Being a software engineer is a dream of many aspiring youngsters out there. But, often, the inspiration, the results, and everything doesn’t play as much an important role as a single page placed in front of your interviewer. It is your resume. While writing a resume is only a matter of two hundred words or so, the content and each word matters. One word or detail is enough to make a difference. And that difference may well be the reason for you not receiving the job offer. In this article, let’s see the Software Engineer Resume Examples.
A resume is often a single piece of paper containing information regarding your experiences, projects, personal details, and academic achievements. An ideal resume for a software engineer role should contain a related academic degree, some projects in this field, and, preferably, some experience related to this field. Freshers can add some certificates of online courses in software fields instead of work experience.
What is a Resume?
A resume is a compilation of your achievements. A resume is supposed to have a record of everything mentionable you have done till now. Note the word ‘mentionable’ – you don’t want to write about a prize in drawing you have won in your pre-school! We will discuss what we mean by mentionable points later in this article. Also, a resume is short and contains only relevant information. Sometimes, it’s better to write about the best works done by you instead of listing everything. For example, writing about your best project and explaining it briefly is better than writing ten project names and not explaining any of them.
The resumes can look different for different people, so it’s best not compared. Instead, you should think and write what you know the best. Writing big and heavy words you have no idea about will never make your resume shine, but writing simple things you really know can make an impressive sheet of resume.
Software Engineer: Its Role in the World
Today, the software industry is one of the most successful industries in the world, and this generation is inclined towards inventions that involve software. Everything, from a simple application to complex machine learning algorithms, is included in the software domain. Of course, it is impossible to know everything (or is it?), but you can focus on one field in this huge domain and build your career. There are quite a few topics to be skillful:
- Data Science
- Database Management
- Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
- Website Development
The topics are different and involve different prerequisite knowledge. We will discuss prerequisites soon.
Contents of a Resume
A resume, as mentioned above, should be short and to the point. It must contain all (or the best) of your achievements to date and should have a professional image of the candidate.
A resume should contain these headings:
- Educational Qualification
- Projects (with brief information)
- Interests and Hobbies (should be short)
- Work Experience (not for freshers)
A company hiring for the role of software engineer expects to see projects related to the software domain. It can be anything, from designing a simple portfolio website to creating a prediction model using machine learning. It is better to write a maximum of two projects, which you consider to be your best work to date.
A software engineer is expected to have either a computer science or equivalent degree, but it is not the end of the world if you do not have one. Many people get hired for this role even if they study a different domain. It is important to show that you have the knack and interest to be a software engineer and do the tasks that a software engineer typically does.
If you are a fresher, you can apply for this role too, but we will advise you to apply for a more junior role (e.g. assistant software engineer). In this case, you don’t have any work experience (your personal projects don’t count as work experience). Instead of this heading, you can emphasize your certificates, interests, and academic details.
Here is an example of a typical resume of a software engineer job applicant.
When it comes to writing your own details in a resume, it is quite similar to a CV. The important fields to write under this section are:
- Name of Your Parents (or guardian)
- Email Address
- Social Network Addresses (e.g. Quora, LinkedIn, Github, etc.)
- Your Personal Website, if any
- Phone Details
- A Professional Photo (sometimes not required, but better to provide one)
It is important to give the social network accounts. Don’t get carried away and provide your Facebook details etc. A professional resume of a software engineer aspirant must have a Github account. It does not matter if you have posted your projects there, but you can prove to the hirer that you have at least spent some time on Github. Many resumes, including the one provided above as an example, do not contain a photograph. But we really advise you to give one. The photo should have a light grey or white background, a formal dress, and no fancy stuff. It should just be like a photo on any identity card.
This is the part of the resume that contains the maximum weightage and is crucial for the hiring process. It is recommended that you have completed and provided at least one project in this section. For freshers, a project can be anything related to the software domain. The project must be explained briefly. Experienced applicants can list one of the projects they have worked on in the past.
Having multiple projects is fantastic, but make sure you don’t overdo it. The project space should be just like any other field, so no need to visually emphasize it. Give a brief explanation of the project(s). If you think adding multiple projects is making your resume big enough for the reader to easily lose interest, shorten it up by listing the best projects you think you have worked on. Projects can be the difference between getting and not getting hired. In fact, it is more important than the educational qualification, but that does not mean it is everything.
This is where your educational qualifications will go. It is written in decreasing format, with the latest completed education first. Some people do not give school details, but it is better to provide everything. A resume contains the name of the academic course, the alma mater, and the year of course completion.
The job applicants who already have prior work experience should write about their previous job experiences. Make sure you write everything in detail, from the name of the organization to the years of experience, carefully and without errors. For a software engineer role, the experiences should reflect such activities. For example, you may write about your experience as a website developer, but it is recommended that you skip about your content writing freelance experience.
Writing about the recommended and wanted experience is always preferred. A job may have requirements as the number of years of experience. In that case, make sure you put such details accurately.
A year gap is a year with no employment. The year gaps are common, especially when you work on a contractual basis. While in some jobs, year gaps are normal, the software engineering domain may not be so. The job-seekers fear that having year gaps in work experience may cause problems. Yes, they are correct. Many employers do not want to read resumes where they can clearly see the gaps in years. So, what to do?
Some specialists say that writing the experience duration instead of years is a way to trick the employer. For example, you have worked at a company for five years, and then you have taken a two-year gap, and then you have worked at another company for the next three years.
So, instead of writing:
Company 1 (2010-2015)
Company 2 (2017-2020)
You can write simply:
Company 1 (5 years)
Company 2 (3 years)
While this is a good way of writing a resume, it is always better to have some prior knowledge about the company, and whether they accept such a style of resume writing.
The heading one resume should contain is career objective. You are free to write whatever you want, but we recommend that you write something related to the job you are applying for i.e., software engineering. You can mention your dreams and goals that you want to achieve while working under that company. It is also important to have the goals in real life, not just printed in the resume. When you apply for a job, make sure it’s not only about money but also satisfaction. Hence, only apply for a role when you really think you are ready to work in that role.
The most important thing in a resume is the visuals. The work experience and academics will get shadowed if you present a clumsy sheet of paper, your application will be rejected before it would have the chance to spread any amount of magic. A resume should be written on a white page and neat handwriting. Avoid any errors. A typed resume looks better in all aspects rather than a handwritten one.
There are a lot of websites today that have resume templates. You can use those. Since you are applying for a software engineer role, avoid using too many colors that will make it look more artistic. Use your favorite style and write the content. Attach a photograph to the space provided if there is one.
The resumes below are some good examples of resumes for the role of a software engineer:
Your resume need not have similar content, but the style should be similar. Use a resume builder website to write and style a good resume.
Should You Provide a Resume?
A resume is a concise piece of paper that tells everything about you. But some companies demand a lengthy version of your biodata – a CV. It depends on the company, and usually, they ask for either of the two. If you can’t decide, go with the resume when you don’t have prior work experience, and a CV if you have some experience. Again, in the US, a resume is more popular. So, keep one prepared anyway. The difference between a CV and a resume stands in the details. A resume is generally a single page, but a CV can extend up to six pages, or even more. We are not going deeper into the topic because it is a separate discussion.
Prerequisites for a Software Engineer Role
There are always things you should know before you apply for a job. These are called prerequisite knowledge. Some companies provide a list of prerequisite knowledge during the hiring process, but most companies do not. Hence, you must know what you should know. The most important subject you should know and know well is computer programming. It is the base of the software domain, and you need to be good at it. This is the only way you can enter the software world.
Next comes a specialization. Look at the example resumes, and you will find a variety of specialization topics. You can work on anything you like, be it data science, or artificial intelligence, or just simply solving programs. Experienced applicants should be able to understand the requirements for the role. There are no fixed prerequisites because different companies want their employees to know different things.
Writing a great resume takes a lot more than a great educational qualification and good academic results. The key points for a software engineer job-seeker should be the projects, the work experience, and the certificates from specialization courses. There should be a perfect blend so that the employer does not feel like looking at a ‘Bill Gates resume’. The key to success is always being yourself.
With a small paragraph stating your objective, some personal and educational details, and an explanation of your projects, you can produce a decent resume required for a software engineer role. The focus should be on projects for freshers, and work experience for experienced jobseekers. Keep it plain and simple and watch the magic happen.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long should be a resume?
A resume is generally of one page, but feel free to use another one. However, stop if you feel like using the third page, and start cutting down words or points. Include only the relevant details in the resume.
- How should be my photograph in a resume?
Your photograph in the resume should be formal. Wear a light-colored shirt and a tie. No stylish objects should be present. The background should be kept white or light grey. Keep the size of the photograph small (use the passport size). If you are using a template, use the size provided. Adding a photograph is optional but recommended.
- What are the skills required for a software engineer role?
Being a software engineer requires you to know computer programming. If you are a fresher, you should do some projects before applying for a job. Any specialization skills will come useful during the interview. Also, it is always good to have a degree in this domain, but it is not the end of the world if you don’t have one. Experience and abilities speak for themselves.
- Is writing a good resume enough to seal a job offer for me?
No, it is not enough, but it is crucial. A good resume can land a good impression about you to the employer. It is an important step because the resume is the only document in the world that can make you eligible for a job interview. The job interview is the most important thing henceforth, which will get you a job offer.
- What should I enter in the project section?
The project section should contain details about your projects. They may be personal or professional. The key point to remember is that you should write only about the relevant projects and not about something not related to software engineering. Also, provide a brief overview of the projects so that the work and the working principles are comprehensible. Avoid making the section too big. Cut it short and include the best projects if you think the resume is getting bulky.
- What should I enter in the personal details section?
The personal details section should contain your name and address, your guardian or parents’ names, your personal email address, your contact details, and your social network accounts. You may provide your LinkedIn profile, your Github profile, and your personal website if there is any. Avoid giving too much information, like your Facebook account details.
- What should I enter in the objective section?
The objective section is there to attract the employer’s attention and somewhat impress him before he sees the original contents of the resume. Writing something unique will help your resume stay apart from others. Avoid getting carried away and writing an essay. The paragraph should be concise and should not have more than 100 words. You can search on the internet about great paragraphs to write in the objective section of your resume. Do not copy the whole thing, add something new and relevant to it.
- Shall I add a one-liner under my name?
If you are using a resume template, you may stumble upon some templates that have a space for a single line. It is meant to be written just under your personal details, which will tell the employer in a line or a phrase who you are. It is optional, but a good one-liner can make a difference. You can write phrases like ‘a passionate programmer’ or ‘a web developer since 2010’.
- Are year gaps disadvantageous for a software engineer role?
It depends on the employer. Even if it is disadvantageous, there is no going back. Do not get discouraged while applying for a job just because you have year gaps. Year gaps do not play a major role as such, but you may be asked about it during your interview. You must prepare yourself for giving a prompt answer to that question.
- Are colored resumes a disadvantage for the software engineer role?
A white page looks most professional. Numerous templates have colored backgrounds, but they are not fit for software engineer resumes. However, there is no harm in using colors to style your resume. You can use colored bullets and borders. But they must be plain and simple and not too vibrant.
- I submitted my resume but did not receive any calls from HR. Shall I update my resume or use the same for other job opportunities?
If you feel that you have done enough to write your resume, there is no need to change it and write the same thing with new words. The reason for your offer rejection may not be related to your resume. Instead, you can focus on learning and doing something new and impressive, so that you can add it to your resume. In a line, update your resume with experiences, not words.
- How often should I update my resume?
Every second you do something new and mentionable. A resume must be up to date every time. If you have finished a new project, update the resume as soon as possible. This is also applicable when you change your personal details, like your contact number, address, or email address. A resume that is not updated becomes useless. Even if you do not need a job shortly, it is recommended that you keep your resume up to date just in case you need it suddenly.