How to write a resume that will get you the job you're looking for? This step-by-step guide will show you the best resume examples, and you can write a resume in a few easy steps.
We're about to make a great software engineer resume, but first:
Welcome to your new office. There's your brand new Herman Miller chair. Your SSD laptop with vertical and horizontal monitors. Your business credit card.
Down the hall is a staff kitchen like something from the Zuckerberg mansion. There's free food. Free laundry. Free massages.
Basically, you've nailed a job at a unicorn company.
And it all started with a software engineer resume that stood out like Linus Torvalds.
Now. How can you make that dream a reality?
It's simple. Just show that great company how much they need you.
This guide will demonstrate:
- A software engineering resume example better than 9 out of 10 other resumes.
- How to write a software engineer resume that will land you more interviews.
- Tips and examples of how to put skills and achievements on a software engineer resume.
- How to describe your experience on a resume for a software engineer to get any job you want.
Here's a sample resume for a software engineer made using our resume builder.
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you'll get tips and right vs. wrong examples while writing your resume. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.
Software Engineer Resume Example - See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.
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What's the Best Format for a Software Engineer Resume?
The best example of a software engineer resume is one that gets the interview.
Yet recruiters, and especially those at unicorn companies, spend only six seconds looking at each resume.
That's why you must use a resume format that grabs on like a LogMeIn connection and doesn't let go.
Use the reverse-chronological layout. It front-loads your strengths, showing all your best moments at a glance.
To make it really pop, use clear, legible fonts and plenty of white space.
Finally, save your software developer resume in PDF format. That'll keep your layout intact as it travels through cyberspace.
Pro Tip: PDFs are the way to go unless they conflict with the company's Applicant Tracking System. How can you know? Check the job listing.
Not completely sold on the reverse-chronological resume format? See our guide: 3 Resume Formats: How to Choose the Best One [Examples]
How to Write a Resume Summary or Resume Objective
Many career experts say, "When writing a software engineer resume, don't use a resume summary or objective statement."
Those career experts are wrong.
A generic summary or objective will make recruiters yawn.
But a good one will grab hiring managers like a sudo command.
Use a resume summary if you've got lots of experience.
Use a resume objective if you're a new graduate or you're switching careers.
Let's start with the resume summary for a software developer. It's a highlights reel of your best shining moments.
But there's a right way and a wrong way to do it.
Two Senior Software Engineer Resume Summary Examples
Look at the two very different software engineer resume examples below:
Okay, it sounds impressive. But it's got a fatal error. It's just like all the others. No wonder career experts say to avoid it!
Now try this short sample, from a much better software developer resume:
Results-Focused Software Engineer
Energetic software engineer with 7+ years experience developing robust code for high-volume businesses. Increased code-efficiency of XYZ Corp customer portal by 55%. Boosted customer retention by 25%. Spearheaded a team that won the 2016 BOSSIE Award for cloud computing. An enthusiastic team player and deep creative thinker.
Wow, right? So do you need to win a BOSSIE to get the job? No. Just sift through your past and find those glowing moments that scream, "Hire this genius!"
Start with a deep, brainstormed file of all your "selling points." Then, when writing your software engineer resume summary section, use the 3 or 4 that match the job description.
Our resume builder (you can create your resume here) will give you tips and examples on how to write your resume summary or any other section. You can easily copy them straight into your resume - it will save you a ton of time.
Inside Zety's resume builder you will find tips and examples for your resume.
How to Write a Resume Objective for an Entry Level Software Engineer
Maybe your work experience is as thin as a healthcare company firewall. Don't sweat it. Use a resume objective. It's the way to go for fresh graduates or those looking for a new niche.
Use these two very different software engineer resumes as a starting point:
Two Entry Level Computer Science Resume Examples
Looking for a job as a software engineer because I've got a degree in it, I have studied 23 programming languages like everyone else, and I'm extremely good, trust me.
That's not a resume objective statement. It's a one-way ticket to the recycle bin. Now of course you won't do that, but if you don't get really specific, that's how it'll read.
Think measurable details like in the software developer resume objective below:
Team player software engineer with a can-do attitude, phenomenal time management skills, and a strong user focus. Has developed several web and mobile apps, including a home security system using Raspberry Pi and a webcam.
Wow, right? Specific. But the real key here is whether those strong points match the job description. If not, flat tire.
But what if you don't have even that much experience? I'll explain the fix for that in a minute.
Pro Tip: Your resume objective or resume summary is the icing on your job search cake. Write it last, and include the best bits from the rest of your resume.
Still fuzzy on how to write a professional resume summary or objective for a software engineer resume? See the computer science resume template at the top of this article. Or see our guides: "How To Write A Resume Summary: 21 Best Examples You Will See" AND "+20 Resume Objective Examples - Use Them on Your Resume (Tips)"
How to Describe Your Software Engineer Experience
Let's circle back to our unicorn company job. The one with lots of breaks and free Fitbits and a complimentary Kinesis keyboard.
How much do you think experience matters to that company?
If you said, "A lot," gold star.
That's why your software engineer resume's experience section needs to sing your programming experience from the rooftops.
Put your most recent work first. Showcase 4-5 wins and responsibilities that fit the job offer.
Glance at the senior software developer resume samples below. They're for a job opening that values leadership, production, file management, and security.
Senior Software Engineer Resume Examples
Senior Software Engineer
July 2015 - July 2017
See that? The candidate used her experience section to prove she fits the job like a glove. She also used great action words to do it.
Now look at another senior software engineering resume example.
Senior Software Engineer
July 2015 - July 2017
Can you see the problem with that software engineer resume sample? It's generic. No achievements.
Yet this is the same person and the same job. In the second resume objective example, she just hasn't figured out the hack yet!
What if You Don't Have Experience?
If you lack experience, don't fret.
It's actually pretty easy to get some.
You can do free projects for small businesses. You can contribute to open source projects. You can even come up with your own coding activities at home.
Maybe you've designed a home security app for your apartment. To you it was all in fun. But it might make a hiring manager say, "This kid has drive."
Which of the two junior software engineer resume samples below look more impressive?
Freelance Software Engineer
June 2016 - present
Freelance Software Engineer
June 2016 - present
Pro Tip: Don't lie. If you brag about a skill or experience in your resume, then can't demonstrate it in the interview, you're toast. Talk up only those strengths you can prove.
Make your professional software developer resume even better with action words. See our guide: "+80 Examples of Resume Action Words for Every Profession"
Is Your Education Section Underperforming? It Might Be
Unless you went to Harvard or got a 4.0, your education section doesn't matter.
That's absolutely false.
Your education section doesn't matter if you make it generic.
The education section of your computer engineering resume can be the thing that gets you hired.
Start off with the basics:
- College Name and Location.
- Years in School.
The magic happens when you add your list of college "wins." Just like with work experience, make a master list of your achievements first.
Then, pick those 4-6 items that best fit the job description.
Can you spot the difference between these two software developer resume samples?
Two Java Developer Resume Examples
2012-2015 BA, Software Engineering
University of Washington Bothell
As generic as a no-name box of noodles. It could be anyone.
Now clap your eyes on a software developer resume example that grabs the recruiter by the eyeballs:
2012-2015 BA, Software Engineering
University of Washington Bothell
That second software engineering resume example stands out like red-font annotation.
The point here isn't that you should go back in time and do all those the activities. It's that you probably already have an impressive list and you just aren't using it.
See the computer science resume template at the top of this article for an example.
Pro Tip: Need help tailoring your software developer resume to the job description? See this great guide on how to tailor a resume any job offer.
For advice to make your software engineer resume jump out like a neon pop-up window, see our guide: "How to Put Your Education on a Resume [Tips & Examples]"
How to Put Skills on a Resume for a Software Engineer
Picture you're a hiring manager.
You've got a folder with 250+ junior software engineer resumes.
Do you read every one?
No. You don't.
Like Tony Stark hunting a needle in a haystack, you use a magnet.
In this case, that's an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
It sends the 75 resumes with the right keywords to another folder, which you read. The others go to folder #2.
Stay out of folder #2.
Don't worry. I'm going to show you how to pick the right software engineer resume skills keywords to get you hired.
First, build your master list of every skill you have. Soft skills, hard skills, any skills at all. You'll refer to it for every software developer resume you make, so spend a little time on it.
Start with the sample resume keywords list below, then brainstorm your own. Look at other job offers online for inspiration too.
|"Soft" Skills||"Hard" Skills||Languages|
|Creative Thinking||Web Development||Java|
|Communication||Open Source Experience||C#|
|Critical Thinking||Coding||Java Script|
Next, read the job offer. From a LinkedIn job description, we pulled the following skills keywords:
Problem analysis, problem solving, distributed systems knowledge, Java, Java debugging, troubleshooting, open source knowledge, interpersonal, self-motivated.
Last, match the skills you truly have with the skills list from the job description. But don't just list them.
Prove them on your software developer resume by weaving them into your experience and education sections.
Example of Skills on a Software Engineer Resume
Here's how to put skills on a software engineer resume.
Let's say you're applying for a job at Airbnb. It values teamwork, building full stack applications, creative thinking, data storage skills, and Java.
So, include those in your skills section, experience section, and education section, like this:
- Skilled in teamwork, leadership, creative thinking.
- Adept at data structures, problem solving, end-to-end coding.
- Passion for Java, SQL.
- Collaborated with multiple teams daily to build full stack applications for dozens of clients.
- Used Java and SQL to build data storage solutions for several high-volume businesses.
- Spearheaded the company idea generation program. Improved efficiency in software development life cycle by 38%.
- Heavy concentration in data structures, Java, SQL.
- Organized the university hackathon in two consecutive years.
- Built a mock customer service webapp for a Senior Scholar project.
See how the software engineer resume examples above paint a picture of a candidate who fills the bill like Larry Page or Bjarne Stroustrup?
Finally, there's no need to fudge your skills. Find honest ways to show you've got the right stuff for the job. Otherwise you may get tripped up in the interview.
Pro Tip: Once build a master skills list, you can start your own collection of software engineer resume templates that fit different skill sets.
To make your computer engineering resume skills section crackle, follow the resume template at the top of this article. Also, see this guide: "+30 Best Examples of What Skills to Put on a Resume (Proven Tips)"
How to Add Other Sections for an Effective Resume
Got awards, accolades, or certifications and want to put them in your resume?
Add another section.
Call it projects, awards, accolades, hobbies, or whatever seems to fit.
Add only those things that'll make a hiring manager whistle like R2D2.
Look at the examples below from two distinct software engineer resumes:
The activities in the first example will make a recruiter say, "She's passionate. I bet she'll bring that passion to our company."
Why You Need an Online Portfolio
If you make a good enough resume, recruiters will weed-whack a path to your front steps.
In fact, as G.I. Joe might say, making a great software engineer resume is only half the battle.
The other half is using it to point to good examples of your work.
That's why you need a solid online portfolio.
Pro Tip: Use your online portfolio to show off all your projects, then link specifically to the ones that make the most sense for the job offer at hand.
Want to show off your personality in a "hobbies" section? See our guide: "+20 Best Examples of Hobbies & Interests To Put on a Resume (5 Tips)"
How About a Cover Letter for a Software Engineer?
Nobody writes cover letters anymore, right?
That's true. If you're talking about the ones who don't get hired.
A cover letter is the short version of your resume. It tells recruiters whether you're worth looking at.
Without a cover letter, nearly half of all recruiters will pass by your professional software engineer resume without a second look.
Here are a couple tips to nail it:
- Use the recruiter's name.
- Mention a detail you like about the company.
- Show how you can help the company.
For that last part, look at the sample below, from a cover letter from a software developer resume. The position values leadership, communication, and Java programming.
- Spearheaded development for a suite of high-volume services in Java.
- Deployed multiple operating services on Linux.
- Received a JAX Innovation Award for Java programming, 2014.
- Implemented pair programming company-wide for a fast-paced development firm. Increased efficiency 35% for all software engineers.
Pro Tip: After you send in your resume and cover letter, follow up! A quick email or phone call can make all the difference. Use findthat.email to dig up missing contact info.
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:
Need more tips to help you craft a stellar cover letter for your software engineer resume? Check out our guide: "Software Engineer Cover Letter: Sample & Step-by-step Guide [15+ Examples]"
How to Add Contact Info to Your Resume
It's easy to add contact info to a software engineer resume. Isn't it?
Not at all.
First add the basics:
- Full Name
- Updated Phone Number
- Professional Email Address
Tabitha Hirvanen, TabithaHirvanen@gmail.com - 773-457-2703
2053 Cherry Camp Road
But also include links to your LinkedIn profile and personal portfolio.
Pro Tip: Make your LinkedIn presence sing by following the steps in our guide to fixing up your LinkedIn profile.
Need more tips to craft a killer resume for a software engineer? Check out our guide: "How to Make a Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide (+30 Examples)"
To make a perfect software engineer resume, keep this in mind:
- Tailor your software engineer resume to fit each job opening.
- Fit your experience, skills, and education sections to the job description. Choose measurable, memorable wins from each job, and from your education.
- Make an online portfolio, and link to it from your resume. An online portfolio lets interested recruiters take the next step on their own. That's true whether you're a junior freelance software developer, or you're writing a resume for a systems engineer position.
Do you have tips or thoughts about making a great professional software engineer resume? Give us a shout in the comments section!