How to write an impressive software engineer CV

Software engineers possess a variety of technical and industry-specific skills. Showcase those skills and impress hiring managers with our tips.

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Table of Contents

  1. How-to guide for writing the perfect software engineer CV
  2. What do software engineers do?
  3. Essential software engineer skills to showcase on your CV
  4. Four tips to write the perfect software engineer CV
  5. FAQ: Software engineer CV

How-to guide for writing the perfect software engineer CV

Software engineers are increasingly in high demand yearly. They possess a specific set of technical and industry-specific hard skills. Showcasing these skills the right way on a CV can land you the job you’ve always dreamed of. 

This CV guide will show you:

  • Different job titles for software engineers
  • Essential skills to list on your CV
  • Tips and examples to create your CV quickly
  • Frequently asked questions for software engineer jobs


What do software engineers do?

Software engineering is a broad job description. Engineers can design, develop, and test software applications for companies, with tasks including testing, debugging and troubleshooting for software programmes. In your job search, you may see a software engineer called a developer.
 
Front-end developer: Works on programming the visual side of a site or programme – the website elements that users interact with.
 
Back-end developer: Works on programming the foundation or structure of a site or programme. They may work on API and write SQL server scripts.
 
Both types of software engineers may have a background in computer science. Both require advanced technical skills and engineering skills.

Essential software engineer skills to showcase on your CV

  • Programming languages such as Python, JavaScript, Linux, Oracle, and CSS
  • Cloud and cloud security
  • DevOps methodologies
  • IT Automation
  • Full Stack Development
  • Project management
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Adaptability and flexibility


Four tips to write the perfect software engineer CV

1. Keep your CV to one page.

A one-page CV has a cleaner look and will be easier for busy hiring managers to scan. However, if you have more than 10 years of work experience, your CV can be two-pages long. Some ways to help condense your CV down are:

  • Use bullet points instead of long-winded paragraphs where possible.
  • Prioritize information. Include feature your two to three most important achievements per job.
  • Use a professional CV format and font.
  • Utilize the header of your CV for your contact information. 
 
2. List only relevant tech skills.
 

As a software engineer, your CV can quickly dilute if you list every skill you possess. Read over the job posting for the position you want and single out the skills the employer wants most. By listing only your most advanced and relevant skills, you will:

  • Ensure your skills stand out to the recruiter.
  • Show that you have an understanding of the hiring process.
  • Save valuable space on your CV.
 
 3. Show how your technical skills led to results and achievements.
 

Certifications and achievements can help to illustrate your skill level. Because software engineering is a skill set that can be self-taught, having proven credentials can enhance your chances of getting a job when your education section or work history is lacking. An example of an achievement resulting from using typical software engineer skills is:

  • Debugging software at XYZ Company to increase product usability by 30%

4. Tailor your CV for each job posting.

The best CV will be customized for each new job. Use keywords from the job posting in your skills section, work experience section, and throughout your CV. Including keywords will help busy hiring managers to recognize your qualifications when scanning your CV. Tailoring your CV to the job posting can be especially important for a software engineer CV. Each job description can require vastly different tasks and technical skills depending on what side of the software you’re working on. You can tailor your CV to show the most relevant skills and professional experience for the position

FAQ: Software engineer CV

Q: What should you not do or list on a software engineer CV?

As a software engineer, the skills section of your CV should be quite advanced. You do not need to list:

  • Hobbies
  • Minor technical skills
  • Activities or skills that are not relevant to software development

Q: What should I list on my CV if I don’t have any work experience?

The best CV can help you to get a job even without many years of experience. If you don’t have much work experience, then you may include:

  • A personal portfolio of tech projects
  • Volunteer work
  • Certifications
  • Relevant skills or coursework
  • Internships

Q: What are some examples of a software engineer CV?

Reviewing examples of a software engineer or developer CV can help you to cure writer’s block when writing your own CV. Examples can also inspire your CV format and more complicated writing sections such as the professional summary.

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