Coding is all around us. As a software engineer you know how to write these lines that govern so much of our day to day life, and how to plan their implementation in the first place. You may be the ultimate problem-solver. However, it’s normal to fall short when you’re decoding how to translate your experience to a top software engineer CV example.
While software engineers may be seeing a healthy demand in the job market, you need a strong job application to beat the competition. A strong CV is essential to presenting your professional profile in the best way possible.
At Resume.io we want to help you get your foot in the door for your dream job. Our dozens of CV examples and other free resources could give you the step up you need if you’re looking for guidance. This CV guide, along with the corresponding CV example, will cover the following topics:
- What does a software engineer do?
- How to write a software engineer CV (tips and tricks)
- The best format for a software engineer CV
- Advice on each section of your CV (summary, work history, education, skills)
- Professional CV layout and design hints.
What does a software engineer do?
As a software engineer, you are responsible for planning and building different types of software applications and operating systems. You are a master of innovative thinking and can crack the code in multiple languages. From design, to testing, to maintenance — you thrive where logic meets creativity.
A software engineer could specialise in a number of processes. However, most projects will involve collaborating with a team, including other types of computer scientists. If you’re interested in looking at resume examples in other IT fields, you can check out our web developer CV sample and computer science CV sample here.
The average salary for a software engineer in the UK is £48,719. Depending on your speciality and expertise as a software engineer this can fluctuate significantly, especially when branching into various software development fields.
According to the National Careers Service, experienced software developers could be looking at an annual salary of up to £70,000. The terms software development and engineering are sometimes used interchangeably, however this can be misleading.
How to write a software engineer CV
There is a stereotype that software engineers and computer scientists are overly logical thinkers that can struggle to contextualise their expertise in the real world. A methodical approach will help you to write a top CV, but you want to show the hiring manager the full picture of who you are as a software engineer.
You can achieve this by allowing your passion to come through in each part of your CV. Highlight past examples that illustrate your approach to your work, and don’t forget to use vibrant language to engage the hiring manager in each section. Your software engineer CV should contain the following elements:
- The CV header
- The CV summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The CV skills section
- The education section
Also, take a moment to consider the company where you are applying to be a software engineer. Everything from the tone of language, to examples linked to previous employment, and even CV design should match the employer you are trying to appeal to.
Taking the time to research your prospective employer and the team you’re applying to will help you to identify the problems you will need to help them to solve, as well as the general work culture. In fact, this is an essential part of working out whether the job is for you in the first place.
Once you have spent some time doing this, filling out the rest of the sections will be much easier. Keep the hiring manager you’re trying to appeal to in mind, and make sure you tweak each iteration of your CV to suit each application.
Choosing the best CV format for a software engineer
There are a number of formats you can choose for your software engineer CV. Most employers prefer software engineers to use the reverse chronological format, which draws the focus to your employment history. However, there are other options of CV format if you are new to the job market as a software engineer, or in general.
If you don’t have much previous experience to list in the employment section, then you may want to spend some more time considering the best CV format. For instance, the functional CV format allows you to draw focus to the skills section of your CV. However, even if you’re lacking in formal or professional experience, you might still have more to add to your CV than you think. Take a look at our school leaver CV sample for inspiration.
CV summary example
Your CV summary — also known as CV profile — is the first thing that will appear underneath your name and details. Think of this as your professional tagline. You have several sentences to summarise your professional profile as a software engineer, and to introduce it to the hiring manager. So don’t waste that precious space!
This is a great spot in your CV to mention a couple of the things that will really make you stand out. Is it a rare convergence of skills, or a notable past achievement? Whatever makes you different, mention it here. However, your summary should be more than just keyword stuffing. This is the only area of your CV where you can write in freeform, so it’s also an opportunity to introduce your personality.
Depending on where you’re applying to work, a more sombre tone of voice might be encouraged. However, serious doesn’t need to mean boring. Think of active verbs that will best accomplish the impression you want to make. For instance, instead of “Improved coding” try “Increased coding efficiency by 60%.” See how much clearer and more engaging the phrase became? Look at the CV sample content below for some more ideas.
Highly-strategic Software Engineer adept in designing, developing, and delivering exceptional products to clients around the globe. Skilled in enhancing software with new functionality while also maintaining existing code. Committed to working collaboratively across multi-skilled teams to problem solve and deliver real solutions.
Employment history sample
As a software engineer, a lot of your perceived value is based on your last project. If you have chosen the reverse chronological CV format, the employment history will be the most extensive section of your CV. However, you can control the narrative of your software engineering career by considering how you frame that experience.
Each previous role that you include should have a subheading consisting of the role title, company name, location, and dates of employment. Underneath this you can list several bullet points of your most important contributions, responsibilities, and achievements to the job.
While some of these inclusions may be strategic based on the skills required from the job listing, you can also afford to show off a bit. Your CV is not the time to be humble! Think about the projects that you enjoyed and are proud of. It will be a lot easier to write with flair if you’re actually passionate about it. Remember to include plenty of active verbs to keep the language engaging and hook that hiring manager.
Software Engineer, NextCon, Manchester
July 2017 - Present
- Currently serve as a Senior Software Engineer for NextCon, managing a team of 8 developers, and developing code and .NET solutions.
- Recently celebrated the identification and solution of a design flaw, leading to a 60% increase in coding efficiency.
- Design, write, and maintain C#/VB.Net coding for all future and ongoing projects.
- Apply a strong understanding of HTTP protocols, developer tools, SSL certificates and web application architecture.
- Partner closely with the engineering enablement platform team to leverage cutting-edge technologies.
- Participate in daily development activities including those centred around designing, analysing, and performing remediation for performance tests.
- Continually ensure that quality, security, and compliance requirements are met.
- Strive to stay attuned to growing technologies and engineering trends.
Software Engineer, Rayflex Designs, Manchester
May 2014 - June 2017
- Applied both creative and practical software solutions in the programming of various features for server-side and user-side applications.
- Performed coding in multiple languages, including Java and Core MVC.
- Effectively prioritised my timing and efforts to achieve the highest level of productivity possible.
- Remained forward-thinking and eager to expand my knowledge of growing technologies and engineering trends.
Decode your worth through numbers
The hiring manager could come from a range of backgrounds. However, if you really want to drive home the importance of your contributions in previous roles, numbers could help.
Why not include figures and statistics in your bullet point list of job highlights? This could help your potential employer to decode and contextualise what a valuable asset you would be to their team.
Did you increase the speed of a workflow by 50%? Or did you save the department £25,000? Tell them in a language they will be sure to understand!
CV skills example
As a software engineer, you have a lot of hard skills. These are technical skills, as opposed to soft skills which is the way in which you carry out your work. You want to give both a time to shine in this section. Check out the CV sample content below for some inspiration.
Of course, if the job you’re applying for requires certain skills and knowledge of particular languages of programs, these should take priority. However, the hiring manager also wants to know how you will fit into the team. So spare a mention for the way you will communicate with the team and contribute to problem solving, too.
- Interpersonal Communication Skills
- Complex Problem Solving
- HTTP Protocols and Developer Tools
ATS: Make sure your skills compute
Many companies rely on an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter through applicants. Usually the ATS is an algorithm that works by scanning for specific keywords. The skills section is a great place to include any important keywords you’ve identified in the job listing but don’t fit elsewhere. Remember to stay honest and include the ones that are relevant to you!
Software engineer CV education example
Software engineers are smart and perseverant. Usually this means you’ve committed to several years of formal education to learn your skills. You should clearly list your education from high school onwards. If you have a postgraduate qualification, then you may choose to leave off your secondary school education.
Just like in the employment history section, each addition should include the qualification title, institution name, location, and dates attended. Similarly, you could include subsequent bullet points of notable accolades from your time studying there. However, this is optional.
University of Manchester, Master of Computer Science, Manchester
September 2011 - May 2013
CV layout and design
Just as you consider the content of your CV for each individual job listing, you should think carefully about its presentation. The appearance of your CV example is part of the story you’re telling, and you want it to be a coherent one.
Take some time to research the company you’re applying to. A traditional workplace may prefer a no-frills approach and a simple CV layout. On the other hand, a creative workplace that thrives on an innovative approach may prefer something more modern and sleek.
If you prefer to leave the design to the experts, our professionally-designed CV templates could help you out.
Key takeaways for a software engineer CV
- Make sure you’re speaking the same language as the hiring manager - and that pesky ATS algorithm!
- Illustrate your logical and creative skills through carefully considered employment history bullet points.
- Balance your mention of those hard and soft skills.
- Use figures and statistics to contextualise your professional contributions.
- Keep your professional story cohesive with a smart CV design.