How to Create an Effective Entry-Level Software Engineering Resume

Stephen GreetStephen Greet | 5 minute read | July 24, 2020
springboard software engineering

In this article

The modern world is built on software. From banking to entertainment to transportation and everything in-between, software is at the foundation of nearly everything we do. 

As the architects and builders of this foundation, the career prospects for software engineers are promising and lucrative. The demand for software engineers is expected to grow 21% over the next 10 years, while the median salary for a software engineer is now $110,000. An entry-level software engineer can expect to make an average of $86,000.

Breaking into the software engineering industry is daunting—especially for entry-level programmers who have acquired the necessary skills but may lack the real-world experience of more senior software engineers. This is why a solid resume is a vital tool for all entry-level software engineers. There’s simply no better way to showcase your skills, knowledge, and experience to potential employers.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. This guide will give you all the professional tips you need to create a solid entry-level software engineer resume and cover letter to help you land your first job as a programmer.

What Should You Include In an Entry-Level Software Engineering Resume?

When you’re applying for an entry-level software engineering role, it’s much better to be a master of a few skills than a jack of all trades. Don’t get hung up on trying to include multiple JavaScript frameworks or multiple back-end languages on your resume.

Hiring managers understand you’re beginning your career and over time you’ll learn more programming languages. What they want to see evidence of is that you have full command of the 1-2 programming languages you already know. JavaScript and Python are great all-purpose languages to learn first—which is why they are the focus of Springboard’s software engineering bootcamp.

The rule of thumb is that you should only include skills that you would be comfortable being interviewed on. If you haven’t written code in a given language or framework or used a tool in practice, omit it from your resume.

When working on your entry-level software engineer resume, don’t forget:

  • Include relevant classes that demonstrate what you have learned as a developer
  • Keep your resume to one page
  • Include work experience even if you don’t think it’s relevant to engineering. It’s easier to explain a career change to a hiring manager than a gap in your resume

An Example of an Effective Entry-Level Software Engineer Resume

Here is a great example of an effective entry-level software engineer resume:

computer science resume

What Is a Resume Objective, and Why Is It Important?

As an entry-level software engineer, including a resume objective is a must. This is your chance to quickly make the case why you’re the perfect fit for the role you’re applying to.

When crafting your resume objective you should include a quick summary of your skillset then explain what you’re looking for in your next role. If you really want to stand out, you should also include why you’re a great fit for the specific role or company you’re applying to.

This means customizing your resume objective for each role you apply to. For a given entry-level software engineer role, hiring managers will typically receive more than 100 applicants, so it’s important you take the time to make your resume stand out whenever you can.

2 Entry-Level Software Resume Objective Samples

Here are two great entry-level software engineer resume objective samples.

Objective sample 1:
“Recent Springboard software engineering graduate with a passion for developing scalable web applications and working across the full stack. I’m looking to join the Zoom Rooms team to learn from more experienced developers and make seamless communication possible no matter where people are located.”

Objective sample 2:
“As the daughter of small business owners, I’m really excited about the prospect of using my full-stack Python experience to further the Stripe mission of making payments accessible for companies of all sizes across the globe. I’ve built several projects in Django to scratch my own itch and I’d love to use that skill-set to start my software engineering career at Stripe.”

Get To Know Other Software Engineering Students

Kristy Chu

Kristy Chu

Software Engineer at FloQast

Read Story

Pritisha Kumar

Pritisha Kumar

Software Engineer at Dialpad

Read Story

Alyssa Menes

Alyssa Menes

Software Engineer at Progyny

Read Story

Projects Are Key To Talking About Experience

When you don’t yet have formal experience as a software engineer, you need to make it clear to the person reviewing your resume that you will be able to effectively contribute as a programmer. The best way to do this is to highlight projects you’ve worked on either as part of a class or under your own accord.

Listing skills on your resume is necessary—but you need to do more than that to convince the hiring manager you have command of those skills. This is where your projects come in. If you go through the Springboard software engineering career track, you’ll have a great portfolio of projects to include on your resume.

Try and think about projects that reflect your skills and personality. Are you a big runner? Build an interactive training plan web app to help you run your next race. Are you a hobby investor? Build a price tracking tool to monitor your portfolio. Do you like to cook? Build a web app that tells you what you can make based on the ingredients in your refrigerator.

Remember: what you build is not as important as the languages and tools you use to build it. Hiring managers want to see evidence that you can code something useful.

How Do You Write An Entry-Level Software Engineer Cover Letter?

Whenever you’re applying for an entry-level software engineer position and there is an option to include a cover letter, you need to include a cover letter. You’ll be competing against a lot of other engineers for an interview so employers are looking for a reason to exclude applicants. Not including a cover letter is a quick way to get excluded.

When you’re building your cover letter, you should customize it for each role you apply to. It should highlight your experience (including your skills and relevant courses) then touch on why you’re interested in the company and what you can offer. 

Here’s a great example of an entry-level software engineering cover letter, for a role at a fictional company:

software engineer cover letter example

How to Kickstart Your Software Engineering Career

Getting your foot in the door to start your career as a software engineer isn’t always easy. Once you’re in though you are sure to have long-term job security and be compensated well.

The first step to starting your career is to learn how to program. Then you can use this guide to build an entry-level software engineer resume that’s sure to catch the attention of a hiring manager.

To make sure you’re ready to contribute on day one of your new software engineering job, you should:

  • Try to learn more than one programming language, specifically around the tech stack of your would-be employer.
  • Try freelancing, creating your own site, or building your own web app to keep your skills sharp.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Contributing to an open-source project is a great way to practice in public.

Related Read: Full Stack Developer Resume: 8 Examples to Get You Hired

Since you’re here…
Considering a career in software engineering? We’ll help you build a CV that rivals experienced software engineers in 9 months flat with our Software Engineering Bootcamp. If you’re still mulling, try our free software engineering learning path and check out our salary guide to see what you could be making. 

Stephen Greet

About Stephen Greet

Co-founder, BeamJobs.