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Software Engineer Resume Example & Writing Guide

With their talents in such high demand in the face of unstoppable IT employment growth across all sectors, software engineers can afford to be choosy. Still, with no shortage of worthy peer competition, an exceptional resume is no less essential when pursuing the best jobs. This writing guide is loaded with helpful advice, paired with a software engineer resume example you can adapt as you wish.
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Software Engineer Resume Example & Writing Guide
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A software engineer resume is like the user interface for your connection with potential employers or clients. By design, it can be your next ticket to success from a career launchpad aimed at infinitely higher and wider targets all the time. 

For those who recognize the crucial difference between an acceptable and an outstanding job application, Resume.io is continually expanding its collection of practical tips and tools. That now includes more than 350 occupation-specific resume examples and writing guides.

This guide, along with a software engineer resume example, will take you step-by-step through the writing process with insights as follows:

  • What software engineers do and earn, and how their future looks
  • How to write a software engineer resume, including the correct structure and best format
  • Section-by-section advice for crafting your software engineer resume, optimizing the impact of the header, summary, employment history, education, and skills content
  • Professionally engineered resume design and formatting hints

Let’s get started.

What do software engineers do?

Software engineers are highly specialized experts whose analytical and practical abilities equip them for client-directed, solution-focused project management roles. Their knowledge of mathematics, engineering and computer science is applied to the testing, design, development and maintenance of computer software for business and personal use. 

Essentially, software engineers are responsible for creating the systems that make computers operate properly in specific circumstances. From operating systems, computer games and middleware to business applications and network control systems, the types of software they engineer are numerous and diverse. Rapidly evolving breakthroughs in technology and specialty niches are what make the profession so dynamic, with the ongoing onus on software engineers to keep refreshing their knowledge and skills.

Statistical insight

How much do software engineers earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) $120,730 was the median annual wage in May 2021 for software developers (there is no separate data category software engineers, which are grouped together with software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers). For comparison, the average annual software engineer salary posted by Builtin.com is $141,317, while Glassdoor.com puts it at $156,984.

What is the market outlook for software engineers?

BLS projections for software developers (again, software engineers are not classified separately) see market demand increasing by 25% between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the national average. And with a 15% growth forecast in the computer and information technology workforce during the same decade, computer software engineers will have no shortage of job options.

Whether it was astute planning or lucky breaks that landed you on this trajectory in the first place, software engineers can afford to be choosy. Exceptionally lucrative job prospects are on offer as explosive IT growth appears unstoppable. Few occupations are as dynamic or less likely to stagnate from dried-up opportunities. 

Software engineers can pursue opportunities as company employees or independent contractors. They may be courted relentlessly by head-hunters and business leaders in a multitude of burgeoning industries. Beyond the more obvious technology sectors, opportunities are endless in areas from healthcare, automotive manufacturing and green energy to remote sensing, aeronautics and finance. Lucrative positions are available in all manner of government, private and non-profit organizations. 

How to write a software engineer resume

The foundation of your software engineer resume should include the same sections that all resumes have in common:

  • The resume header
  • The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
  • The employment history section
  • The resume skills section
  • The education section.

We’ll go into more detail on each resume part later. But first, a key piece of advice that applies to all resumes, regardless of occupation — customize the tone and content of your resume to the specific employer you’re targeting. There are few things that turn off recruiters more than an obviously copy-pasted, mass-emailed resume. 

Expert tip

Research the employer

The same analytical mindset you adopt as an engineering problem-solver will work in your favor as a job-seeker. Your targeted resume should be a functionally adaptable document, at the ready to change up in a flash.

Use your research skills to investigate everything you can about the job you are applying for. Wherever your firsthand knowledge stops, fill in the blanks about the workplace and people. Especially try to put a name and a face to the hiring manager, and whoever would be your boss and colleagues. Then write your resume as if you are speaking to them in an interview.

Beating Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are used by popular employers to screen supposedly undesirable candidates, sending only the best resumes to human recruiters. This is done based on keywords in your resume.

Seize the opportunity to outshine the savviest of other software engineers whose ATS-busting resumes will be fully loaded with all the same keywords. The more times you scrutinize the job description language the better — often even one word or abbreviation related to a desired skill can be the difference between getting to the interview or not. So, make sure you. Just don’t overstuff your resume with keywords and end up sounding like a robot.

Choosing the best resume format for a software engineer

From an engineer’s analytical and strategic perspective, consider which of these three resume format is the best fit for your job experience.

The most widely used chronological resume format is failsafe if you’ve worked mostly as an employee for one organization at a time. Your progressive job experience, skills and accomplishments are traced under employer headings in reverse chronological order, from most recent to earliest dates. 

But if your job history is more project-based, perhaps in mostly contract positions, then the functional resume format might work well. A functional or hybrid structure can also be useful for highlighting specialized skills or accomplishments, especially if relevant to where your sights are set now.

There is no right or wrong choice, but possibly a better one to bridge your past and future. Again, always think about what each prospective employer expects or should know about your employment history. It’s yet another custom-tailoring strategy.

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Resume header

The header of your software engineer resume should be distinctive enough to set your job application apart from the rest. With no extra effort but double the impact, use the same header design for your resume and cover letter so they look like a matching pair.

The header’s main purpose is to display your identifying information prominently so readers will see it first and can easily retrieve it when contacting you later: your name, occupation/job title, phone number and email. If you have a LinkedIn profile, that should also appear in the header, along with a link to your online portfolio of work samples

Software engineer resume summary

An awesome resume summary — some call it a profile or personal statement — is where you become the envy of every peer who may be vying for the same software engineer job. But that’s not the point. You’re not trying to impress your competitors. The only other IT experts you should care about are those who may have a say on the hiring side, even if it’s not the first or last word on who gets the job.

So first things first. Your resume summary must be flawlessly efficient in capturing attention for longer than the six or seven seconds that studies contend is the worthiness average. 

Limited page space dictates conciseness without selling yourself short. Don’t be shy or unduly modest, but don’t boast or exaggerate either. Let your stellar track record as a software engineer speak for itself. Use clear, precise, descriptive language in a few terse statements. Omitting “I am” or “I have” helps with word economy. So do action verbs such as: equipped, executed, excelled, built  … and, of course,  engineered. Add modifiers that are appropriate but not overblown: proficient, robust, rapid, striking, nimble, agile, solution-focused, innovative and cutting-edge.

Here’s an adaptable software engineer summary example to help you create your own.

Adaptable summary resume sample

Results-driven Software Engineer with a decade of experience offering cutting edge engineering solutions and effectively guiding developer teams. Proven expertise in managing all stages of the software development life cycle. Excellent analytical and problem solving skills to confidently execute software tasks from start to finish. 


Employment history sample

We’ve already covered the resume formatting options, with chronological being the most common way to organize someone’s work experience.

However, this resume section might require some structural decisions you are best qualified to make. Whether it’s your first job change or the latest in a series, or your career path is geared more to consulting opportunities, adaptability and responsiveness are hallmarks of a software engineer’s career. 

Whatever structure you choose, optimize the space you have and maximize the impact through power-packed bullet point statements. Have a master list handy of incisive verbs describing what you’ve done and can do: analyzed, evaluated, created, designed, customized, built, augmented, bridged, spearheaded, streamlined, oversaw, solved, advanced, delivered, applied, debugged, persuaded, negotiated, collaborated, expedited, reconciled. 

Demonstrate tangible outcomes, not duties or responsibilities. Quantify your achievements whenever possible.

Below is the employment history section from our software engineer resume example.

Adaptable employment history resume example

Software Engineer at Revive Inc., Boston
June 2016 - May 2023

  • Defined, developed and implemented guidelines to ensure code quality.
  • Provided troubleshooting support to a 12-member team of developers and engineers.
  • Collaborated with colleagues to deliver innovative advancements, including three award-winning applications.
  • Instrumental in building and improving  tools to improve overall team efficiency by 28%..
  • Mentored and led 17 junior developers, including 12 who were subsequently promoted or recruited by other companies.


Junior Software Engineer at Untold Designs, Boston
June 2013 - April 2016

  • Provided optimal project support to development teams in a 125-employee IT firm.
  • Identified opportunities for product optimization.
  • Built and maintained web application for the accounting platform.
  • Contributed boldly original or pragmatically simple ideas during weekly software design discussions.
  • Problem-solved with various stakeholders.
  • Effectively managed priorities to meet or beat deadlines 96% of the time, often under tight time constraints.

Software engineer resume education example

Off the top in your resume's education section, your college degrees should be listed in reverse chronological order, from highest to lowest level.

The right combination of additional training, certifications and skills development could give you a job-winning edge over other software engineers. Every post-college stride you’ve taken to keep your knowledge and skills current have a place on your resume.

Most software engineers receive on-the-job training as newly hired company employees. Off-the-job training opportunities abound for software engineers throughout their careers, from seminars and international conferences to specialized courses that help keep a pace of new technology.

Statistical insight

Coding bootcamps have grown exponentially since the first program launched in 2011. Schools offer nontraditional pathways into software engineering to meet the demand for quick, intensive programming education outside the traditional university environment. 

Certifications available to software engineers include: Oracle Certified Associate and Oracle Certified Professional (OCA and OCP), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) and Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP).

Professional association memberships also send the right message about taking your software engineer career seriously. Possibilities include Sigsoft, an Association for Computing Machinery interest group for software engineers, and the Transaction Processing Performance Council.

The education section below comes from our software engineer resume example.

Adaptable education resume example

Master of Computer Science, Northeastern University, Boston
September 2014 - May 2016

Bachelor of Software Engineering, Boston College, Boston
September 2012 - May 2014


CV skills example

Regardless of occupation, the skills section serves a vitally important purpose on all CVs. Software engineers will appreciate the elegance and simplicity of making their key strengths impossible for any hiring manager to ignore. 

Zeroing in on what you most want under that person’s nose might be the easiest and fastest part of your resume-writing task. Be sure to include any skills that are stipulated in the advertised job requirements.

But don’t be too offhanded about this golden opportunity to convey that you are a remarkable software engineer, not just average. On each custom-targeted resume you create, reserve your skills list for the shiniest nuggets.

Pay special attention to the soft skills that may set you apart from other candidates. In fact, it’s possible the hard skills you have in common (which, ironically in this occupation, are software-specific skills) might not give you the kind of edge your resume should strive to display. Try brainstorming a master list of skills that you possess in any and all areas. Then - cherry pick the most appropriate ones for the job opening. 

Below is our example of a software engineer resume skills section that you can adapt to your own expertise.

Adaptable skills section resume example
  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Leadership Skills
  • Cybersecurity
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Resume layout and design

Nothing less than a superior-caliber resume document is acceptable for software engineers. As we’ve emphasized before, put yourself in the hiring manager’s chair. Deliver on the expectation of a clean, user-friendly layout that does you justice.

The result should be eye-catching without being flashy or gimmicky. Keep it sleek, streamlined and uncomplicated — inviting at first glance and disappointing no one reading further. And it goes without saying your resume must be character-perfect and bug-free in every other sense. Subject it to multiple beta test runs under anyone scrutiny but your own. Tweak it further each time and do a proofreading reboot.

Expert tip

Fonts and size

Most tech-minded people (IT hiring managers included) widely favor sans-serif fonts popularized by web designers/developers and web-based companies. Fonts like Open Sans, Roboto, Arial, Calibri, Lato, Helvetica and PT Sans will feel right at home in a software engineer resume. Incidentally, most of them can be found in the Google Fonts library or as standard inclusions on PC/Mac systems.

For font size, stick to a range between 10 to 12pts (11 pt is usually the sweet spot for your one-page resume).

While your designing eye could come in handy, we’re guessing you don’t have hours to spend reinventing unbroken wheels. Consider using one of our field-tested resume templates as the simplest and fastest way to achieve professional results. Choose a template you like from one of four style categories  — perhaps a simple or professional design would be most suitable. Then enter your own replacement text using our resume builder tool.

Key takeaways for a software engineer resume

  1. The talents of software engineers are highly sought-after in virtually all industries globally. There are no sunsetting signs on this horizon, only continued explosive growth in IT economies.
  2. It’s essential for software engineers to have a versatile and adaptable resume document for easy updates and tailoring to specific job and employer requirements. Speak the right language in each case, including carefully mined ATS-safe keywords from the job description.
  3. Also think strategically each time about an intuitive resume structure and format that showcases your attributes to best advantage. Emphasize soft skills that might set you apart from your peers with similar technical skills.
  4. The right resume design choices help ensure you come across looking as good as you sound.
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