What to include on a Software Engineer resume

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What to include on a Software Engineer resume

Whether you’re new to the field of software engineering or you’ve been at this for a few years, having a polished resume is essential before you apply for your next position. The document itself might be compact, but it can take some time to craft if you don’t know where to start.

We’ve pulled together what you need to include on your Software Engineer resume so that you can save some time while writing yours. First, we go over what you need to include. Second, we have some tips if this is your very first Software Engineer resume. Last, we’ll show you where you can find additional resources to prepare for your new job and the interview process.

Why do you need a software engineering resume?

When you’ve had a long career in another field and a resume that is full of experience, you might think that will be enough to land an interview for a new career. But that’s not true, unfortunately. You need a technical resume that’s specifically crafted for the programming, engineering, or development job you are looking to land.

The purpose of a resume is to capture a snapshot of who you are professionally and what skills you have to get you into the “yes” pile of resumes for an interview. Some larger companies use resume scanning programs that look for relevant keywords and specific Software Engineer skills. So, if you’ve recently taken online courses in software engineering, you can highlight those courses as a way to include keywords and skills.  Read our tips on how to list online courses on your resume.

What should go on a software engineer resume?

There are a few key sections that need to be on your Software Engineer resume in order to get noticed by your hiring manager. Let’s take a closer look at what should be included in each section.

Contact information

Include your name, email address, mailing address, any social media handles, and a link to your portfolio if you have one. Keep these details in an easy-to-find spot so the hiring manager can effortlessly find them and get in touch with you, such as at the top or in the top right-hand corner. You could even use icons to draw the reader’s eye to your contact information.

A heading specific to software engineering

Even if you’re just starting out, consider giving yourself an appropriate title to signify you’re serious about being a Software Engineer and working in the field, such as Junior Software Engineer.

Programming skills

If the software engineering position you’re applying for has a specific set of required programming skills and your skills match those requirements, list them out in a section titled “Skills.” Be sure to only put the skills you actually have gained by learning on the job,  taking courses, interning, or teaching yourself. If the job you’re applying for requires web development skills, then be sure to list HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and any applicable libraries you’re familiar with. If the position requires back-end engineering skills, then be sure to also list those, including SQL, Python, and any other specifics.

Job experience

It’s standard to start with your most recent jobs and then move backward in time. If you’re lucky enough to have had a long and illustrious career, then you can pick and choose some of the more relevant experiences you’ve had through the years. But be mindful of too much information as you don’t want to bombard the recruiter with pages and pages of experience. Instead, use bullet points so you get to the facts quickly.

If this is your first job as a Software Engineer, you can still list your experience. But get creative about showing that you can solve problems, work with technology, and succeed in a team environment. It might not have been in the same role, but you can show you’re a reliable team member and great overall employee.

Courses and education

If you have a degree or certificate(s), be sure to list it on your resume. If you’ve earned a certificate, have a professional designation (like Professional Engineer), or have completed online courses, you can include these under the “Education” heading of your resume. There is high demand for Software Engineers, so don’t let your learning path stop you from applying for a job. What matters is that you have the skills — not how you got to the finish line.

What if this is your first Software Engineer job?

If this is the first resume highlighting your skills as a Software Engineer, you may not have a long list of relevant technical experience. That’s perfectly understandable and expected. You’re likely applying for a junior position, meaning your hiring manager will be expecting a Junior Software Engineer resume.

To compensate for not having a long list of jobs in the field, you could substitute in a section detailing your latest programming projects. These could be things you’ve created on your own, work you’ve taken on for free to build your portfolio, or projects that were part of online courses you completed.

You can also include a list of your online courses or certificates. This shows how you filled in any gaps in your knowledge on your own accord, and it’ll help show the recruiter that you have the skills required to be successful in the job.

While it may be your first job as a Software Engineer, you could actually have more skills than are necessary for the one you want. For example, you might have taken courses to be qualified as a Full-Stack Engineer, but the position you’re applying to is a Front-End Engineer (or Web Developer) position. Be sure to carefully select and highlight the skills that apply to the job you’re trying to land so that it’s easy for the hiring manager to see how you’re the right fit.

How to get ready for your Software Engineer interview

Once your Software Engineer resume is complete, it’s time to submit it to the company you’ve been dreaming of working for. Then, the next step is to prepare for the technical interview. It’s much more involved than other interviews because the hiring team needs to determine if you know what you’re talking about, and if you’ll fit in well with their team of developers and engineers.

If you want to learn more about technical interviews and brush up on your software engineering skills, consider our Full-Stack Engineer and Front-End Engineer Career Paths. Both of these Career Paths contain courses on what to expect and how to prepare for a technical interview.