:
- Software developers write/modify code according to the client's requirements.
- Software engineers are big-picture guys with a deeper tech/engineering knowledge. They work closely with stakeholders and create the whole architecture behind the future solution.
To put it simply, a software engineer could be a software developer, but a software developer could not necessarily be a software engineer.
Now let’s dig deep into writing a resume for both.
1. Create a Solid Software Engineer Resume Structure
Every software developer worth their salt hates messy spaghetti code. Likewise, recruiters hate sloppy, poorly structured resumes. They expect everything to be just right so they can read quickly and easily. Here’s how to do it right:
- Use reverse-chronological format.
- Create an eye-catching resume header that includes your contact information.
- Use elegant and readable resume fonts, set your resume margins to an inch on each side, and set your line spacing to 1.15.
- Divide it into clear resume sections, emphasizing each with a resume header set at a font size larger than your body text. 12 points for the body and 14–16 for the headings is ideal.
These are the sections a software engineer resume should have, from top to bottom.
- Header with contact info
- Summary statement/career objective
- Work experience
- Additional sections (certifications, hobbies and interests, projects, etc.)
And a final formatting tip for you. Save your resume as a PDF unless you’re specifically told otherwise. PDFs keep your structure intact and are readable on almost any device.
Find out more about resume formatting here: Resume Formats: How to Choose the Best One For Your Needs
Now I’ll let you in a little secret. Don’t start with your resume introduction. You’ll just get stuck. Start off with your work experience and leave that first section until last.
2. Get Started With a Software Engineer Work Experience Section
Your work experience section is the most important of all. Get it wrong, and it’s like a fatal exception error. It’ll abort your chances of success. Here’s how to get it right:
- Use reverse-chronological order, your most recent job first.
- Include the basic details of each post, your job title, company name and location, and dates of employment.
- Write up to six bullet points describing the job for each entry. Start them off with a resume power word to help make them pop. Make sure they’re targeted to the job requirements and write results-based statements, not a plain shopping list of duties.
- Use the PAR or STAR method to structure your resume bullet points. Don’t be put off by those acronyms. They just mean problem or situation/task plus action and result. It’s how you explain how you’ve used your skills to solve problems and achieve results at work.
- Quantify your achievements with numbers wherever possible. Talk about percentage increases or decreases, cost savings or profit increases, and even numbers of team members. In short, if there’s a metric, add a number.
Now let’s see how it works in practice:
Software Engineer Resume Sample: Work Experience
Lead Software Engineer
Lead Software Engineer
That’s the same candidate, but a completely different story regarding the impression their work experience section makes. The first is energetic, achievement-driven, and number-rich. The second is like expecting Windows 10 but getting a command prompt instead, it’s got basic functionality, but otherwise, it’s a boring disappointment.
Find out more about creating a powerful work experience section: Top Tips for a Job-Winning Resume Work Experience Section
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
3. Add Your Education
It’s just your education section; nobody really pays attention to it, right? Wrong. Recruiters still want to see you’ve got good qualifications for your software engineering resume. This is how to ensure your education section is just right:
- If you have two or more years of experience, stick to the basics. Name your school, list your degree, and your dates of study.
- If you’re still studying or writing a recent college graduate resume, add more details. Consider listing relevant coursework or extracurricular activities. Academic achievements, such as being on the Dean’s list, also look great on your resume.
- Also, add an expected graduation date if you’re still in school, and only include your GPA if it’s 3.5 or above and you graduated within the last two years.
Here are two examples, first from an experienced software engineer candidate:
Software Engineer Resume Examples: Education Section
Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
And here’s an example for a less experienced software developer candidate:
Software Developer Resume Template: Education
Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering
University of Oregon
Expected graduation date: 2022
See more about writing an A-grade education section: How to List Your Education on a Resume
4. Include Software Engineer Skills Tailored to the Job
As with the rest of your resume, don’t be generic. Recruiters hate it. They want to see you have the skills needed for this job. Not just any old software development gig. So here’s how to write a software engineer resume skills section that’ll make you the answer to their prayers:
- Read the job ad carefully and make a note of all the skills-related resume keywords you see. Now scan back over your education and work experience sections, note the skills shown there, and think of other relevant examples from your work history and training.
- Use that information to create a master list of your software engineering skills, see which of those match the job requirements, and choose 5–10 to include on your resume.
- Don’t stop there, though. Check your work experience section again. Does it help to back up your skills? If not, consider a rewrite. You need it to strengthen and back up your expertise.
- Remember to include a mix of soft and hard skills. Computer skills, IT skills, and programming languages are obvious choices. But don’t neglect soft skills (like interpersonal communication) over expected software developer skills. It’s well established that soft skills are often overlooked in the tech industry, so make sure you address that need.
Software Engineer Skills for Your Resume
- Time management skills
- Organizational skills
- Communication skills
- Teamwork skills
- Conceptual skills
- Creative thinking skills
- Decision-making skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Leadership skills
- Computer skills
- Project management skills
- Technical skills
- Software development
- App development
- Machine learning
- Agile development methodologies
- Object-oriented programming
- C, C++
Find out more about including skills on your resume: 99 Key Resume Skills: Best List of Examples
5. Add Extra Sections to Your Software Engineer Resume
Your skills section is the last of the “standard” resume sections. But if you want to get noticed, you need to give hiring managers a little something extra.
Think of additional information on your resume as something like an Easter egg. It’s not strictly necessary to make the software function, but it’s a heck of a nice surprise for the user. And if you get your additional sections right, you’ll also give recruiters a pleasant surprise and more reason to interview you!
- Projects on resumes are a great idea for additional sections. Volunteering experience and certifications look great on any resume.
- For candidates with less experience, a hobbies and interests section can work well too. Just keep it relevant and relatable.
Mid-Level Software Engineer Resume Examples: Extra Sections
Find out more: What to Put on a Resume: Good Things to Include
6. Summarize the Best Parts into a Summary or Objective
Now that you’ve reached the end of your resume, it’s time to go back to the start. Your resume summary or objective is the introduction to your resume and should help hook the hiring manager from the outset.
A resume summary statement is for experienced candidates and describes relevant skills, experience, and professional accomplishments. A resume objective statement is for those just starting out and outlines your most relevant skills while stating your career goals. But you can use the same strategy to write both.
Here’s how to start your resume:
- Read over what you’ve written in your resume already. There’s a hint in the name. Your resume summary or objective summarizes your selling points as a candidate.
- Choose 2–3 of your best achievements and skills from your experience and skills sections.
- Use this formula to construct your summary/objective:
Adjective + Job Title + Years of Experience + Achievements + Skills + What You Want to Do for the Employer
Software Engineer Resume Summary Example
Creative software engineer with 8+ years of experience. Eager to join Toggle Switch Inc. to help develop reliable products for e-commerce businesses. Previous accomplishments include increasing code efficiency of J & B’s payments portal by 60% and helping to boost client retention by 55%. Led a team honored with the 2018 Oregon Tech Trends Award for security in cloud computing. An empathetic team player and mentor and an innovative, creative thinker.
That’s the same candidate, yet the difference is night and day. The first example is powerful, energetic, and features stand-out achievements to impress the hiring manager. The second will make them move straight on to the next software engineer resume in a pile.
Resume Objective for Software Developer Example
Passionate software engineering graduate with a hands-on, high-energy approach, well-developed skills in Agile methodology, and an unapologetically user-focused philosophy. Have developed several android and web apps, including a voice-controlled IOT home automation system using Google Assistant and Raspberry Pi.
Seeking work as a software developer to complement my computer science degree. Familiar with common programming languages. Hard-working and reliable.
The first example leaps off the page. Even without much experience, the candidate really shines as a solid prospect. It’s eager and features skills that are very much in demand. The global market for IoT is set to reach $1.6 trillion within the next four years.
The second is just plain lazy; there’s no fizz, nothing compelling at all. That could describe absolutely any recent computer science graduate. And remember, above all else, you need to stand out as the best candidate from the outset.
More experienced candidates could also try writing a summary of qualifications. Find out how to do it here: 20+ Summary of Qualifications Examples for Your Resume
7. Remember to Write a Software Engineer Cover Letter
I’ll be honest with you. Some employers want to see cover letters, and some don’t. Most surveys of employers put the split at 50/50, so it’s always better to write one and cover your bases. If you come across an employer demanding one, it might just be the deciding factor.
Here’s a quick guide on what to include in a cover letter:
- A cover letter complements and enhances your resume. It shouldn’t just be a rehash of what you’ve already written. Include additional information about your achievements to help sell you as a potential employee.
- Make sure you have a cover letter that’s short and to the point. The ideal cover letter length is no more than one page at most.
- Incorporate a hook into your cover letter opening. Grab the hiring manager’s attention and keep them reading with one of your best and most compelling professional achievements.
- Use the middle of your cover letter to add even more proof of your abilities.
- And in your cover letter ending, say thank you and include a call to action. Ask for the chance to discuss the role further and throw in one last tidbit about what you can offer, so they can’t help but want to get in touch.
See more detailed guides here: Software Engineer Cover Letter Examples and Software Developer Cover Letter Examples
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
See more cover letter templates and start writing.
Here’s your tl;dr step-by-step cheat sheet:
- Set up the right resume layout to maximize readability.
- Start with your work experience section, focusing on achievements, not just duties.
- Get your education section right, adding extra details if you lack experience.
- Compile a tailored skills section with a mix of skill types.
- Add relevant extra sections.
- Finish where your resume begins with a snappy summary or objective.
- Throw in a well-written cover letter.
Thanks for reading. You’re ready to write the best software engineer resume. Now it’s your turn to comment.
- What are the biggest challenges of writing a software engineering resume?
- What part is hardest to write?
- Would this guide help you compile a software developer resume, too?
Let me know. Let’s get the discussion started.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Write a Software Engineer Resume
How to write a software engineer/developer resume?
To write a good SDE resume:
- Choose a resume format.
- Write a resume summary.
- Describe your software development work experience.
- Mention your academic background in the education section.
- Add a list of your professional skills.
- Include extra sections for additional information in your resume.
For more tips, check out: What Makes a Good Resume?
How to make a resume for a junior/entry-level software engineer?
A resume for an entry-level software engineer will follow a typical resume structure with minor tweaks:
- Write a resume objective instead of a resume summary.
- Add 1–2 bullet points to your resume under your Education section for prominent academic achievements.
- Include transferable skills in your Skills section.
You can find more tips here: How to Write a Resume With No Experience
How to describe an internship on your resume for a software engineer/developer?
To describe an internship on a resume for a junior software engineer:
- Verify that it’s relevant for the position by studying the job ad.
- Treat it as a regular job and add it to your Work Experience section, stating that you were an intern.
- Add 1–3 bullet points and a key achievement.
You can also provide more details regarding your internship experience in a software engineer cover letter.
If you’re willing to get one, write a resume for a software engineer internship. Here’s how: Software Engineer Internship Resume: Guide & Sample
Should a software engineer resume have a summary?
Yes. A profile summary serves as a resume introduction. It’s a mandatory section that contributes to writing an ATS-friendly resume, and it's something hiring managers expect to see. Think of it as your elevator pitch—a good resume summary will ensure that you get the recruiter’s attention.
What are the top software engineer skills to put on a resume?
In order to decide what skills you should put on a resume as a software developer or engineer, study the position requirements. That will give you a solid foundation and prompt the hard skills that are most relevant. Remember to add some soft skills, too—you’re working with people, after all.
How to mention training in a resume for a software engineer?
Your training can be mentioned in various parts of your resume:
- Mandatory education section of your resume (for a college/university degree).
- Additional sections. You can have a dedicated segment for certifications on your resume, conferences you’ve attended, coursed you’ve completed, programming projects, etc.
How long should a software engineer resume be?
The question may be two-fold:
- As for how long the resume should be: 1 page, 2 for very experienced candidates.
- As for how far back the resume should go (applies to a senior software engineer resume): 10–15 years of relevant experience; you don’t necessarily have to list all the job titles you had.