Whether you're a new software engineer or you've been doing the job for decades, new positions require an excellent software engineer resume. So if you've run across a job listing for a position you're excited about, you need to be sure your resume is the one that makes hiring managers want to know more.
It might seem like a simple step, but many people find resume writing overwhelming. After all, how do you take all your skills and experiences and break them down into a one- to two-page document? It can be challenging – but there are a variety of tips that can make the process a bit simpler.
In this guide, we'll be sharing exactly what you should and shouldn't do when it comes to a software engineer resume. Then, we'll break everything down into parts to make it easy for you to follow along at home. Finally, once you're done reading, you'll have a resume you can send off to software engineering jobs as often as you like.
Example Software Engineer Resume
As you read, we'll provide software engineer resume examples to give you a visual idea of what you are going for. As you'll see below, the best resume for this position will be structured in a specific way, well thought out, and tailored to a particular job description.
Our software engineer resume samples give you an idea of how your resume compares to those of others who may be applying to a job. You can get inspired and make sure the resume you send out is the best that it can be. It also lets you see different formats and styles to determine what works best for your needs.
The sample software developer resume below gives you the big picture of what a software engineer resume should look like. However, there are other options depending on the job you are applying for and how much personality you wish to include in your own document. Use this or other software engineering resume examples to get started.
How to Write a Successful Software Developer Resume: 2023 Software Engineering Resume Guide
There is often a lot to cover when creating software developer resumes. This is especially the case for anyone who has worked in the industry for many years. Even someone coming into the industry from university or another position may have several work experience and education entries to cover.
The best software engineer resume samples will all include several types of information. Some of these include a list of your work in software engineering, where you went to school, and what you bring to the job if you are brought onto the team. Making sure you include all the important sections is a great start.
In general, most people use the same basic software developer resume format. This includes all of the following information:
- Your contact information
- A concise resume objective
- Information about past work experience
- Details about your education
- Abilities and skills relevant to the job
- References that paint you in a positive light
A reverse-chronological resume is often the best choice. It lets you show what you've done at past positions focusing on the most recent and then moving back through time. Write out the details of your current or most recent job and then move to the next most recent one before continuing in.
However, functional resumes or combination resumes can also be used. The first is best for those with minimal work experience, while the second is for those with lots of experience and skills. After you choose the appropriate format, you can move forward.
One more thing to note here is that most companies use an applicant tracking system to process resumes. That means a computer will sift through resumes looking for keywords. We'll get into that more as we move on but keep the job description handy to make sure you include essential words as you write.
Section #1 – Contact Information for Software Engineer Resumes
Now that you've fired up Microsoft Word (or another software of choice), you're ready to get started with the first section of the resume. This is one of the most straightforward sections of your resume and a great way to get you pumped to continue through the more difficult sections.
Short and sweet, the resume's contact information section just lets an employer know who you are. It gives them the means to contact you after reading your resume. You should be able to zip right through this section.
Contact Information Example
As you can see above, the contact information section is simply a tiny area of the resume that explains who you are and how to reach you. Recruiters can quickly glance at your software engineer resume and have the needed information to call you, shoot out an email, or even send documents to your home. All of Wren's information is to the point without any extras that would distract from who she is.
How to Format This Section
Formatting the contact information is easy. You don't need to do anything special. Instead, you want a simple design that provides all the needed information. This includes your name, phone number, and email address in most cases. You can also add your address, but it's not a requirement.
When it comes to adding extras, like a link to your LinkedIn account, it's generally better to avoid it. However, if the employer requests information of that kind, this is where you would place it to be easily accessible.
Section #2 – Penning the Perfect Resume Objective
No matter what programming languages you know or which methodologies you follow, getting a job means catching a hiring manager's attention. The resume objective is where you need to get that done. Most resumes will only be looked at for four or five seconds, so this is essential.
The resume objective states the job you want and what you are capable of. But it needs to do that in a way that sells you as a person and employee. It's an elevator pitch, but in written form, so every word and phrase needs to be thought through – sure to take you to the top of the hiring pile.
Objective Example for Entry Level Software Engineer Resume
A new grad’s software engineer resume will be different from one from a more experienced person. But with a job like this one, you still need to show off your technical skills. This can be more challenging without work experience, but it's far from impossible. You need to think about how your education and work in other areas meet the requirements for the job you want.
For example, maybe you've made APIs, know CSS, and can do HTML in your sleep. Ensure that you include these things if they are relevant for the position you want. Whatever you did in the past that could correspond with a job duty is excellent for building a resume objective that gets some attention.
Objective Example for Mid-Career Software Engineer Resume
Those in a mid-career stage will be able to focus more on things you've done in other data engineer positions. Or, if you're trying to move up, add in the tasks you've had that are the same as those for the new job. One of the reasons that resume objectives should always be personalized is to show you understand the duties of the position.
Your experienced software engineer resume needs to show that you know your stuff and can hit the ground running. You have knowledge and won't need a lot of training to be a valued part of the team. Make sure to focus on what the job requires instead of simply listing off your skills and abilities.
Objective Example for Senior Software Engineer Resume
For a senior software developer resume, things get both easier and more complex. You have many years of experience, so you can quickly type out what you are capable of. However, you may risk being overly verbose or including things that don't matter for a specific position.
Read over the job description carefully and include the things that are most prominent and desired, assuming you have those skills. Then, quantify the work you have done instead of just stating you have the experience. For instance, instead of writing "implemented a system that reduced errors," consider "built a new software system that reduced errors by 15% over three months."
How to Format This Section
The format remains the same no matter what information you want to include in the resume objective. A software engineer resume summary is designed to be highly informative. The problem is that you can't wax on for several paragraphs about what you can do. The other characteristic of a resume objective is that it's short. Try to avoid writing more than four sentences.
Section #3 – Professional Work Experience for Software Developer Resumes
You're ready to land your dream job with a software engineer resume, so you need to consider how you present your past work experience. While the resume objective might get a recruiter interested, the work experience section shows them that you're worth learning more about. Of course, this will vary from job to job, so make sure you update it between submissions.
For those who are students or entry-level, this can be more complicated, but you have to be creative. Talk about past jobs while showcasing any tasks that might be close to those of the new job. This can be supplemented with volunteer information, projects you did on your own, or even classwork.
Using action verbs is recommended, some of which include: Led, maintained, addressed, managed, and prepared. Think through each entry and make sure what you talk about makes sense for the job you want. This gives a hiring manager the knowledge you can handle the job.
Work Experience Example
You can see above that Wren has plenty of work experience and has listed it to show she knows her stuff. It considers what the job description says while appealing to the recruiter by showing her knowledge of all sorts of hard skills. This is the place where you share that you have experience with SQL Servers or other software types. Sell yourself and your experience.
In addition to inserting hard skills, you also want to show that you have soft skills. For example, if you were in charge of any kind of communication at a past job, this is great to include. Other soft skills include problem-solving, leadership, conflict resolution, and teamwork. Look at software developer resume examples to get an idea of the best things to include.
How to Format This Section
Tech companies expect most resumes to have similar formatting. For most people, reverse-chronological is the way to go. Start with the job you have now (or the one you had most recently) and type out the information. Next, add the company, your job title, when you worked there, and what you did. For the last section, bullet points work to prevent a long paragraph while still sharing the needed information.
Section #4 – Education and Other Qualifications
Once you've made it through the work experience section, we're on to another crucial area. This is the education section, and you should show that you have the schooling needed for the job you want. When it comes to hiring managers who oversee the job search, a bachelor's degree is considered standard. However, a master's degree can go even farther for showing you know your stuff.
As you see, Wren has a bachelor's degree in computer science and lists that along with where she went to school and when. For a lot of people, no more information than this is needed. However, recent graduates may wish to add more detail to this section to compensate for their lack of experience in the industry.
For instance, if you want to include extra information, maybe you want to add your excellent GPA to the section. You could share that you took web development courses or graduated with honors. Add any details that show you understand the position but don't go overboard and take too much space.
How to Format This Section
This is less about professional experience and more about relevant skills. Use your project management knowledge to format this section to look great. As with the work experience, it's generally expected to be in reverse-chronological order. So you might list your master's degree you got in 2020, followed by a certification in 2017, and then your bachelor's that you got in 2014.
Section #5 – Skills Related to Software Engineering
You may have noticed we keep referring to the job description, but that's an essential facet of the perfect software engineer resume. If you didn't have a way to add important skills in the sections before this one, they must be included here.
You can see the example above of how software engineering skills fit into a resume for a job you want to get. Of course, you only have so much space to add skills, so make sure you pick the most important ones. But you also need to consider how proficient you are in those skills. If it's something you're only mediocre in, there's probably something better to list.
So, add in your front-end work, ability to work with MySQL, and expertise with PHP if those fit the job you want to land. But as mentioned earlier, don't count out soft skills, either. Adding in one or two of those among a list of technical skills can set you apart from other applicants. You never know when something like this will push you closer to an interview.
How to Format This Section
The skills section is another area that needs to be clean and concise. However, you can take some liberties to add creativity here. While you list your skill set, remember that you also need a bit more information. State how experienced you are in each ability so the employer knows what to expect from you. Depending on the template, the skills section can either go on a side column or toward the bottom of the resume.
Section #6 – References Who Know Your Work
We've made it through several resume sections at this point, and you are getting close to that fantastic software engineering job you want for yourself. However, before you move on to proofreading and saving the resume, you still need to add one more section. This is all about references, especially those who know how you excel in software engineering situations.
You'll see that Wren's resume lists three references. This is reasonably common, but anywhere between three and five is fine. Ensure that each person you add to the list has consented to provide a reference. This can avoid awkward situations and ensure you keep a positive relationship with the people you choose to include.
When you're on a new job hunt, get in touch with the references you use. Make sure you have the correct information for them, so you don't run into any issues later on in the process. In addition, this is an excellent opportunity to catch up with people who are essential to your professional life.
How to Format This Section
For a software engineer job, references matter. So you want to be sure that you format this section in an expected way. This is a simple process, so don't get overwhelmed as we come to the end of this guide. You need to include the name of the reference and where they are employed. That's it.
Instead of listing phone numbers and emails for your references, it's often recommended to include "available on request" instead. This prevents just anyone from accessing the resume and getting in touch with these people. If the hiring manager is ready to hear from these people, you can personally share their contact information.
Other Engineering Resume Templates
Now that you know what a software engineer resume template offers, you can see how it helps you create a beautiful document that gets you interviews. But before you choose this software developer resume template, consider looking at others available on our website.
Some of the resume examples that can be tailored to software engineering positions include:
Once you find the suitable software engineering resume template for your needs, all you need to do is plug in your information. Then, you can be sure the resume looks great while you focus on wording it correctly and ensuring all the needed information is included.
Final Points on Software Engineering Resumes
Tailoring your resume and cover letter for a specific job makes you stand out from anyone who sends the same document to every position. In addition, it shows that you have initiative and take the job searching process seriously. Below are a few additional ways you can create the best resume possible:
- Read your resume aloud and look for areas that don't flow or seem awkward. Then, make edits to those things and try again. Once it's perfect, move on to the next step.
- Look over your software engineering resume to ensure it's professional. In nearly every case, you should use a popular font in a black color against a white background.
- Proofread and proofread once more. Make sure the spacing on the resume is consistent, it's easy to read, and everything is organized well. Consider using Grammarly.com to get a second opinion on things you might miss.
Show that you have the skills needed, and you'll be one step closer to the software engineering job you want. Provided evidence of your skills, education, and work history, and you'll be doing great. With the help of a resume template, you could be getting called in for interviews more quickly than you expect!