Software engineer roles are highly rewarding, but the job market can be competitive.
It’s your software engineer CV that will showcase your skills and experience, making you attractive to the best employers.
In this guide, we include an excellent sample software engineer CV, as well as explain how to tailor your CV to the niche, and secure that all-important interview.
- Software Engineer CV example
- Structuring and formatting your CV
- Writing your CV profile
- Detailing work experience
- Your education
- Skills required for your Software Engineer CV
Software Engineer CV example
The CV example above shows exactly how a Software Engineer should present their skills and experience, in a well structured 2 page document.
This should give you a good idea of how to format your own CV, and the type of information you should be highlighting to recruiters and employees, in order to land interviews.
Software Engineer CV structure & format
If they can find the information they need quickly, they’ll be happy; but if they struggle, your application could be overlooked.
A simple and logical structure will always create a better reading experience than a complex structure, and with a few simple formatting tricks, you’ll be good to go. Check them out below:
- Length: Think that submitting a five page CV will impress recruiters? You’re wrong! Even if you’ve got tons of experience to brag about, recruiters don’t have time to read through overly detailed CVs. Keep it short, concise and relevant – a CV length of 2 sides of A4 pages or less is perfect.
- Readability: Columns, lists, bullet points, bold text and subtle colour can all help to aid the readability of your CV. Your overarching goal should be to make the content as easy to read and navigate as possible, whilst also aiming to make your key skills and achievements stand out.
- Design: When it comes to CV design, it’s best to keep things simple and sleek. While elaborate designs certainly command attention, it’s not always for the right reasons! Readability is key, so whatever you choose to do, make sure you prioritise readability above everything.
- Avoid photos: Logos, profile photos or other images aren’t necessary and rarely add any value – save the space for written content, instead!
Structuring your CV
Divide your CV into the following major sections when writing it:
- Name and contact details – Head your CV with your name and contact details, to let the reader know who you are and how to contact you.
- CV profile – A brief paragraph which summarises your skills and experience and highlights why you’re a good match for the role.
- Core skills list – A snappy, bullet-pointed list of your most relevant skills.
- Work experience – A structured list of your work experience in reverse chronological order.
- Education – A summary of any relevant qualifications or professional training you’ve completed.
- Hobbies and interests – An optional section, which should only be used if your hobbies are relevant to the jobs you’re applying to.
Now I’ll guide you through exactly what you should include in each CV section.
CV Contact Details
Tuck your contact details into the corner of your CV, so that they don’t take up too much space.
Stick to the basic details, such as:
- Mobile number
- Email address – It should sound professional, such as your full name.
- Location -Just write your rough location, rather than your full address.
- LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL – If you include these, ensure they’re sleek, professional and up-to-date.
Software Engineer CV Profile
Recruiters and hiring managers are busy, so it’s essential to catch their attention from the get-go.
It should be a short but punchy summary of your key skills, relevant experience and accomplishments.
Ultimately, it should explain why you’re a great fit for the role you’re applying for and inspire recruiters to read the rest of your CV.
Tips for creating an impactful CV profile:
- Keep it brief: The best CV profiles are short, sharp and highly relevant to the target role. For this reason, it’s best to write 3-4 lines of high-level information, as anything over might be missed.
- Tailor it: Recruiters can spot a generic, mass-produced CV at a glance – and they certainly won’t be impressed! Before you write your profile (and CV as a whole), read through the job advert and make a list of any skills, knowledge and experience required. You should then incorporate your findings throughout your profile and the rest of your CV.
- Don’t add an objective: Want to talk about about your career goals and objectives? While the profile may seem like a good space to do so, they’re actually much better suited to your cover letter.
- Avoid cliches: Focus on fact, not fluff. Phrases like “Committed and enthusiastic thought-leader” and “Dynamic problem solver” might sound fancy, but they’ll do nothing for your application. Not only do they sound cheesy, but they have no substance – stick to real skills and facts
What to include in your Software Engineer CV profile?
- Summary of experience: Recruiters will want to know what type of companies you’ve worked for, industries you have knowledge of, and the type of work you’ve carried out in the past, so give them a summary of this in your profile.
- Relevant skills: Employers need to know what skills you can bring to their organisation, and ideally they want to see skills that match their job vacancy. So, research your target roles thoroughly and add the most important Software Engineer skills to your profile.
- Essential qualifications: If you have any qualifications which are highly relevant to Software Engineer jobs, then highlight them in your profile so that employers do not miss them.
Quick tip: Your CV is your first impression on recruiters, so it’s vital to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes. Use a free writing assistant tool, like Grammarly, to check over your CV before hitting send.
Core skills section
In addition to your CV profile, your core skills section provides an easily digestible snapshot of your skills – perfect for grabbing the attention of busy hiring managers.
As Software Engineer jobs might receive a huge pile of applications, this is a great way to stand out and show off your suitability for the role.
It should be made up of 2-3 columns of bullet points and be made up of skills that are highly relevant to the jobs you are targeting.
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Work experience/Career history
By this point, employers will be keen to know more detail about you career history.
Starting with your most recent role and working backwards, create a snappy list of any relevant roles you’ve held.
This could be freelance, voluntary, part-time or temporary jobs too. Anything that’s relevant to your target role is well-worth listing!
Structuring your roles
Lengthy, unbroken chunks of text is a recruiters worst nightmare, but your work experience section can easily end up looking like that if you are not careful.
To avoid this, use my tried-and-tested 3-step structure, as illustrated below:
Start with a solid introduction to your role as a whole, in order to build some context.
Explain the nature of the organisation you worked for, the size of the team you were part of, who you reported to and what the overarching purpose of your job was.
“The Tech Firm is an IT consultancy firm specialising in IoT technology. As a Software Engineer, I assist in the development, testing and maintenance of all IoT systems to ensure full internal operational efficiency and the functioning of systems ahead of delivery to clients.”
Follow with a snappy list of bullet points, detailing your daily duties and responsibilities.
Tailor it to the role you’re applying for by mentioning how you put the target employer’s desired hard skills and knowledge to use in this role.
- Maintaining and auditing existing system infrastructure to ensure effective business operations
- Diagnosing system faults through testing hard and software IoT systems, resolving issues promptly
- Creating and implementing new software requirements to assist in company efficiency
Finish off by showcasing 1-3 key achievements made within the role.
This could be anything that had a positive effect on your company, clients or customers, such as saving time or money, receiving exemplary feedback or receiving an award.
- Creating a full IoT system for key transport client 2 months early and 10% under budget
- Developing a new API for a medical IoT device that was sold to client, bringing in £100,000
Next up, you should list your education and qualifications.
This can include your formal qualifications (a degree, A-Levels and GCSEs), as well as sector-specific Software Engineer qualifications and/or training.
While school leavers and recent grads should include a lot of detail here to make up for the lack of work experience, experienced candidates may benefit from a shorter education section, as your work experience section will be more important to recruiters.
Interests and hobbies
Although this is an optional section, it can be useful if your hobbies and interests will add further depth to your CV.
Interests which are related to the sector you are applying to, or which show transferable skills like leadership or teamwork, can worth listing.
On the other hand, generic hobbies like “going out with friends” won’t add any value to your application, so are best left off your CV.
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Essential skills for your Software Engineer CV
Tailoring your CV to the roles you are applying for is key to success, so make sure to read through the job descriptions and tailor your skills accordingly.
However, commonly desired Software Engineer skills include:
- Programming languages – Detail your level of skill in relevant programming languages such as C++, Java and Python, and any relevant qualifications covering these.
- Diagnostics – Creating, running and reporting on tests, as well as analysing code and software as needed.
- Project management skills – Demonstrate that you are capable of delivering a software project from start to finish, with resilience, in a constantly evolving environment, including the methods and techniques you use.
- Scientific and mathematical principles – Showcase your enquiry and logic skills to apply scientific and mathematical principles to all areas of software development from inception to analysis.
- Accuracy – Convey your keen attention to detail skills, as well as tenacity to uncover issues and present resolutions.
Writing your Software Engineer CV
A strong, compelling CV is essential to get noticed and land interviews with the best employers.
To ensure your CV stands out from the competition, make sure to tailor it to your target role and pack it with sector-specific skills and results.
Remember to triple-check for spelling and grammar errors before hitting send.
Good luck with the job search!