Due to these reasons, finding a new job as a software engineer is competitive stuff but if you pull it off, you can expect a pretty healthy paycheque. Labor statistics in the US show that the average annual salary is around $85,000, with some jobs paying well into the six figures!
These careers consist of a wide range of experience levels and requirements, but ultimately the high salaries result in a very competitive field. This can often make the job-seeking or career change process intimidating and stressful.
Good news – we recognize how stressful this process can be, but we believe we can help you stand out by writing the perfect resume for software engineers! We’ll be breaking down everything you need to write about in your resume to get your dream job, in addition to providing you with a sample software engineer resume, a generalized software engineer template and loads more information to help your job search. Read on to find out more!
Additional Information About Software Engineers
The work expected from you and the annual salary that you can expect to receive greatly depends on your specific position and experience level. Take a look at the following examples to get an idea of the average annual salaries you can expect:
- Software Developer: $72,000
- Software Engineer: $87,000
- Senior Software Engineer: $107,000
Bearing in mind that these salaries are based on averages, you could actually earn more depending on the employer you are looking to work for! Your first steps as a junior developer could earn you as little as $50,000, whilst working as a senior software engineer for a tech giant could earn you as much as $160,000! Take a look at the following employers and the salaries that they offer:
- Software Developer for Quicken Loans: $59,000
- Software Engineer for IBM: $97,000
- Software Engineer for Microsoft Corp: $118,000
- Senior Software Engineer for Google, Inc: $138,000
Software Engineer Resume Examples
Here is an example resume
Dennis J. Gravely
Detail-oriented Software Engineer with 15 years of experience supervising projects of all sizes including planning, documentation, and infrastructural changes to improve programs.
Senior Software Engineer, Amazon
08/05/08 – Present
- Design and assess proof-of-concept prototype applications to demonstrate their purposes.
- Collaboration with members of the development team to identify, fix, and eliminate software bugs.
- Led a team of 25 developers to analyse and reproduce software, from the earliest stages through to completion of tasks.
Bachelor’s in Computer Science
Harvard University (1998-2003)
- Project management
- Performance improvements
- Disaster Recovery Auditing
- UNIX (Sun, HP, AIX)
- Quality and Productivity Improvement
- Software Troubleshooting
This software engineering template should give you plenty to work with, but if you find yourself needing some further guidance then check out our resume examples written by experts in the field!
How to make a Resume for Software Engineer
With career paths being extremely competitive, it is essential that you do everything you can to demonstrate your relevant skills and experience for the job that you are applying for. You will want to make sure that you personalize every resume that you write and that it is not generalized at all.
- Your software engineer resume should include every skill that is relevant to the position
- Keep it personalized – general resumes will be a serious red flag to potential employers
- Ensure that your cover letter demonstrates the reasons that you are applying for this position and the passion that you have as a software engineer.
Expert Tip Applicant tracking system (ATS) software is almost always used to filter out resumes that include irrelevant skills. If you don’t include the relevant skills within your resume, the ATS system can filter out your resume meaning it won’t even be read! Always keep your writing relevant to ensure this never happens to you.
The layout of the Software Engineer Resume
There are many different ways to present your resume layout, but we would highly recommend you go for the ‘reverse chronological’ layout. This means that your most recent experience in the field will be listed first, ensuring the hiring manager reads your most relevant experience first as opposed to your earlier experience.
The structure of the Software Engineer Resume
Your software engineer resume should be one to two pages in length, consisting of programming experience, education, relevant skills in addition to any other information that is relevant to the position.
As we mentioned, the reverse-chronological resume format is usually a good idea as it demonstrates your most recent experience first. However, you may only have experience learning programming languages from their home, in which case they do not have any professional experience.
If you fall under this category, you could consider using the functional structure, meaning you would begin by listing your personal experiences and languages learned throughout your time as a programmer.
Always consider the specific job position that you are applying for before making a decision on your resume structure. Some jobs will require different headings and general structures, so you should consider reading specific software engineer resume samples on our website. You can never check out too many software engineer resume examples!
Start with the Header of the Software Engineer Resume
Possibly the most important part of your resume will be your header. This will be the first thing your hiring manager will see, so always ensure that it is strong, concise and to the point. You should include basic personal information such as your name and contact details in the event of a phone interview, in addition to any relevant websites or online portfolios. Check out the following good and bad examples to get a better idea of how to write your resume header:
Example of a good Software Engineer header
Alma J. King
Example of a bad Software Engineer header
Computer programmer and enthusiast aiming to become a software programmer
House No. 2010 Meadowcrest Lane, Wichita, Kansas, United States of America
It should be pretty obvious which of these headers are good and bad, so study them to ensure you’re writing them correctly. If you find yourself requiring additional examples to make sure you’re on the right track, feel free to navigate to our website and check out a software engineer resume template. We’re sure they will be of assistance to you.
Is a photo required in the Software Engineer Resume?
Never include a photograph on your software engineer resume! Around 80% of US software engineer agencies say they would not even consider looking at a resume that included a photograph. This is because appearance has nothing to do with the skills needed in programming, and can raise questions as to why you would include it in the first place. Overall, avoid – it can look very unprofessional.
Choosing your Software Engineer Title
Writing your software engineer resume title is a great opportunity to give product managers an overview of your skills and experiences in the field. Personalize this section to the specific job you are applying for and avoid generalized details that could leave a negative first impression.
Professional software engineer resume summary
Diligent and hardworking Software Engineer with 10 years’ experience in E-Commerce. Expertise in testing, evaluating and solving issues related to financial services. Specialist in performing inspections, ensuring compliance, and leading teams.
You should definitely consider using the functional structure when it comes to writing your software engineer resume. The reason for this is that software engineering is very much skill based and not everyone has formal experience. If you fall into this category, don’t worry – simply ditch the reverse-chronological structure and focus on your functional experience!
Work Experience in the Software Engineer Resume
Most positions will require some form of work experience, even if it is for software projects that you ran by yourself. It is essential to pay close attention to this section as it’s a great opportunity to show off your job history and experience throughout your career as a software engineer!
Don’t forget that if you don’t have any professional work experience, you should focus on the functional resume structure. This will give you an opportunity to provide information regarding your personal projects and skills – don’t let your lack of professional experience hinder your resume!
Introduction of the Professional Experience section
Your professional experience section should give hiring managers an overview of your experience in the field. You can write about your past jobs as a software engineer, personal professional projects and any other experiences that you deem to be relevant for the job.
Describe your professional experiences on your Software Engineer Resume
When writing about your professional experiences, you should provide information regarding your past employers, start and end dates for the jobs and the skills that were required. For each entry, ensure that you include at least three bullet-points describing your duties and responsibilities for the job.
Examples of professional experiences for a Software Engineer Junior
Junior Software Programmer
Hours worked: 20 hours per week, 2019 – 2021
- Engineered user-friendly software interfaces using C++ to simplify operations.
- Created and developed firmware and implemented finished software on existing systems to assist new digital product promotions.
- Ensuring that installations, tests, and code corrections are performed properly resulted in high-quality final systems.
- Testing was done to determine if the added refinement improved production and extended equipment life.
Examples of work experience for a Senior Software Engineer
Senior Software Engineer and Project Manager
Duties begin/end date: 2005 – 2017
- Worked on a cross-departmental project to develop and refine concepts for new products.
- Evaluation and optimization of hardware and software interconnectivity with engineering team
- Advised on and initiated plans to migrate legacy applications and content to Windows 10
- Implemented integration tests to improve software quality and reliability.
- Assigned responsibility for installing and training social networking software to various departments.
Education Section in the Software Engineer Resume
Software engineer job applications will always benefit from qualifications, so a strong educational history will always be good to add. Don’t panic if you do not have a higher-education degree though as this is not always necessary. Although a computer science degree could give you the edge over other job seekers, it is not essential.
Regardless, always ensure that you use the reverse-chronological format when listing your education to demonstrate your highest level of education to your employers. If you don’t have much educational history in computer science for example, you can use the functional structure to focus on other education such as online courses, a coding bootcamp and other qualifications.
Should you start with education or work experience for a Software Engineers Resume?
Due to the practical nature of software engineering, it is generally a good idea to begin with writing about your work experience. Your potential employers will be much more interested in the projects that you have worked on than your educational history unless they have specified otherwise.
However, if you do not yet have professional work experience as a software engineer then it may be wiser to begin with education before listing personal projects and other relevant experience.
How to properly list your education in a Software Engineer Resume
For any educational experience that you list, ensure that you include details such as the educational institute, the amount of time studied, the subject area and your GPA or grade. However, if you are confident in your skills yet you did not receive a very good grade or GPA, leave this out. You don’t want to put off your hiring managers!
For any online qualifications that are not based in educational institutions, make sure you include information regarding the course, website and legitimacy.
Example of the education section of a Software Engineer Resume
Computer Science and Software Engineering
Years Attended Degree: 2002-2006
This software engineer resume example should provide everything you need to know regarding writing your education section, but if you need a bit more guidance then feel free to take a look at our additional examples on our website!
Skills to put in the Software Engineer Resume
Software engineer careers are highly practical and require a vast range of skills depending on the specific job that you are applying for. You should always include a skills section on your resume dedicated to listing these skills as this will provide assurance to your prospective employer that you are capable of doing the job.
Don’t forget to optimize your resume for the ATS systems, it could bag you more interviews! These systems could automatically filter out your resume if it includes irrelevant skills or doesn’t include skills listed in the job description. Spend plenty of time on this section and you could win over the ATS system to ensure your resume finds itself at the top of the pile!
What are the main skills sought for in a Software Engineer Resume
The skills that a software engineer job will require will depend on the specific position that you are applying for. However, it should be pretty obvious that these jobs will require skills in computing and programming languages, so make sure you list these in your skills section!
Some positions will simply require technical skills such as software programming, whilst others may require soft skills such as liaising with top tech companies and a diverse client base or working within a team. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to include a mixture of both.
Technical skills/Hard Skills for Software Engineers
- Understanding of server-side infrastructure
- Software Testing
- Cybersecurity analysis
- Software Life Cycle Management
Soft Skills for Software Engineers
- Project Management
- Communication within a team
- Highly organized
- Excellent computational vocabulary
- Strong communication skills
- Persistence and patience
- Experience developing web apps
What software engineering skills for a junior?
- System administration
- IT/Web-Based Media Support
- Milestone assessment and achievement
- Testing and debugging
- Information and Technology Solutions
- Apache POI library management
What software engineering skills for a qualified senior?
- Quality and Productivity Improvement
- UNIX (Sun, HP, AIX)
- Object-Oriented Programming
- Windows-Based Environment Programming
- Operational support
- Optimization of software for cost savings
These lists of skills are certainly not exhaustive and include a bit of everything. They will not be specific to the job that you are applying for, so feel free to check out the skills sections of a more specific software engineering position on our resume sample website!
Write the Ideal Resume Hook for a Software Engineer Resume
You should always ensure that your opening resume hook is concise and informative. This is an excellent opportunity to reel a hiring manager in and provide some green flags to get them enthusiastic upon reading your resume. It’s a great opportunity to leave a lasting and positive first impression – let’s take a look at a software engineer resume hook example:
Example of a tagline for a junior Softwar Developer
Junior video game software engineer with more than 2 years experience of fast-paced environments.
Sample tagline for a senior software engineer resume
Motivated senior software engineer and world-class developer in the financial sector
Additional Headings for your Software Engineer Resume
As we have already mentioned, it is absolutely essential that your software engineer resume is personalized to the specific job position that you are applying for. For this reason, it is often necessary to include additional headings on your resume to provide information that cannot be included in other headings.
For example, if you have a range of experience in designing software tools that have been used on professional projects, it would be worth writing an additional heading for this. Furthermore, any voluntary work or personal projects that you have worked on could deserve their own heading. Overall, you should thoroughly read the job description and consider any specific sections that you should include that are not included in this article.
Not every job is the same, so if you think there is a lot of relevant information that deserves it’s own heading, you should absolutely consider doing this. Whilst a standard software engineer resume should not exceed two pages, this limit can be exceeded if various additional headings are provided.
Computer skills and certifications in a Software Engineering Resume
It should be pretty obvious that a software engineer resume will require its own section regarding technical skills and certifications. You should keep this as specific as possible, and avoid general computer skills such as ‘computer literacy’ and ‘familiarity with word processing’ as this should already be assumed.
Examples of computer skills and certifications that you should include are programming languages and how fluent you are in them, online course qualifications, and any other certifications that help validate your expertise in a particular area of programming.
Interests in a Software Engineering Resume
When writing a resume for a job, it is often not the best idea to include a section dedicated to your personal interests. The reason for this is that it can distract a hiring manager from the relevant skills and experiences that are required for the job. Listing interests such as ‘playing football at the weekends’ and ‘practising the guitar’ should absolutely be avoided.
However, due to the variety of software engineer positions out there, a resume in this field may be a perfect example of where an interest section should be included. For example, if you are writing a software engineer resume in the field of video games, it would be a good idea to list your interests in video games. Video game development, and any other interests specifically related such as the genre of games the job concerns.
Another example would be if you are applying for a job in web design. You could list your interests in designing and using specific types of websites, interests in innovating standard features, and any other relevant information.
However, do not get carried away here! Whilst it is often appropriate to include these interests, you absolutely should not include anything that is not relevant to the job. Irrelevant interests could flag up the ATS system, and this could result in your resume from being filtered out. Always review your thought process when it comes to this section – when in doubt, leave it out!
Languages in a Software Engineers Resume
Generally speaking, a software engineer job in the U.S. will require you to be fluent in English. Whilst programming languages are universal and in theory you will not need to speak English, it is highly likely that you will need to communicate with other staff members and clients on a regular basis.
Some software engineer jobs may even require you to speak another language. For any required languages, you will always need to provide evidence of your fluency. For example, for English, IELTS or TOEFL are both acceptable (with a 30-point or higher score).
It will also be appropriate to include evidence of programming language fluency in this section. The job description will usually provide information regarding the level of fluency required in any given language, so ensure that you read this carefully and provide evidence of tests and qualifications relevant to the language. For example, you may need to attach evidence that demonstrates you have expert fluency and understanding in C++, Java or PHP.
Summary: Key Points for Writing a Perfect Software Engineering Resume
We have covered a huge amount of information throughout this guide to writing the perfect resume for a software engineer. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry – feel free to read over the guide as many times as you need. We’ve also prepared the following summary of general pointers that you should not forget when writing any resume – let’s take a look:
- Always follow the general format disclosed in this article! Stick to the headings that we’ve provided and don’t get carried away with additional headings.
- Make sure that your skills section is carefully selected and personalized for the job that you are applying for. Nothing says ‘red flag’ like a list of general and irrelevant skills!
- Never submit a generalized resume. Some people may feel like this is a good way to apply for tons of jobs at once, but your chances of succeeding with that strategy are very slim.
- Always take your time. The job that you are applying for could be your life for the foreseeable future, so the last thing you want to do is rush it!
Most importantly, if you find yourself continuing to struggle with writing your resume, don’t forget to check out a software engineer resume sample on our website to gain some further insight
Write a Software Engineer Cover Letter
Writing a great cover letter is a great way to provide additional information about yourself and your passion for software engineering. Some jobs will require you to submit a cover letter, whilst some will, it will not be essential (however it almost always helps). Cover letter content may not be relevant to the headings suggested within this article, so it’s good to separate it in the form of a one page document.
The document should entail why you are interested in this job, information regarding your passion and work ethic, and anything else that you may consider relevant to the job. Cover letters generally do not go through ATS systems, so you can be a little bit more liberal with keyword usage in this document.
Frequently Asked Questions for Software Engineer Resumes
Let’s finish things up by answering some of the most frequently asked questions when writing your software engineer resume:
What should a software engineer put on their resume?
You should include contact information, relevant experience, skills, education and any other relevant headings on their resume. Keep it relevant and when in doubt, keep it out!
How do you list software engineer skills on a resume?
You should write your skills as a software engineer on your resume in the form of a list consisting of 5 to 10 bullet points. You should do this specifically for technical skills due to the practical nature of software engineer careers, but it’s likely that it will be relevant to include a list of soft skills too!
How do you write software known on a resume?
When it comes to writing about software that you have expertise in on your resume, there are various places you could include this. You could list the software under the soft skills section, or to demonstrate evidence of fluency you could include it on your education, qualification or computer skills heading.