Preparing for a tech interview is tough. But often, it’s not the problem-solving or system design questions that get to software engineers; it’s building their resumes!
While it may seem like a simple enough task, resume building is a crucial part of tech interview prep. Having a good resume is the first step to landing your dream job at FAANG; because no matter how much you prepare for the actual interview, your resume decides whether or not you get shortlisted.
Many software engineers recognize this; however, they do not have the right tools to build a FAANG-worthy resume. In this article, we will answer some of the most pressing questions that software engineers have regarding resume creation.
Here they are:
- What are keywords for a software engineering resume?
- What are some key skills I should list on my software engineering resume?
- Should interests, hobbies, and extracurricular activities be included on a software engineering resume?
- Which sections are important in a software engineering manager resume or an experienced software engineer resume?
- Is a cover letter necessary for a software engineer resume?
- What should I include in a resume for a new graduate/internship position/junior developer/entry-level software engineer?
- What’s the easiest way to create a software engineering resume?
Q1. What are the keywords for a software engineering resume?
Keywords or key phrases are those words that help a recruiter or an ATS match your resume to the job description. Keywords help a recruiter or ATS filter unqualified candidates and narrow down a large number of applications to identify those resumes that are the closest match to the prospective job.
Keywords can be job-specific, company-specific, or industry-specific. They can be found in the job description or by researching the role and company.
Some examples of software engineering resume keywords are:
- Resume section names: Experience, Total Experience, Skills, Education, Projects, Achievements, Languages, Certifications
- Skills: Communication, Leadership, Critical-thinking, Analytical Thinking, Problem-Solving, Project Management
- Programming Language Names: Java, Python, C, C++
- Technologies or Domains: Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Front-End Applications
- Roles, Positions, Job Titles: Tech Lead, Senior Software Engineer, Entry-Level Engineer, Mid-Level Engineer, Project Manager, Programmer, Coding Engineer, Software Developer
Pro Resume Tip: Look for extra spaces around or in between keywords, as this will prevent the ATS from parsing it effectively.
Q2. What are some key skills I should list on my software engineering resume?
You should include a balance of hard and soft skills on your resume. Listing in-demand skills on your resume will grab the recruiter’s attention and make you stand out from the competition. Some of the most in-demand skills are:
Recommended Reading: The X-Factor: 7 Crucial Soft Skills to Land a $500k Tech Job
Q3. Should interests, hobbies, and extracurricular activities be included on a software engineering resume?
Any information that does not create an impact and is not relevant to the job you’re applying for can be left out of the resume. This information will only take up space that can be used for more essential information that can create an impact.
If you list interests and extracurricular activities on your resume, ensure that this complements your experience and skills or gives the recruiter a rounded idea of your persona as a software engineer.
Q4. Which sections are important in a software engineering manager resume or an experienced software engineer resume?
The key sections in a mid-level software engineer resume or a senior software engineer resume are:
- Work Experience
As a mid-level software engineer or an experienced software engineer, recruiters are looking for your proven abilities in real-world situations. They assess you for depth of knowledge and how you can apply this to bring value to the prospective employer.
With fewer job opportunities as you move up the career ladder, the competition gets tougher. These sections help you show your technical depth and differentiate you from other applicants. Of these sections, “Work Experience” and “Projects” highlight your proven and demonstrable skills and technical knowledge and are the most important. These sections should feature prominently in your resume.
Q5. Is a cover letter necessary for a software engineer resume?
A cover letter is useful if you’re reaching out to the recruiters directly, or there is an option to upload a cover letter with your resume while applying for a job. Alternatively, if required, you can include a link to your cover letter in your resume in the header section.
Key points to consider if you’re writing a software engineer cover letter are:
- Don’t repeat information already covered in the resume
- Use it to provide additional information that cannot be explained in the resume; especially gaps in experience or reasons for a career change
- Use it as an introduction explaining your interest in the prospective role and why you would be a good fit
- Use appropriate keywords
Q6. What should I include in a resume for a new graduate/internship position/junior developer/entry-level software engineer?
If you have limited work experience, include information about personal projects or activities that demonstrate your software engineering skills and knowledge. This can include freelance projects and volunteer work. Mention technologies used as well as soft skills employed.
If you are a new graduate, place your educational information prominently:
- Mention degrees earned, including your majors and minors
- Mention relevant coursework and academic projects
- Mention research reports or any other publications
- Mention personal projects such as creating a website or an app
- List your GPA only if it’s impressive
- List endorsements by professors
Recommended Reading: How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship
Q7. What’s the easiest way to create a software engineering resume?
Resume building is not simple. You have to put in some effort to personalize and customize it based on your experience and the job you’re gunning for. However, the following are a couple of things you can do to simplify the process:
- Check out profiles of software engineers to understand how to draft a software engineering resume
- Use a software engineering resume template to prepare an ATS-optimized professional resume quickly and easily
Pro Resume Tip: A resume template will help you organize your information in clear sections to make it readable and recruiter-friendly. It will also help you ensure all pertinent information is included and enable you to tailor your resume to match the software engineering jobs you apply for.
We hope this article answered all your questions regarding the resume-building process for software engineers. Check out our blog page for more tips and information on software engineering interviews and careers.
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