5 Entry Level Software Engineer Resume Examples & Guide for 2023

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It’s time for you to start looking for a job in the tech industry and you need a foolproof resume.

We know it’s tough for first-timers. Especially with all the tech layoffs in the past few months.

So, what would make you stand out?

To write an exceptional entry-level Software Engineer resume, you must focus your efforts on:

  • Constructing a convincing experience section
  • Knowing which skills to include and how
  • Building a pairing cover letter to support your application

Our complete guide will teach you all this and more. Read on.

Choose an appropriate format for your entry-level software engineer resume

Given that you’re just entering the tech business world, you must consider your choice of resume format carefully.

Recruiters tend to favor the reverse-chronological resume format. It’s intuitive and readable.

You can opt for this layout, if you’ve been a prolific project-maker over the years. Not only in school, but as a hobby, too.

Yet, if you’ve stuck to the traditional academic path and haven’t tried your luck with the gig economy, use the functional resume format.

Its layout pushes your technical and social skills to the forefront. While any projects and internships you’ve done are pushed to the bottom of the resume.

If, however, you fall somewhere in-between or you’re career hopping, the hybrid resume format is your best choice.

This layout provides enough real estate for you to share relevant experience and any transferable abilities you have.

Once you pick an option that fits your expertise level, it’s time to concentrate on some format specifics.

A while ago we conducted an internal research to check out whether there are any changes in how ATS tools assess different resumes.

We wanted to verify which factors make or break a resume in 2023.

Our research found that formatting and typos are still the most important dealbreakers. Other crucial components are:

  • Colors and Design: These depend on the prospective employer. You can appeal to the company’s brand colors, but stray away from bold ones. Keep it tasteful.
  • Fonts: It goes without saying - avoid using Comic Sans or other similar fonts. You can choose from any of the popular ones in the Google library.
  • Length/Columns: Since you’re a software engineering fresher, it would be difficult to go beyond one page. Instead, think about how not to leave blank spaces.
  • Section Headings: It’s important to note that ATS tools rely on appropriately named sections. Make sure you label them accordingly.
  • File Format: PDFs are favored among most tech companies. But if you have a specific employer in mind, think outside the box.
pro tip icon
Pro tip

If you’ve always wanted to be part of a particular company, research their style, company culture and mission.

Consider using a non-standard resume layout, such as an interactive web-based format.

Reference relevant industry profiles in the resume header

By now you’re probably aware that you can’t rely on your education alone. You must display your skills in action.

As such, one of the first things hiring managers will check is your GitHub activity.

The best way to introduce your work to recruiters and tech managers is by adding your GitHub in the resume header.

Along with your:

  • First and last name
  • Current job title or preferred job title, if you’re switching careers
  • Phone number
  • Professional email address
  • LinkedIn profile or a portfolio link, if you can showcase projects outside your GitHub.

If you’re not sure whether to place something in the resume header, regard the section as your business card.

Take a look at how Gustavo Zanetti has framed his:

Gustavo Zanetti
Junior Software Engineer
+1-316-555-5555
help@enhancv.com
Wichita, KS
RIGHT

Outline the tech stack you’re working with in the resume summary

Typically, a key component of your resume would be the resume summary. You can still choose to write one if you have industry-related achievements to boast about.

But if you’re just starting out, think about writing a resume objective. It’s similar to the summary in terms of purpose. The only difference is its focus.

Rather than displaying career achievements, tailor the resume objective towards the company’s core projects.

Prove that your skills will benefit your prospective employer. Listing your tech stack will also help you move up into the pile of resumes.

ATS tools boost resumes which mention tools and programming languages near the top of the document.

How do you do that?

In a short paragraph of 5-6 sentences talk about:

  • Number of years in the tech industry
  • Qualifications and talents you have to offer
  • Any relevant milestones you think will improve your chances of getting hired

Compare the examples below. While the two candidates have different employment backgrounds, both are focused on project outcomes and professional development.

Summary
Certified Software Engineer with 2 years of experience in developing features for Android, iOS and Web applications for educational platforms. Helped ABC company expand its business operations to 6 new countries by developing over 35 features for its language-learning application, using Java, Kotlin, Android and IOS SDK, Swift and JavaScript. This attracted more than 1.7 million new customers to its platforms and earned $34 million in yearly revenue. Skilled in testing, troubleshooting, debugging, and working cross-functionally. Currently undergoing training for CIW Web Development Professional certification.
RIGHT
Summary
Experienced Software Engineer of 7 years, specializing in developing and supporting the server-side of ERP and CRM platforms with PHP, Laravel, Symfony, Java, Scala and C#. At XYZ company, achieved an increase of over 70 million new customers across 5 different client platforms, thus boosting YoY profits to $11.2 billion for 2022. Increased PQR company's market share by 60%, following a complete overhaul of the security and encryption mechanism of their signature product. Published 38+ papers on best code practices and improving code quality. Certified SAP Development Associate and ABAP for HANA specialist.
RIGHT

Include internships in your software engineer experience section

Depending on the type of resume format you choose, the size and position of your work experience section will vary.

Also, keep in mind that internships take precedence over side projects.

Why?

Having experience working in a corporate environment shows that you:

  • Know how to operate in a team
  • Focus on specific tasks
  • Make small contributions to larger projects

But don’t count personal projects out yet.

They prove that you have the discipline and time management skills to see your work through to the end.

When it comes to structure of your experience section, make sure you:

  • Arrange your entries in a reverse-chronological order
  • Mention your job title
  • State the name and location of your past employer, followed by a succinct description of its business focus
  • List the dates of your employment or project involvement
  • Summarize your top accomplishments in no more than 5 bullet points

Note that each of the achievements in your entries must start with an action verb. Then, continue describing a challenge you’ve tackled and the successful outcome.

Don’t forget to tie your results to data and numbers when possible. For example:

Leveraged consumer feedback, business data and log reports to develop 12 new features, thus increasing customer satisfaction by 140%.

But if you can’t cite numbers, remember that your phrasing is important. For instance:

Supported ABC company’s tech infrastructure overhaul by conducting seamless server migrations, implementing new caching methods and increasing user load.

Have a look at the following sample section for some inspiration:

Gustavo Zanetti
Senior Software Engineer
BeConnected
Wichita, KS
www.example.com
A Kansas-based provider of software development and technical support services to companies in the travel and lodging industry.
  • Increased the NPS score of our signature product to 8.9 by expanding the customer analytics and reporting functions of the platform.
  • Reduced CFR to 2.8% by updating current technical documentation and organizing a series of educational sessions among team members.
  • Boosted the traffic of 10+ traveling websites by 300% by developing search and filtering endpoints, handling information from 7 airlines and lodging websites.
  • Onboarded 5 new clients after presenting a streamlined way of handling payment endpoint errors at DevTernity 2022.
RIGHT

Don’t list your high school diploma if you have a master’s degree

We said that education isn’t everything. But your academic background is crucial because it shows how you’ve acquired your expertise.

If you’re aiming for a role in a more innovative field, having a good foundational knowledge in math is crucial.

In this case, list your bachelor’s and master’s degree on the education section of your resume. If asked, state your GPA, but only if it’s above 3.5.

Still, if you’re a self-taught professional, focus on your highest level of education and your certificates. And don’t include your high school diploma if you have a master’s degree.

Apart from your GPA, make sure to list the:

  • Full name of your degree with relevant majors and minors included
  • Name of the educational institution
  • Course length and date of validity, if applicable

Here is a sample education section you can use:

Gustavo Zanetti
MS Computer Science
Kansas State University
Manhattan, Kansas
GPA
3.7
/
4.0
RIGHT

Compensate the tech talk by highlight your software engineering soft skills

It’s easy to fall into the tech talk trap, especially if you’re too involved in the industry. But don’t forget that not every hiring manager is familiar with the essence of your work.

Sure, they will consult with the manager of the respective hiring team. But before your resume reaches the manager it must pass both the ATS tests and the HR review.

To do that, you must balance out your hard skills and your social talents.

Let’s focus on your tech abilities first. As we mentioned in the beginning, outlining your tech stack in the resume objective is necessary.

It’s even more important to continue referencing your abilities in the experience section and the skills section.

If you haven’t had the chance to list all of your tech talents or you think you’re forgetting something, check out the table below for ideas:

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Key 50 technical skills for software engineers:

  • Programming
  • Debugging
  • Troubleshooting
  • Testing skills
  • Automation skills
  • Software design
  • Data structures
  • Algorithm
  • Data science
  • Data analytics
  • Application development
  • Features development
  • Web development
  • SDLC
  • GitHub
  • TypeScript
  • RESTful API
  • PHP
  • Oracle
  • Java
  • C#
  • C++
  • C-Objective
  • Swift
  • Kotlin
  • Python
  • MongoDB
  • PostgreSQL
  • GraphQL
  • Django
  • JavaScript
  • AngularJS
  • Node.js
  • Passport.js
  • JWT
  • Ruby on Rails
  • ASP.NET
  • Unix/Linux
  • Windows
  • MacOS
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Docker
  • J2EE
  • Kubernetes
  • Spring Boot
  • Cloud technology
  • Report writing
  • Documentation management
  • CI/CD

Providing context and results for soft skills is considerably more difficult. But it’s not impossible.

Concentrate on how your work has affected those around you.

Has your work helped solve a painful issue? Did anyone benefit from using your products?

Do you have a knack for learning new things?

Also, take into account the job description. Confirm which qualities are hiring managers looking for.

When you have your list ready, employ the same Challenge-Action-Result (CAR) method you used in the experience section:

Strengths
Task delegation
Reduced project delivery time by 35% by improving team communication, setting clear objectives, providing structured feedback and assisting teams when issues arise.
Attention to detail
Cut rework time by 8 hours per week by conducting comprehensive requirements analysis and identifying code inconsistencies and gaps.
Growth mindset
Boosted application response time by 70% as a result of investigating and identifying critical performance bottlenecks.
RIGHT

And if you’re stuck and can’t come up with examples for your own skills section, we have some recommendations:

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34 fundamental soft skills for software engineering:

  • Teamwork
  • Collaborative
  • Problem-solving
  • Patience
  • Creative thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Organizational skills
  • Time management
  • Task delegation
  • Ability to work cross-functionally
  • Project management
  • Adaptability
  • Flexibility
  • Communication skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Reverse engineering skills
  • Prototyping
  • Planning
  • Accuracy
  • Attention to detail
  • Attentive
  • Efficient
  • Growth mindset
  • Responsibility
  • Accountability
  • Networking
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Agile
  • Scrum
  • Ability to receive feedback
  • Resourcefulness
  • Trustworthiness
  • Confidentiality

Showcase your entry-level software engineering certificates

If your professional and academic background is not tech-related, the best way to prove you have what it takes to do the job is with certificates.

Show that you’re up to date with industry trends and best practices.

To make your certificates section complete, fill in the:

  • Name of your certificate
  • Issuing institution
  • Year of obtainment or expected completion
  • Expiration date (if applicable)

Among the many certificates you can add to your resume, it’s recommended you include those that confirm you know your programming basics.

Some good suggestions are:

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Essential 25 software engineering certificates for your resume:

  1. Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP) (IEEE)
  2. Certified Internet Web Professional (CIW)
  3. Oracle (OCP, OCM, OCE)
  4. Oracle APEX
  5. Java Programming and Data Structures
  6. Oracle Java EE and Web Services Certification
  7. C Programming Language Certified Associate (CLA)
  8. C++ Certified Associate Programmer (CPA)
  9. C Certified Professional Programmer (CLP)
  10. C++ Certified Professional Programmer (CPP)
  11. Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (ISC)
  12. Salesforce
  13. AWS certificates
  14. Microsoft Azure Certificates
  15. Google Cloud
  16. Google IT Support Professional Certificate
  17. Google UX Design Certificate
  18. Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)
  19. Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
  20. Microsoft MCSE Productivity Solutions Expert
  21. Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
  22. IBM Certified Database Administrator
  23. SAP Certified Technology Associate (SAP HANA)
  24. VMware Certified Professional
  25. Certified Associate in Software Testing (CAST)

Prove you are the right candidate by adding other relevant sections

One big plus about resumes is that you can attach extra sections with relevant information to impress recruiters.

Tech is practically everywhere now, so there’s plenty of ways to stand out:

  • Memberships in university clubs or relevant associations
  • List of projects, services and products you developed
  • Awards from hackathons and competitions
  • Presentations, project pitches, patents or papers you’ve authored

As long as you can boast any of these, your chances of getting hired grow exponentially.

Support your outstanding software engineering resume with a fitting cover letter

You may think that cover letters are a thing of the past. But they are the best way to highlight your achievements and your character.

To show that your personality and work attitude match the corporate culture, pair your resume with a quality cover letter.

Divide your letter into three sections:

  • In the first paragraph, address the recruiter and list your top 1-2 achievements. You can repeat the ones you’ve included in the resume summary.
  • The second section is reserved for your core abilities, along with some background on how you’ve attained them. Share more about your personal experiences.
  • Finally, thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration. Notify them how and when you can be contacted, should they want to discuss your resume with you.

Key takeaways

  • Take into account your experience when picking a suitable resume format
  • Share your GitHub and portfolio links in the resume header
  • Reference the tech stacks you’re proficient in
  • List your internships at the top of the experience section
  • Describe how you’ve handled professional challenges so far and what you’ve learned
  • Bring variety to your resume by adding additional sections to your resume
  • Make sure your cover letter compliments your job application

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