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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 cover letter example and writing 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. In this guide, you will learn how to approach the following topics when programming your software engineer cover letter:

  • 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)
  • What approach to take when writing your cover letter
  • 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 cover letter examples should help to do the trick.

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 intro
  • The middle paragraphs (body of the letter)
  • The ending paragraph of your cover letter (conclusion and call-to-action)

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 the hiring manager. Now it’s time to present that in the form of a story that they can understand, i.e. your software engineer cover letter.

Adaptable cover letter sample

Dear Mrs. Bates, 

 

I have worked for the last ten 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 tech start-up, Traction. I joined the company at its inception and was the first software engineer hired. I, therefore, 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 the core pillars of our current product. 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. It should be located at the top of the document and include all of the details the hiring manager will need to get in touch with you quickly. Insert your name, email address, and telephone contact. 

You want to keep it simple for the hiring manager to be able to easily call you in for an interview. Plus, a well-designed header will make it easy for the employer to remember your name and differentiate your cover letter example from the pile they have received from other software engineers.

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 ___” as your default greeting. You should avoid using the opening line of “To whom it may concern,” so 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 using LinkedIn.  

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.

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 how the rest of the letter will show your profile to be the right one for this position.

For instance, if you have already specialised as a software engineer in this industry, this is an important detail to add to the opening paragraph. It hints that you will go on to explain why your expertise is relevant. Additionally, 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 don’t have such a simple go-to that you can lead 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. Check out the cover letter example content below for an idea of how to approach yours. 

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Dear Mrs. Bates, 

I have worked for the last ten 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 they hope to find in their ideal software engineer and build your strategy from there. 

From the keywords and skills you’ve highlighted, find experiences from your own work that illustrate them. 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 cover letter sample content below shows some examples of how to target this challenge. 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 CV into a longer anecdote to explain fully what made it so impressive. 

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.

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 tech start-up, Traction. I joined the company at its inception and was the first software engineer hired. I, therefore, 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 the core pillars of our current product. 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 sees 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. The call to action you choose to include will likely be to invite them to call you back for an interview or to follow up with any questions that they may have. 

Finally, maintain that opening level of formality when you sign off. The most recommended phrase is “Sincerely” followed by your full name. Now it’s time to exercise some patience while you wait to see whether you will be invited to interview.

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 in 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 would 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.

Key takeaways

  1. Plan the structure and examples of your cover letter like well-designed software.
  2. Build a personable rapport while remaining professional.
  3. Pick previous work examples based on the skills 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.

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.

If you want to view some more tips for top-performing cover letters, we’ve got you covered. Check out our related technical cover letter samples:

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