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Why Software Engineers Need a Good Resume

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Team Interview Kickstart

Unlike a generalized tech resume, a software engineering resume is a compilation of your skills, talents, and experience as a software professional in the field of technology. 

Depending on which stage of your career you’re in, a software engineer’s resume highlights key aspects of your qualifications for a software engineering role or job at a company.  

A software engineering resume showcases your ability to write code and develop software applications using computer engineering principles and various programming languages. As an experienced software engineer, it also shows your deep and diverse expertise in the field of software engineering science and your ability to provide technical direction and leadership to large software projects and engineering teams.

A resume provides a solution to a company’s hiring problem. It tells a company why you’re the right person to help the company accomplish their goals, and how you can contribute value to the company.

In this article, we’ll talk about why having a good resume is important for a software engineer, the signs of a good resume, and how you can create an effective resume.

  • A Good Resume Helps You Stand Out Among the Competition
  • Top Reasons a Software Engineer Resume Gets Rejected
  • Do You Have a Good Software Engineer Resume? 
  • How to Create a Good Software Engineer Resume

A Good Resume Helps You Stand Out Among the Competition

Your resume is your primary way, if not your only way, to connect with a tech recruiter and land a tech interview or coding interview at any company in the software industry. It’s what sets off the hiring process at every tech company and how you’ll eventually land the software job of your dreams.

Getting your resume noticed by tech recruiters is the most crucial step to getting shortlisted for a tech interview.  

Here’s what you should know about hiring in the tech industry — software engineering is one of the most competitive job markets in the world today. The competition is only set to intensify further in the coming years.

The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics estimates a 22% growth in software engineering jobs from 2019 to 2030. 

This means the next decade is nothing short of a goldmine of opportunities for tech professionals in the software engineering field. If you’re a software engineer or aspiring to be one, you’re poised to ride the wave of success. But, you’re not the only one looking for a software job!

  • A growth in demand for software roles will draw an increasing number of new software engineering graduates to the field. 
  • As technology keeps evolving, better prospects in the software industry will cause many tech professionals to change career paths adding to the pool of software job applicants. 
  • If you’re an experienced software engineer, you know most organizational structures are narrow at the top, with few senior software engineer roles for the taking.

To land the tech job you desire, especially at FAANG companies, your resume has to stand out in a crowded software engineering job market. 

Getting Shortlisted Is Not Easy

The first leg of your tech interview prep involves applying for tech jobs. 

The most common way to apply for a software engineering job at any tech company is through an online job application. When you apply online, your resume gets thrown in the ring with just about every tech professional out there. It doesn’t matter who you are or which stage of your career you’re in.

Getting your resume noticed by a tech recruiter is the most challenging aspect of a software professional’s job search journey.

Getting into a FAANG company is harder than getting into an ivy league school. Large tech companies receive thousands of job applications a year. Google alone receives up to 2 million resumes a year (Inc.com).

An astounding 75% of all resumes submitted at FAANG companies are outrightly rejected during the job application stage. Tech recruiters reject a further majority of the 25% that make it through. 

Top Reasons a Software Engineer Resume Gets Rejected

Key reasons a software engineering resume gets rejected at top tech companies are:

  • It doesn’t appear in a tech recruiter’s searches
  • It fails the ATS screening process
  • It’s not recruiter-friendly
  • It doesn’t meet the software job requirements
  • It’s too generic or contains irrelevant information
  • It has too many errors or red flags
  • It doesn’t stand out in the face of competition

Do You Have a Good Software Engineer Resume? 

With many resources available, having a bad resume is an exceptional case, even if you’re a complete novice. 

In most cases, though, if you don’t get much success applying for tech jobs, what you may have, as most job aspirants do, is an ineffective resume

A software engineer’s resume is not just about packing information about you and your career in a couple of pages. It’s about how you present the information to achieve your resume goals. 

Here are a few signs that indicate you have an ineffective resume:

  • You get far too many rejections, especially in a short period of time
  • Your profile doesn’t get a lot of interest from tech recruiters
  • Your callback or response rate is unsatisfactory
  • You rarely land interviews
  • You receive unsatisfactory offers in terms of compensation or roles

A good software engineer resume is one that is effective

In an extremely competitive job market, an effective resume isn’t just one that gets you noticed by recruiters. It also helps you stand out from the rest of the applicants.

Perfect Software Engineer Resume = Grabs Recruiters’ Attention + Gives You a Competitive Hiring Edge

You know your resume is working for you when you apply for software engineering jobs and your resume:

  • Shows up in employer’s search results
  • Grabs a recruiter’s attention — you receive interest from a wide range of tech companies 
  • Gets an impressive response or callback rate
  • Helps you land tech interviews at companies of choice
  • Helps you get through tech interviews to land jobs at companies of choice
  • Helps establish your worth as a software professional in the tech industry 
  • Enables you to land competing offers and negotiate lucrative salaries 

How to Create a Good Software Engineer Resume

Recruiters at tech companies spend approximately 6 seconds per resume to decide whether to shortlist or reject it. 

With one of the widest talent pools in the job market, FAANG recruiters are responsible for ensuring only qualified applicants are shortlisted for interviews. 

Recruiters at FAANG+ companies are constantly inundated with resumes. This makes it impossible for a FAANG recruiter to read through every applicant’s resume. 

Pro Resume Tip: To be shortlisted for a tech or coding interview, your resume will have to be an excellent match for the prospective job. Crucially, it will also have to grab the recruiter’s attention.

Key aspects to ensure your software engineering resume gets noticed by FAANG+ recruiters:

  • Readability: Information should be well-organized and easy to register at a glance
  • Relevance: Information should be relevant to the prospective role
  • Competitiveness: Information should convey that you’re a good fit for the role and that you’re better than the other applicants 

Your resume should be appropriately structured such that it is both ATS-optimized and readable by recruiters. Failing these two criteria will result in a definite rejection.

An Application Tracking System (ATS) is a software designed to manage applications that a company receives.  Primary functions of an ATS include scanning resumes online, matching resumes to job descriptions, categorizing and storing information, and assigning a relevance-based score to resumes.

Here’s how you can ensure that your resume is ATS- and recruiter-friendly:

  1. Prioritize Content Over Design
  2. Provide a Professional Summary
  3. Create Logical Flow and Clear Sections 
  4. Use Appropriate Headings/Titles/Formatting
  5. Keep It to One Page
  6. Keep Your Resume Up to Date and Relevant
  7. Add the Necessary Contact information
  8. List Relevant Experience
  9. Highlight Key Skills
  10. List Successful Projects
  11. List Your Educational Qualifications and Certifications
  12. Showcase Contributions and Impact
  13. Highlight Achievements and Awards
  14. Customize Your Resume
  15. Don’t Exaggerate or Include Incorrect Information

For more details on each of these tips, read our detailed article on how to create an ATS- and recruiter-friendly resume.

Ready for Your Dream Job?

If you’re looking to uplevel and land your dream job at a FAANG+ company, your preparation must cover all ground. Not only should you have a stellar resume, but you also need to have an application strategy, interview prep plan, and salary negotiation strategy. 

Sounds like a lot? Join Interview Kickstart to get access to the most structured, researched, and proven tech interview prep program. We’ve trained over 9,000 software engineers to crack the most challenging coding interviews and land jobs at their dream companies, including Google, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Amazon, and more.

Our programs are designed and taught by recruiters and tech leads from FAANG+ companies, who will guide you through every phase of the interview process — application, interview, and offer negotiation.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our free webinar. 


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