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Written by Emily StokerEmily Stoker

Software Engineer cover letter example

Your cover letter is about putting your experience as a software engineer into a language the hiring manager will understand. If you’re struggling with this important element of your job application, we’re here to help you crack the code!
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Software Engineer cover letter example
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Just like a well-written project, your software engineer job application needs to include the right elements. Your software engineer cover letter — unlike your CV — is a place to explore the details of why your profile responds to the hiring manager’s needs for this role. 

As any software engineer knows, a strong software product will combine creativity and strategic problem-solving. Both skills are used in planning the perfect software engineer cover letter. However, if your comfort zone is reserved for project planning and coding, we’re here to help you craft the perfect letter.  

This guide will show you how to make it clear through your writing that your experience and work approach go above and beyond what the prospective employer needs for this software engineer role. With reference to a software engineer cover letter example, we'll discuss the following topics:

  • How to choose the best cover letter format and what paragraphs the cover letter should include
  • How to maximize the effect of each cover letter paragraph (header, greeting, intro, body and conclusion)
  • Writing a cover letter with no experience as a software engineer
  • What mistakes to avoid when writing your software engineer cover letter.

If, by the end, you’re still looking for an agile way to tell your software engineer story, then our library of occupation-specific cover letter examples and writing guides should help to do the trick.

How to write a cover letter
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How to write a cover letter

An effective cover letter acts as a complement to your CV by adding some much-needed personality, highlighting your fit within the specific role, and setting the tone for your interview.

Best format for a software engineer cover letter

Before you start writing your software engineer cover letter example, it’s important to crack the code on how you will structure it. A solid software engineer cover letter format will make the difference between being able to clearly understand the development of your professional skills and getting lost in the details. 

As a foundation, the format of a software engineer cover letter should contain the following elements:

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting/salutation
  • The cover letter introduction
  • The middle paragraphs (body of the letter)
  • The ending paragraph of your cover letter (conclusion and call-to-action)
Cover letter format: the best formatting tips for cover letters
Related article
Cover letter format: the best formatting tips for cover letters

When you have a blank page that you need to fill with your career story, the cover letter format choices that you make can be as important as the words that you choose. We hope that our cover letter formatting tips will help you to create a structure for your job search sales pitch that is impactful and memorable.

The overall aim of your cover letter is to give a level of insight into the skills, experience, and personal philosophy that your CV doesn’t allow you to explore. Consider what makes you a great fit for this job, and decode it for hiring managers. Now it’s time to present that in the form of a story that they can understand — your software engineer cover letter.

Below is the software engineer cover letter example we will refer to in this guide.

Adaptable cover letter sample

September 16, 2023

Dear Mrs. Bates,

Having worked for the past 10 years in both finance and technology as a software engineer. I am applying for the role of senior software engineer at the Bank of Manchester’s new incubator. I believe my mix of skills in both start-up and corporate environments would be an excellent fit.

After receiving a distinction in my MSc in Computer Science, I started as a junior software engineer at Norman & Wells Bank. Here I learnt the importance of working within the confines of complex procedures that are already established. My role required collaborative problem-solving to improve the bank’s existing API for processing bill payments and other datasets. My other key responsibilities included testing and monitoring the continued functionality of our compliance systems.

A key project highlight during my time at Norman & Wells was my contribution to the creation of the bank’s first USSD application. Due to the absence of our project manager and reduced human resources, I stepped up to coordinate the product testing. This resulted in the early completion of all of our deadlines, saving 5% of the total budget.

After working in a corporate environment, I have spent the last seven years in the tech start-up, Traction. I joined the company at its inception and was the first software engineer hired. Therefore, I have plenty of experience in the architecture, coding, and scaling of platforms. I am experienced in languages including Java, Python, Net, C++, Ruby, and VUE.

Notably, I worked one-on-one with the lead of the data science team in order to design our platform’s pricing system. This required a lot of autonomous work and ultimately resulted in one of our current product’s core pillars. As well as being praised by our CTO for the system’s simplicity, seven years later the project is used as a case study for my effective implementation of agile project management.

I know how important both corporate experience and innovative thinking are when building a team like yours. I hope you’ll agree that I would be an excellent fit for the new department and I hope to speak with you in an interview soon.

Sincerely,

Mark Harris

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Cover letter header

Before anything else, start your cover letter with a strong cover letter header. Located at the top of the document, or partly down one side, it should include all of the details the hiring manager will need to get in touch with you quickly. Insert your name, occupation title, email address, and telephone number. If you have a LinkedIn profile and/or an online portfolio of project samples, be sure to include the URL here also.

You want to keep it simple for the hiring manager to easily see when viewing your application and contacting you for an interview. Plus, a well-designed header will you stand out by differentiating your cover letter from the pile of applications from other software engineers.

Aim of the cover letter header: To distinguish yourself from other job applicants with a “personal signature” that is easily seen when hiring managers want to contact you for an interview.

Expert tip

A smooth user experience

As a software engineer, you are a champion of user experience (UX). So, it pays to take a moment to consider how your cover letter will be read. 

Marketing expert and psychologist Nick Kolenda says that for digital reading, serif fonts win. If, however, you’re planning on printing your cover letter, consider a sans serif font.

Cover letter greeting

As a software engineer, you’re no stranger to the importance of language. The same is true when writing your cover letter. There’s a time and a place for different greetings, but you want to make sure that your cover letter makes a strong first impression. 

With that in mind, it’s important to keep things formal. It is recommended to use “Dear <Mr.><Ms.><Dr.> Surname" as your default greeting. Make sure you spend a few extra minutes working out who is most likely to be reading your cover letter. This may involve some searching online or even calling the employer's office to ask.  

The extra effort will be sure to help you to stand out from other software engineers thanks to your initiative. People like to feel important, and this nice touch adds a personable tone while remaining professional.

If you are unable to identify any individual by name, address your letter to the most appropriate position title or group name. Something along the lines of “Dear Software Engineering Hiring Manager” or “Dear IT Team” would be fine. Avoid using either of these outdated, impersonal greetings: “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”

Aim of the cover letter greeting: Strike the right personal and professional tone by addressing your letter directly to the most likely recipient (preferably a hiring decision-maker) by name.

Cover letter introduction

The opening paragraph of your software engineering cover letter is arguably the most important one. This is the place where you need to hook the hiring manager into reading more. In short, it should be a brief summary of why you are applying and are the right person for this position. Sufficiently intrigued hiring managers will be compelled to delve deeper into the rest of the letter.

For instance, if you have already specialised as a software engineer in this industry, this important detail belongs in the opening paragraph. It hints that you will go on to explain why your expertise is relevant. It’s a strong way to make a case for your application’s strength without using too many words. 

However, don’t be put off if you lack such a simple go-to for leading off with. There are other approaches you can take in the introduction, such as focusing on your personal interest in what the company does, or why you think that your working philosophies align. The rest of the paragraphs in your cover letter example will allow you to expand on why you’re the software engineer for the job. 

If you’re struggling, consider writing this section last. That way you will have a clearer idea of the story you have built through the rest of your software engineer cover letter. 

Aim of the cover letter introduction: Capture the reader’s attention with the start of a powerful case for being hired.

Check out this software engineer cover letter greeting and introduction for an idea of how to approach yours. 

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Dear Mrs. Bates,

Having worked for the past 10 years in both finance and technology as a software engineer. I am applying for the role of senior software engineer at the Bank of Manchester’s new incubator. I believe my mix of skills in both start-up and corporate environments would be an excellent fit.

Copied!

Cover letter middle part (body)

The middle paragraphs of cover letters are where things really start to take shape. For ideas on what to include, go over the job ad. Highlight several of the skills or behaviours the employer hopes to find in the ideal software engineer and build your strategy from there. 

From the keywords and skills you’ve highlighted, cite experiences from your work history to illustrate. Take your time to pick these examples. They should concisely explain how the projects or training have equipped you to deal with the challenges this software engineer role will likely involve. 

The way in which you communicate these stories can tell the hiring manager a lot about what you might be like to work with. So don’t be afraid to rework an example a couple of times before it turns into a succinct paragraph that communicates the most important points.

If you’re struggling to find things to say about yourself, don’t despair. You can always turn some of the impressive bullet points from your software engineer into a longer anecdote to explain fully what made it so impressive. Just be sure never to replicate your CV content.

Expert tip

Data to support your conclusion

Adding numbers that support your claims of your key strengths and successes can help to paint a strong picture of your value in the hiring manager’s mind.

Statistics, sums of money, or dates can quantify your success as a software engineer in a language the hiring manager understands.

Aim of the cover letter middle part: Elaborate on the hiring case you made in the cover letter introduction, including relevant and relatable examples of your experience and accomplishments.

The body of our software engineer cover letter sample below shows some ways to follow our advice.

Adaptable cover letter middle part example

After receiving a distinction in my MSc in Computer Science, I started as a junior software engineer at Norman & Wells Bank. Here I learnt the importance of working within the confines of complex procedures that are already established. My role required collaborative problem-solving to improve the bank’s existing API for processing bill payments and other datasets. My other key responsibilities included testing and monitoring the continued functionality of our compliance systems.

A key project highlight during my time at Norman & Wells was my contribution to the creation of the bank’s first USSD application. Due to the absence of our project manager and reduced human resources, I stepped up to coordinate the product testing. This resulted in the early completion of all of our deadlines, saving 5% of the total budget.

After working in a corporate environment, I have spent the last seven years in the tech start-up, Traction. I joined the company at its inception and was the first software engineer hired. Therefore, I have plenty of experience in the architecture, coding, and scaling of platforms. I am experienced in languages including Java, Python, Net, C++, Ruby, and VUE.

Notably, I worked one-on-one with the lead of the data science team in order to design our platform’s pricing system. This required a lot of autonomous work and ultimately resulted in one of our current product’s core pillars. As well as being praised by our CTO for the system’s simplicity, seven years later the project is used as a case study for my effective implementation of agile project management.

Copied!

How to close a software engineer cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

The final lines of your cover letter sample might be the last thing that a hiring manager reads about you before ultimately deciding whether to invite you for an interview. Therefore, you should take a moment to consider a strong closing line. 

Like your introduction, the closing paragraph should be short. Remind the hiring manager why the content of your cover letter successfully delivered on the promise you made in that opening paragraph. That is, why you are the software engineer for the job.

Inject some enthusiasm into your cover letter closing, too. Most important, you need a call to action, encouraging recruiters to respond with an interview invitation or any questions that they may have. 

Finally, maintain that opening level of formality when you sign off.  Use a phrase like “Sincerely” or "Best regards," followed by your full name. 

Now it’s time to exercise some patience while waiting to see whether you will be invited to interview.

Aim of the cover letter closing: End on a confident note with a reminder of why you’re the best candidate and a call to action on the part of duly impressed recruiters.

Here is the conclusion and sign-off from our software engineer cover letter example.

Adaptable cover letter conclusion and sign-off example

I know how important both corporate experience and innovative thinking are when building a team like yours. I hope you’ll agree that I would be an excellent fit for the new department and I hope to speak with you in an interview soon.

Sincerely,

Mark Harris

Copied!

Software engineer cover letter with no experience

If you are new to the profession or making a side-step into becoming a software engineer from another profession, then you may be feeling overwhelmed. The good news is that others have successfully made this jump before you, and there are ways to frame your unique profile to your advantage. 

Since you’ll be lacking examples of previous software engineer experience, think about your working philosophy. Is there a reason why you think it’s a great fit for the work culture of the company you are applying to? A great work ethic and willingness to learn could take you further than you might think. 

However, you may have stronger work examples to talk about than you think. Work experience, internships, or school projects offer great material to highlight your skills as a software engineer. Personal projects are a great way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the profession. However, if this point continues to cause you anxiety, check out our full guide on writing a cover letter with no experience now.

Common cover letter mistakes to avoid

One mistake is all it takes to take the shine off a perfectly polished cover letter. These are some precautions to avoid common errors.

  • Always customise your letter to match each job application. Mass-mailing a generic letter is never a good idea, essentially worse than omitting a cover letter altogether.
  • Spelling and grammar: It’s not enough to run your cover letter through Grammarly to catch mistakes. Always ask someone else to give it a read-through, before and after you make the necessary corrections.
  • Don’t shy away from personality, passion and purpose in your cover letter. Keep the tone conversational, not unnaturally formal or bureaucratic.
  • Keep the look professional. Strive to make sure your cover letter looks as good as it reads, with regard to design and formatting details. Choose legible fonts and ensure there’s ample white space in the margins, and between lines and paragraphs.
Expert tip

Ready to get writing, but aren’t ready to design a well-designed cover letter by yourself? Resume.io has made it easy. You can check out our library of cover letter templates and start writing in minutes.

Key takeaways

  1. Plan the structure and content of your cover letter like well-designed software.
  2. Build a personable rapport while remaining professional.
  3. Pick previous work highlights based on the skills and experience the hiring manager wants to see.
  4. If you’re lacking professional experience as a software engineer, look to personal projects and/or examples of your excellent work ethic.
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