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Written by Debbie BrideDebbie Bride

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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Software Engineer Resume Example

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. 

How does a resume get you an interview? By presenting a clear story of success.

When you meet with clients, you discern what it is they need and repeat it back to them to create a first impression that you are an active listener who can deliver what they need. A software engineer's resume performs the same function during your job hunt. Demonstrating that you can solve your prospective employer’s problems programs you for success.

Resume guide for a software engineer resume

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 500 occupation-specific resume examples and writing guides, plus a resume builder.

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

  • 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
  • What software engineers earn, and how their future looks

Let’s get started.

How to write a software engineer resume

Software engineering requires adherence to structure, and so does any resume for a software engineer. The following are the elements to include:

Your resume is designed with one purpose in mind, to answer the question, “Why should I interview you?” To accomplish that, you need to gather as much information as possible about the role, the company, its IT systems and its culture. Then, you can speak directly about how you will fit into the team and what contributions you will make. 

Here are the fundamental tenets to remember as you compile your software engineer resume:

  • A work history bullet item illustrating an achievement is much more compelling than one that names a responsibility.
  • Speak directly to the job for which you are applying. In other words, target your audience by personalizing every application.
  • Reflect on your professional personality in the content and design of your software engineering resume.

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. 

Expert tip

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.

How do you add keywords without sounding fake? Aside from your skills section, where you can simply list the attributes from the job listing, consider inserting phrases into both your summary and work history sections. 

Here are software engineer resume examples that include specific desired traits from a job listing:

Summary sentence: Software engineer with 5+ years of experience in object-oriented design, TypeScript, and C++.

Work history bullet item:  Created website for appliance repair company using React and Redux

Choosing the best resume format for a software engineer

From an engineer’s analytical and strategic perspective, consider which of these three resume formats 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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Use your header to include contact information

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.

Leave out any information about your private life, such as your marital status or identifying numbers, that could lead to identity theft. Do not include a photograph. HR personnel are sensitive to any potential for bias in hiring.

Do

Theodore Martin

Software engineer

[email protected]

(617) 781-3542

www.tmartin.com

Boston, MA

Don't

Theodore Martin

Geek extraordinaire

[email protected]

(617) 781-3542

www.tmartin.com

Boston, MA

Make use of a summary

An awesome software engineer 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.

Not sure how to put your software engineer resume together? Have a look at these related IT resume samples below: entry-level software engineer resume sample, senior software engineer resume sample, software developer resume sample, computer science resume sample, web developer resume sample, or programmer resume sample.

You can find adaptable software engineer resume example summaries below:

Entry-level adaptable resume summary/profile example

Newly-minted software engineer with dual degrees in computer engineering and mathematics ready to apply analytical capabilities to real business problems in a collaborative setting. Hands-on experience in Microsoft SQL Server, JavaScript and Python. Adaptable and dependable team player.

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Mid-level adaptable resume summary/profile example

 Business-focused software engineer with 5 years of experience designing, developing and deploying state-of-the-art solutions. Communicative mentor of junior team members and collaborator with cross-functional teams specializing in full-stack development. Committed to continued professional development to stay current in this ever-evolving field.

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Senior-level adaptable resume summary/profile example

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.

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Compile your software engineer work history: manage your workflow

We’ve already covered the options for formatting a resume for a software engineer, with reverse chronological order 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 toward 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.
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Curate a list of the key skills that make you an exemplary software engineer

Regardless of your occupation, the skills section serves a vitally important purpose on all resumes. Software engineers will appreciate the elegance and simplicity of making their key strengths impossible for any hiring manager to ignore by highlighting them in a carefully considered list. 

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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But don’t stop at your skills list! Your entire software engineer resume should be infused with the attributes that make you great at your job. Consider illustrating:

  • Critical thinking with an example of a thorny development problem you solved and what tools you used to do so.
  • Cybersecurity expertise by explaining how you thwarted an attempted attack.
  • Programming talent with a description of software you engineered and the tools you used.
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Detail your education & relevant software engineering certifications

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 has 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 example for education and certifications

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

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

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Choose the right layout and design for a software engineer resume

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's 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.

Software engineer job market and outlook

BLS projections for software developers (again, software engineers are not classified separately) see market demand increasing by 25% between 2022 and 2032, much faster than the national average. And with 377,500 more jobs 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. 

What type of salary can you expect in software engineering 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) $127,260 was the median annual wage in May 2022 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 $136,295 in 2024, while Glassdoor.com puts base pay at $154,397. Salaries range from $72,401-$182,129.

Key takeaways for building 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, found within the resume builder, help ensure you come across looking as good as you sound and get you into the job market faster.
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