Whether you’re fresh out of college or a professional looking for a career change, the software engineering market could prove to be a good choice for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, available software engineering positions in the U.S. have increased 24 percent since 2016, with average yearly salaries now around $100,000 depending on experience level.
The first step toward landing one of the many open software engineering jobs is writing an excellent resume. So here are eight essential tips for writing a software engineering resume that will make you stand out and help you get the job you want.
1. Take a specialized approach
Writing a specialized resume—a resume that’s specifically geared to the job you’re applying for—is so important to the goal of getting hired by a software development company. Since software engineering is a market with numerous niches—design, development, testing, and quality assurance, among others—your resume will ideally be written so that future employers know immediately whether or not your skills, interests, and career goals are good fits for their open positions (and for their companies). This specialized approach will not only make it easier for HR professionals to read your resume but will also make you stand out from other applicants, who are likely to create more general resumes. In other words, it will increase your chances of getting an interview and, eventually, the job.
2. Describe your professional expertise
When writing a software engineering resume, it’s essential that you place yourself in the position of your employer or HR specialist in charge of hiring new talent. What are the most important aspects of a future data analyst, programmer, UI designer, or other software engineering specialists? The first order of business in terms of listing your skillset is to start with your previous professional experiences.
Where did you work prior to applying to this position? If this is your first employment effort, what internships or volunteering experience do you have? You can use professional writing platforms such as Evernote and Trust My Paper to format your resume properly before sending it to your potential employers. Listing your previous professional experiences will allow your future employer to get a good idea of what kind of work you have done and can do. It can also show what type of an individual you are in terms of your work habits, and which types of company cultures you have worked and thrived in.
3. List your languages
The second most important aspect of listing your software engineering skills in a resume is to outline the programming and development languages you’re familiar with. It’s pivotal that you only refer to languages (such as SQL, Java, C, Python, or others) that you’re comfortable working with by yourself without supervision. You shouldn’t list languages that you’re only partially familiar with, since you could receive tests during your interview that could backfire in regards to your employment. However, you could list languages that you’re “currently learning about” or “want to learn more about” in the near future, making sure not to say that you’re proficient in them. This could possibly boost your chances of being placed into an onboarding program with an experienced mentor.
4. Include samples of your work
A great way to stand out from the crowd of software engineering specialists is to include samples of your work and other forms of demonstrative materials or links. These will add value and integrity to your claims about the languages and software skills you’ve listed in the previous section.
It’s important, however, not to include any sensitive data or copyright-infringing materials from your previous professional contracts in a publicly-shared resume. Keep your samples generalized in terms of the code you provide your future employer with as proof of your abilities. You can also use networking platforms such as LinkedIn by adding their links to your resume as a means of strengthening the argument in favor of your employment.
5. Outline your formal education
Typically, formal education takes a backseat to recent projects and the skills you possess as a developer or programmer. However, formal education is still a huge factor and necessary to include on your resume, especially if you have a college degree in a software engineering field related to your current job-hunting efforts. Make sure to include the proper names of schools you’ve attended, years you’ve spent there, and the titles/degrees you’ve acquired from them.
6. Provide active contact information
Once employers decide to get in touch with you in regards to further discussion and an interview, they should have up-to-date contact information available to them. Make sure that your email, phone, social media handles, and other communication channels are active and that you monitor them for potential employment follow-ups.
7. Slip in a call to action
Calls to action are a traditional marketing strategy reserved for content management on the web. However, they’re just as effective in resume writing. You can entice HR managers to get in touch with you through simple messages such as “Looking forward to hearing from you” or “Contact me for further information” in the resume itself.
8. Proofread and format
Lastly, it’s highly important that your resume is free of grammar mistakes, formatting errors, and proofreading slipups. To that end, you can refer to platforms such as Grammarly and Hemingway before sending your software engineering resume to potential employers for review.
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks, and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in creative writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she works as a freelance writer at WOWGrade and GrabMyEssay. You can find her on Facebook.
The following was adapted from the new Vault Career Guide to the Internet and Social Media.
“A powerful resume should leap off the page saying, ‘Me! I’m the one you want to hire!’” advises software engineer Gayle Laakmann McDowell in her book The Google Resume: How to Prepare for a Career and Land a Job at Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Any Top Tech Company.
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