Due to the breakneck speed of technology development and an increased need for custom websites and apps, the demand for software engineers has exploded in the past couple of years. This is particularly true in the pandemic age, as an increasing number of businesses have moved online.

To get the perfect software engineering job, you need to craft the perfect software engineering resume. As long as your resume is strong, you’ll be able to land a software engineering job, even if you don’t have a degree in a related field.

Why Is Software Engineering an Attractive Career?

Why Is Software Engineering an Attractive Career

Software engineering is one of the most in-demand professions right now. According to Hired, in 2020, the average salaries of top software engineering roles increased by 3% in New York, 7% in Toronto, 6% in London, and 5% in the San Francisco Bay area despite the weak COVID-19 economy.

Even though you don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree in computer science to enter this field, it’s still difficult to start working as a software engineer, particularly if you don’t have real-life experience. This is because there’s no shortage of skilled people who are looking for the same opportunities. 

You need to bolster your resume to showcase your unique talents and skills, particularly if you’re a fresh graduate or entry-level programmer who has little to no experience. Give the employer or recruiter a clear idea about what kind of employee you’d make. Are you a natural executive or self-starter? Or are you a more flexible worker who can fit into a variety of roles? 

10 Essential Things to Make Your Software Engineering Resume Stand Out

Software Engineering Resume tips

Here are 10 things you need to keep in mind when crafting your software engineering resume to get the job you deserve.

1. Mention your projects

Even if you don’t have relevant work experience, you can talk about your side projects to highlight your creativity and technical expertise. This is particularly important if you have little to no working experience in the field of software engineering. By including your projects, you can highlight the specific skills you used to create them, along with your work ethic, interests, and more.

‌‌2. Customize your resume

Don’t just send out the same version to every hiring manager. Be sure to tailor it to each specific job you’re applying for. Make sure you know what the job entails and outline how you can accomplish what the position requires of you.

3. Use keywords

What keywords are in the job post? Note those down and use them on your resume. Mention your technical skills such as Microsoft Office, Oracle, JavaScript, MySQL, CSS, SQL Server, PHP, HTML, NET, Apache, Hadoop, Linux, Unix, jQuery, TCP, j2ee, and others.

4. Use reverse-chronological order

It’s better to use the reverse-chronological format, so potential employers know what your most recent experiences are. If you’re a fresh graduate, start with education first, since you have limited work experience. Talk about what you accomplished during your studies and what you’ve learned. Have you worked on a project with a team or a professor that your employer would be interested in learning about?

‌5. Skills

Employers look for people with a specific skill set—fluency in JavaScript or Python, for instance. Think about the projects you’ve done in the past and what kind of technologies you know how to use. Ask yourself if your experiences fit what the employer is looking for. If it’s not an exact fit, are there skills you’ve developed that you can apply to this position?

6. Specific accomplishments

After figuring out what you know, it’s time to discuss what you’ve accomplished specifically. Be as detailed as possible on your resume. List the technologies you’ve used and clients you’ve had, and link to any completed websites or GitHub profiles you’ve created. For instance, don’t just say that you know Python or Java. You should be able to link to examples and discuss projects where you used those languages.

7. A summary

A concise summary of what you can bring to the job and company should be at the very top of your resume. Recruiters and employers should be able to tell what your future goals and recent experiences are like by reading it. Remember to drop a few keywords from the job posting in your summary to catch the employer’s attention. 

8. Consistency

Make sure that your LinkedIn profile, which should be on your resume, is as up-to-date as your resume. Oftentimes, people forget to update their information on LinkedIn, leading to discrepancies.

9. Awards and memberships

List any relevant awards or memberships you have that can show your dedication to honing your skills and interests. For instance, mention an award you earned as an undergrad that can show off your soft and hard skills.

10. Extras

Consider adding extras such as volunteering or extracurriculars that are relevant to the job post. This can help you stand out if you’re a fresh graduate or career-switcher who has little to no work experience in the field.

Software Engineering Resume Template

Bad resumes have a poor layout, aren’t tailored to the specific role, neglect to list skills or core competencies, and include spelling errors.

Software Engineering Resume Template - Bad Resume
Source: zipjob

Reasons why this example is a bad resume:

  • Having an objective section instead of a summary is behind the times and won’t catch the employer’s attention
  • The layout is hard to read
  • Information isn’t tailored to the specific job

A good resume fixes these issues and presents an inspiring-sounding experience section, lists core competencies, tailors the content to the position, and eliminates any errors.

Software Engineering Resume Template - Good Resume
Source: zipjob

Reasons why this example is a good resume:

  • The summary is eye-catching and will catch the employer’s interest
  • The design makes information easier to process
  • Information is tailored to a specific job

The best resume will demonstrate your experience and passion, properly format your skills and experience sections, and present you as a problem solver.

Best SE Resume Example
Source: Enhancv

Reasons why this example stands out:

  • The project and GitHub URLs are at the very top, so the employer can easily learn more about your projects and see more of who you are beyond just your work history
  • The summary is easy to read and should get the employer interested in checking out your GitHub work
  • Skills are laid out in an easy-to-read manner along with projects, experience, and education

6 Common Mistakes While Creating a Resume

Common Mistakes While Creating a Resume

Many software developers and engineers make a few common mistakes when crafting their resumes.

1. Too many skills and accomplishments. Only list relevant accomplishments and skills that are mentioned in the job you’re applying for.

2. Errors. Always proofread and read your resume out loud to make sure there are no run-on sentences, spelling mistakes, or grammatical errors.

3. Poor word choice. Use strong verbs that emphasize your skills and extensive experience. For example, instead of saying you were “responsible” for something, write that you “led” a team or “represented” your company or school at a convention. 

This will come in handy if the employer uses the Situation, Task, Action, and Results (STAR) method to quiz you during the interview. In such a situation, you’ll be asked to describe how you solved a problem in the past and what you learned. 

You can apply the STAR method to your resume by asking yourself every time you think of including something on your resume: What’s the situation at hand? What action did I take, and what did I learn? 

4. Using an illegible font. Stick with one easy-to-read font for the whole resume, 12-point. The titles can be 14 to 16-point. Otherwise, your resume will look messy.

5. Not being flexible about what to include. Even if you’re a career changer who’s never worked in the field, think about how you can use your previous work experience to bolster your resume.

6. Not using PDF. Unless indicated otherwise, send your resume as a PDF.

Ready to switch careers to software engineering?

Springboard offers a comprehensive software engineering bootcamp. You’ll work with a one-on-one mentor to learn key aspects of front-end web development, back-end web development, databases, and data structures and algorithms. Modules include learning resources, practice exercises, projects, and career-related coursework. 

Check out Springboard’s Software Engineering Career Track to see if you qualify.

Not quite ready to dive into a software engineering bootcamp

Springboard also offers a Software Engineering Prep Course, where you can learn the foundational web development skills (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) needed to pass the technical skills survey for the Software Engineering Career Track.