Doing what you love while making hundreds of thousands per year. Working in an office straight out of a sci-fi movie… or at home, wearing your coziest pajamas. Developing software that changes people’s lives for the better.
Being a software engineer is pretty awesome, provided that you get that job.
But how do you stand out in a crowd of approximately 267.6392 software devs competing for one job opening?
Your first step in the job-hunting algorithm is writing a resume. No matter how awesome your GitHub profile is, you still have to impress the non-tech HR people who will judge your worth by your resume.
Fortunately, there’s a tried-and-tested, bug-free method for writing a software developer resume (or a software engineer resume, depending on what job you’re applying to).
This guide will show you:
- A software developer 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 developer resume.
- How to describe your experience on a resume for a software engineer to get any job you want.
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 ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.
Software developer resume made in our builder—See more resume templates here.
Software Developer Resume Template
Larita B. Chappell
Passionate Android software developer with 4 years of experience. Developed and wrote 80% of the code of InHabit, a habit tracker with a 4.5-star rating on Google Play. Eager to join the team at Powergy and contribute to the rich functionality of the Powergy Fitness app.
InHabit, Vancouver, BC
July 2019–March 2022
- Developed and wrote 80% of the code of the InHabit app, a habit tracker with 100,000+ downloads and a 4.5-star Google Play rating
- Collaborated with the design, engineering, and product management team to provide the best possible user experience for InHabit users
- Used Gradle Build Scans and Gradle Profiler to improve build speeds by 30%
Junior Software Developer
KittehKibbles, Toronto, ON
July 2017–July 2019
- Maintained and optimized an e-commerce app, eliminating over 50 bugs
- Implemented three new app functions
- Developed cross-platform compatible solutions for an e-commerce site and app
Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON
- Excelled in coursework on user interfaces and human-computer interaction
- Developed a software solution for managing cat shelters as part of a group project
- Published an article on cloud computing in the campus magazine
- Time management
- Project management
- Agile development methodologies
Your software developer resume can be just as good. Here’s how to write it:
1. Format Your Software Developer Resume Like a Pro
Software developers research and design apps and other software. Sometimes they also oversee the work of other developers. The purpose of your software development resume is to prove that you have the right skills to develop the software your employer wants to see.
But the first thing that your resume has to achieve is… grab the recruiter’s attention and get them to read it. Otherwise, they’ll look at it for 6 seconds or so, and then they’ll move on to the next candidate and forget you existed.
So let’s get started with a resume layout that’s actually easy to read. Here’s how to format your resume:
- Put your contact information in the resume header
- Choose easy-to-read fonts and make sure there’s a lot of white space between the resume sections (otherwise, your resume will look as inviting as a binary file opened in a text editor)
- When writing about your work experience and education, start with your most recent history and move back in time
- Save your resume as a PDF file because DOCX files can look weird when opened on another device (yes, we know that you know this, it’s just a friendly reminder)
Once you’ve got the basic layout figured out, let’s start filling out the sections.
2. Display Your Strengths in Your Software Developer Resume Objective or Resume Summary
The recruiter who’ll be reading your resume is just a human with a tiny attention span and a short-term memory that can only hold a few chunks of information.
So you need to grab their attention with a short, catchy paragraph that explains why you’re the right person for this job and makes them want to read on.
If you’ve got 2+ years of experience in software development, your first paragraph will be a so-called resume summary.
If you’re writing a junior software developer resume, go for a resume objective instead. In it, you show how your skills and personal qualities will help the employer achieve their business goals.
Both resume summaries and resume objectives are around 3–4 sentences long and follow this basic script:
Adjective + Years of experience + Achievements + Skills + What you’re going to do for the employer
Just fill these variables with your own values, and you’re set.
3. Show Your Software Development Experience
Now’s the time for your work experience section. This is where you present the story of your professional growth, starting with your most recent accomplishments and ending with your first successes in the field of software development.
Here’s how to write your work experience section:
- Each entry follows a simple template: job title, company name, dates worked, and up to 6 bullet points
- In the bullet points, describe your measurable achievements rather than duties and responsibilities
- Start each bullet point with a powerful action verb
- Include numbers where possible
- Make sure you list achievements that are relevant to the job offer
But… what if you have no experience yet?
Consider contributing to open source projects or taking part in hackathons before you apply. If you don’t have any measurable, tangible software-related achievements on your resume, recruiters will just move on to the next candidate.
4. Make it Clear Where You Learned to Code
Does the education section of your resume matter, especially given the fact that many skilled software engineers don’t have degrees in computer science?
It definitely does, especially if you’re a junior developer.
First: describing your educational background helps recruiters set you apart from wannabe developers who watch a bunch of coding tutorials on YouTube and then start applying for jobs.
Second: your education section is a great place to include academic achievements and other proof that you’re ready for the job. So, if you’re writing an entry-level software engineer resume, feel free to pepper your education section with bullet points describing your awesome problem-solving skills and academic excellence.
If you’re a senior software developer and your work experience section speaks for itself, keep your education section short and just mention your latest (relevant) degree, the name of the school, and the graduation date.
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.
5. Compile a List of Software Engineer Skills for Your Resume
If you’d make a list of all of your skills, you’d probably come up with 5 pages of bullet points.
But you don’t need to do this. In fact, the skills list on your resume should have somewhere around 8–10 items.
Here’s how to decide which skills you should include:
- Read the job ad and identify all skills-related keywords
- Which of these skills do you have? These are the ones that go on your resume
That wasn’t a difficult decision, was it?
If you need some more inspiration, check out this handy bucket list of skills for your software engineer resume.
Software Developer Resume Skills
- Time management
- Project management
- Agile development methodologies
- Attention to detail
- Troubleshooting software problems
- Self-development skills
- React Native
This list can go on and on because we can’t possibly list every programming language and framework, but you get the idea.
By the way, you can break down the skills list on your resume into several lists: Hard Skills, Soft Skills, and Technical Skills. It depends on how many skills you want to include.
6. Implement Extra Features: Additional Sections for Your Software Engineer Resume
Congratulations, you’ve written the core sections of your resume!
Now’s the time for some extras.
Won a hackathon? Spoke at a conference? Got extra certificates? Eager to share your hobbies and passions? Share this in the extra sections of your resume!
These sections highlight your “additional” achievements and add a personal touch to your resume. Just don’t include anything that’s painfully irrelevant or straight-out weird.
7. Write a Software Developer Cover Letter
Can’t wait to stop writing text and start writing code?
Yeah, we get you. But the writing isn’t over yet.
Many employers automatically reject job applications that don’t have a cover letter attached to them. So just go for the extra effort and write a few hundred words.
Here’s how to write an effective cover letter for a software developer position:
- Use a well-structured cover letter format
- Craft a first paragraph that grabs the reader’s attention
- Prove your worth with examples of measurable achievements
- Show how your skills will contribute to the company’s success
- End your cover letter with a strong call to action
You can find more eye-opening strategies in our cover letter writing guide.
And if you’re concerned that your cover letter might be too short or too long, check out our guide on optimal cover letter length (spoiler alert: 3–4 paragraphs will do it).
Now, after you’ve finished your cover letter, grab a well-deserved coffee and take a break.
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.
Congratulations! Your resume and cover letter are debugged and ready for release.
Do you have tips or thoughts about making an awesome software developer resume? Give us a shout in the comments section!