Software Engineer Resume: Top Tips to Stand Out

Software Engineer Resume: Top Tips to Stand Out

Modis Posted 26 September 2022

With the current uptick in software jobs available (nearly one third of all open positions in the U.S. are for software developers and engineers), plus the high demand for skilled talent in the current marketplace, now is a great time to consider looking for your next software engineering job. The organizations we represent partner with us so we can connect them with the very best software engineers in the marketplace.

We know exactly what they’re searching for and how top tech talent like you can stand out in the crowd. This starts with crafting your professional resume. We’re here to take you step-by-step through what you should, and should not, include when it comes to writing a software engineer resume that will really shine! 

 

What to Include on Your Software Engineer Resume

Your resume should be the highlight reel of your career showcasing your professional experience, skills, education and the projects and recognition you’re most proud of. However, you need to avoid the pitfalls of an overcomplicated long-winded CV. Here are the top areas you should consider covering and the kinds of details you can include:

Education

The education section is often overlooked but this is actually an extremely important area of the resume that can create a great first impression. Why? Because it’s one of the first things a hiring manager looks at. If you’re just entering the field, you may not have a lot of relevant work experience to highlight, so showing off your education, certifications and relevant coursework is imperative. The areas to highlight are:

  1. Degree: The first thing you should mention is the name of the degree you’ve earned and where you got it from. Ex. ‘Master of Science (M.S.) in Computer Science from ABC University’

  2. Dates: This gives a general idea of where you are in your career journey in terms of years of experience. 

  3. Relevant Coursework: This gives you the opportunity to show the classes you’ve taken that are relevant to the job. Because you’re applying for a software engineering role, mention any courses that focused on algorithms, software architecture, programming languages, and machine learning.

Technical Skills

The skills section of your resume is extremely important but you don’t want to overcomplicate it or include too much information. Check the job description and include relevant skills that match what the organization is looking to fill. You’ll most likely want to cover the following:

Computer Programming and Coding

There are a number of computer programming languages, and software engineer job requirements can vary depending on the position you’re applying for. Some include:

  • Java

  • Python

  • C#/.Net

  • Mean

  • Ruby

Object-Oriented Design (OOD) 

There has been a strong push toward programming using object-oriented design which involves planning a system of interacting objects for the purpose of solving a software problem. OOD encompasses four key principles:

  • Abstraction

  • Encapsulation

  • Inheritance

  • Polymorphism

Software Testing and Debugging 

Even though many new cognitive technologies, like AI programs, focus on automated software that tests and debugs, software engineers still need these skills. Software testing and debugging require you to think analytically about how a system is put together and, often, Software Engineers hone this skill over time through on the job experiences.

Projects

The earlier you are in your software engineering career, the more important this section actually is. Because you don’t necessarily have the years of on-the-job experience that other candidates might, this section allows you to highlight the personal projects and open source contributions you’ve made. It’s evidence of initiative and a passion for the field.

If you’re a senior software engineer, your personal projects are much less important. In this case, you would put the employment history section early in your resume and name only projects that are very relevant to the job you’re applying to.

There are a few key pieces of information to mention when you list a project. That includes:

  1. Title and description: Write the name of the project along with the purpose of the application. You can hyperlink to a website if the project has one dedicated to it.

  2. Skills applied: This is where you would list the relevant software engineer skills that came into play when you worked on a particular project along with the tech stack that you used.

Employment History

This is where you highlight your years of experience in the field. Along with verifiable experience, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate that you’ve meaningfully contributed to business outcomes at other companies. You should make sure to quantify the results from the past work that you did and how that impacted the organizations you worked for.

If you’re applying for an entry-level position, include just a couple of your most recent employment opportunities and include this section a bit lower on your resume. More experienced software engineers should include this section higher up, and list each of your previous jobs in reverse-chronological order.

Awards or Recognition

It’s time to toot your own horn. This is your chance to show off a little bit and can also be a great place to catch the hiring manager’s eye. Make sure you take this opportunity to share things like awards from well-known organizations or graduated at the top of a bootcamp class that’s popular.

Be sure to be specific and include details of the “why” behind the award. Did you build an app that solved a unique challenge or take a creative approach to a project that was noteworthy enough to receive recognition? This level of detail will not only show that you go above and beyond but will also give a better idea of what you’re capable of! 

What to Avoid on Your Software Engineer Resume

The best way to go unnoticed when applying for a job is to have a resume that is too long, too difficult to digest or too hard to read! Keep your software engineer resume as short and concise as possible. Here’s what you should avoid and why:

  1. Too many skills and accomplishments: this overwhelms the hiring manager so consider highlighting the top three

  2. Errors: If you make errors on something as important as your resume, you

  3. Poor word choice: this can cause confusion and lesson the impact you’re trying to communicate

  4. Illegible font: if the hiring manager can’t read it, they won’t

  5. Not using the PDF format: anything other than PDF format can display awkwardly depending on the tech and software the hiring manager is using

How to Get You Software Engineer Resume to Stand Out Even More

  1. Read the job description, then read it again. Pull information into your resume that ties directly into the role itself. 

  2. Use short links for any projects or social media profiles you want to share. Short links make things look neater.

  3. Your information section at the top of the resume should be short and sweet. Include your name, general location, phone number and email address.

  4. Use the bullet point! Bullets help call out relevant info and make lists easier to digest.

  5. Use keywords from the job posting like Oracle, MySQL, CSS, JavaScript, SQL Server, PHP, HTML, NET, Apache, Hadoop, Linux, Unix, jQuery, TCP, and others.

Need Help Crafting Your Software Engineer Resume?

We know the market, we know the top organizations hiring talent and we can be your job search partner so you don’t have to walk the career journey alone. We can help you craft a free resume and cover letter that stands out in the applicant pool, get you prepped for the interview with the hiring manager, and beyond that, we’ll ensure you have the info you need to make the right career decisions! Akkodis has a team of experts that will help make your dream job a reality. Take a look at our current open roles or contact us today to get started!

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