Even though the number of people majoring in CS was in decline just a few years ago, the number of CS undergraduates in 2019 has doubled from that of 2017.
So how do you apply for, say, Amazon or Google, knowing that about a few thousand of your peers will probably do the same?
There’s only so many decent tech companies to work for. Naturally, it all comes down to how good your computer science resume is.
In this computer science resume guide, you will:
- Study 14 computer science resume samples and templates
- Learn what recruiters pay attention to when scanning a resume;
- Learn how to write computer science resume with no experience;
- Understand how to write a computer science student resume or entry-level computer science resume;
- Learn what resume sections to prioritize.
The Best Computer Science resume examples
Entry level computer science resume sample
Student computer science resume example
Computer science internship resume sample
Looking for related Computer Science resume guides?
- IT Intern resume examples
- Entry-Level Software Engineer resume examples
- Entry-Level Network Engineer resume examples
- IT Support resume examples
- Data Scientist resume examples
- Web Developer resume examples
What is the best format for a Computer Science resume
The most common approach to writing a resume is stating your experience in a reverse-chronological order, starting with the latest one.
However, computer science resume sections don’t have a strict order.
Recruiters will read your resume from top to bottom, so start strong.
For more tips on how to format your resume, check out The Best Resume Formats You Need to Consider (5+ Examples Included).
How to write a Computer Science resume header?
As mentioned before, a computer science degree can be applied to lots of jobs, and not a single one of them is titled “Computer Science job”. Well, except for CS professors.
What that means is you have to use the same title as the job you’re applying for. There’s a big difference between “Cloud Computing Engineer” and “Network Architect”.
In case the job title calls for an intern, put that there, too. Otherwise, go with just the job title.
2 Computer Science resume header samples
The second most important thing about your header section is the link to your profile. In 99% of cases, that should be a link to your GitHub with your projects and contributions to other projects.
That demonstrates two things: that you actually can code and that you can collaborate on major projects with others.
If your resume is being reviewed by a technical superior, a GitHub profile is like a Rorschach painting to a therapist.
They’ll know a lot about you - your code efficiency, how clean your code is, organization, and comments.
If you don’t have one, link to your personal blog, online publications, or even student projects.
If you’re going for a C# game developer, link to your Unity3D hobby projects. Network engineer? A student article about your campus network update, or Cisco community profile.
One word - relevance.
When linking to personal projects, don’t miss the chance to talk about the project’s background. What was the project for, and what did it achieve.
Keep in mind, you can have links to several profiles in your header section (but don’t add more than 2-3).
Learn more about the perfect resume header here: Perfecting Your Resume Header so You Get Noticed.
You need a Computer Science Resume Objective that makes impact
If you’re going to write a resume objective for your computer science resume, it should be perfect. Otherwise, drop it altogether.
Generic “I'm passionate about looking for a job in technical industry” just won’t do it.
3 Computer Science resume objective samples
Here are a few things that may look good on your resume objective:
- Highly-relevant project work
- Internship in prominent tech companies
- Winning hackathons & programming competitions
There’s no need to mention your GPA unless yours is well above 3.0, or you graduated from Princeton University.
If your education background is that convincing, start with it. The objective, in that case, will be unnecessary.
This is especially true for recent computer science grads who don’t have much experience.
If you have experience in software development, that’s a different story.
Here’s how your Summary will look:
For a deeper dive into resume summaries, go to 83 Resume Summary Examples & How-To Guide For 2021.
If you’re looking for an objective instead, read 10+ Resume Objective Examples & How To Guide for 2021.
How to approach experience section in your Computer Science resume [with examples]
Any development practice such as student projects, internships, or contributions to open-source projects can be framed as part of your experience.
Below is an example of a typical experience section found in many computer science student resumes:
3 Computer Science student resume experience samples
One of the most convincing ways to describe your experience is to use the STAR framework, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
Here’s an example:
- Situation: a lead developer for university lab website
- Task: eliminate poor website performance during peak hours study hours
- Activity: migrated the existing website’s database to a more optimal noSQL solution
- Result: zero student complaints and 100% website uptime during peak study hours
Always frame your experience in the context of the specific job description.
For example, if you’re applying for a database developer position, build your experience section around database development and management.
Include relevant technologies that you used to work with in your narrative. Don’t forget to apply the STAR framework:
For more ideas on how to create an actionable resume experience section, check out our guide How to Describe Your Resume Work Experience.
Let’s talk in detail about ATS filters and tech skills in the following Skills section.
Computer Science resume skills list
First, you need to prioritize the skills that the current job description requires.
This will help you to pass automatic HR filters and prove your relevance to the job.
Take a look at this snippet from a real job description:
- Minimum of 1-year experience in programming and software development using at least two programming languages, preferably Java, C++, Python, Node.js and/or R
- Knowledge of development and deployment on a cloud-based environment like IBM BlueMix, AWS, Azure, etc.
- Use Git, Bitbucket and Jira applications in embedded software design.
You will list those in your Skills section first. However, never lie on your resume. You should only list those skills that you’ve had direct experience with.
How to put technical skills on your Computer Science resume:
Given how different computer science jobs can be, technical skills that are crucial for one position might just be of a supporting nature to another.
Of course, the technical skill set for database developers or mobile application developers will be completely different.
Below are the technical skills you’ll find most often in computer science resumes:
Should you mention soft skills in your Computer Science resume?
You should prioritize technical skills over soft skills with almost every computer science resume layout, or consider dropping them altogether.
Although we usually recommend putting soft skills in a real world context, for strictly technical positions this may occupy too much space that could be better used expanding more crucial sections.
Below is a list of the most common skills you’ll find in computer science resumes that you can use on your resume:
Craft the best skills section with the following tips: How to Create A Resume Skills Section To Impress Recruiters (+10 Examples You Need to See).
Now that we’ve dealt with the Skills section, let’s talk about your Education section.
Writing the most convincing education section for your Computer Science resume
There are three instances when you should definitely prioritize it:
- You graduated from a prestigious technical university. Think Princeton, Harward, Ivy League
- You have a well above average GPA (3.5+)
- You have a highly relevant coursework portfolio.
Relevant coursework is very important, especially if you’re applying for a niche computer science specialty.
For example, if you’re going for a data scientist position, highlighting that you went through Probability & Statistics, Python Development, Linear Algebra and Machine Learning gives you extra points.
If you’re going for a position related to robotics, A.I, or, for example, machine design, Human Computer Interaction & A.I. coursework are highly relevant.
Database developer intern? Distributed Data Warehouses, SQL, Concurrent vs Parallel programming, and so on.
You can decide what to prioritize by learning more about the position you’re applying for from the description and the company’s website.
No need to list all the coursework you did, otherwise it will take space from other important sections of your resume.
Browse more essential tips on how to feature education on your resume, in our guide Perfecting the Education Section on Your Resume.
Talking about important sections, what does your Projects' section tell about you?
The Impact of Personal Projects on your Computer Science Internship resume
The way you format your Projects' section is very similar to the way you format your Experience section. Think STAR framework.
Pick up the computer science projects that are the most relevant to the position you’re applying for.
If you don’t have much working experience, but a nice portfolio of relevant personal projects, consider substituting the Experience section with a Projects section.
Also, if your projects are available online, provide links to them in your resume.
Let’s talk about the Certificates section.
Are certificates a good thing for a Computer Science resume?
Certificates are tricky.
For different positions, certificates may give you a huge boost of authority among recruiters, or clutter your resume with unwanted details.
For example, if you’re applying for a position in network security, your Cisco Certified Network Associate, i.e. CCNA certificate, would mean a huge deal.
The very same certificate will hold much less value on your data science resume.
There are many technical certifications available to you these days, so focus your attention only on those that will make your computer science more relevant and authoritative.
For more information on how to properly list resume certifications, we recommend reading our guide How To List Certifications On A Resume (Examples Included).
Finally, let’s talk about your achievements.
The role of Achievements in Computer Science Intern resume
Achievements can include vital contributions to open-source projects you are proud of, hackathon awards, and even failed startups.
You can also list achievements that are not necessarily of a technical nature, but are related to it.
For example, managing a team of students during a hackathon, publications or features in authoritative tech-magazines, and so on.
This is a great opportunity to emphasize your organization and soft skills in a practical context.
However, make sure your achievements really catch the eye.
Other sections to include on your resume
Depending on the company, job seniority level and your location, you may want to include more sections to your Computer Science resume:
- Language skills
- Volunteer work
- LinkedIn on Resume
- Resume Awards
Computer Science Cover Letter Tips
In case the job description says you need to provide a cover letter, do include yours. Otherwise, you can always leave it out.
Nowadays, job application forms include questions like “why do you want to work here”, or “explain why you’re the best fit for us”, which makes you wonder are cover letters really necessary?
Still, they help you tell your story in a way that, if written right, it’s captivating and engaging.
In any case, you should pay close attention to the following tips when a cover letter is a must:
- Make sure you go over a cover letter checklist, not to forget what your cover letter should say;
- Match the cover letter design with your resume’s;
- Address your cover letter properly;
- Keep an eye on your cover letter length;
- Use a proper cover letter ending;
If you need more inspiration for a Computer Science cover letter, check out our 60+ Cover Letter Examples.
Final Takeaways: CS Resume Tips
- Make the best out of your computer science experience even if you never worked full-time before
- Carefully study the job description to understand what technical skills to prioritize in the Skills section
- Format your experience according to the STAR framework, making it more interesting for the recruiters
- Use our computer science resume templates to make your resume more detailed and effective
- Don’t write a computer science objective just for the sake of it. Consider replacing it with Education or Computer Science Projects sections that looks more convincing :)