If you’re applying for an entry-level software engineering role, you’ll need a resume that stands out. Whether you taught yourself how to code, attended a bootcamp, or earned a computer science degree, there are foolproof ways to showcase your new skill set and leverage any relevant prior experience.
Check off these five boxes so you’ll know your entry-level software engineer resume has the components hiring managers at startups and tech companies are looking for.
5 must-haves for your entry-level software engineer resume
Past experience (that’s made relevant to software engineering).
Naturally, not everyone that is applying for software engineering roles has past experience in the industry. That doesn’t mean past experience is entirely irrelevant. While you don’t need to display your entire work history, you can cherry pick the points that are most relevant to either the role or the company you’re applying to.
This past experience may include: working with large data, learning different tech stacks or applying software to a business function, cross-department collaboration and leadership, among others.
Soft skills are applicable to all professions, but there are certain ones that lend themselves better to a budding software engineer. While it’s not common to list your soft skills on a resume, being able to speak to them in an interview or somehow showcase them through your past experience will help a hiring manager realize the way you work best.
Here are some of the soft skills shared by software engineers you can reference:
- Teamwork: There are a lot of stereotypes around software engineers being secluded and quiet, but the opposite is actually true: software engineering requires a lot of teamwork and collaboration.
- Communication: Because collaboration is so core to the software engineering role, communication becomes increasingly important to discuss problems, solutions, and gameplans to fix those problems.
- Problem solving: Speaking of problems, you’ll be solving a lot of them as a software engineer — especially early on in your career. Since you won’t be owning projects and writing code from scratch, you’ll likely be reading through already written code trying to find bugs or understand what’s causing issues.
- Adaptability and open-mindedness: When it comes to solving these problems and finding new solutions, a lot of software engineering involves thinking outside of the box. You’ll have to look at problems in different ways and likely talk to new kinds of people to get a better understanding of the problem and potential solutions.
Soft skills are important for a hiring manager to get to know you better, but the hard skills are what will sell you as an employee. These include the applicable skills you’ve learned on your own, at a bootcamp, or during your college studies, like:
- Object-oriented programming
- Software testing, debugging, and potentially code writing
- Software development tactics
Whether you list the languages, skills, and tools you’ve worked with out on a resume or showcase projects in a portfolio, it’s important for hiring managers to know what you’re proficient at and whether or not you can learn their tech stack easily.
The tech industry has always been ahead of the curb in that a college degree isn’t always required, especially at major companies like Amazon and Google. These organizations would rather you have the technical acumen they need to build software and other features to their services.
That’s not to say your previous education isn’t important, though. The same goes for any education you went through to learn your software engineering skills. For many of these organizations, coding bootcamps are notorious for training the languages most relevant for their business.
Make sure you list any and all education, as far back as high school, if necessary, because your degree or area of study may be relevant to the organization you’re applying for. Every industry now needs software engineers, so the breadth of experience applicants can have is more positive than ever before.
A link to view your portfolio or project reel.
If you don’t already have a portfolio or a link where hiring managers can view projects that showcase your language proficiency, you need to make one! If you don’t have a portfolio, there’s no way for a company to guarantee that you know the skills they’re looking for in their next employee.
A portfolio also gives you an opportunity to brand yourself, show additional relevant experience, and add an option to download your resume. Hiring managers are often looking through hundreds of applicants a day; by giving them everything they need and allowing them to access it easier, you’ll stick out in a crowded market.
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