How to Write a Software Developer Resume (With Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 6, 2022

Published September 7, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To improve your chances of getting hired for your dream software developer job, you need an effective resume. Your resume is the first impression prospective employers will have of you and affects their likelihood of inviting you to interview. Knowing how to create an impressive resume can help you get noticed by hiring managers. In this article, we discuss how to write a software developer resume and provide tips to help you write your own.

Related: How To Write a Resume

How to write a software developer resume

To create an effective resume, follow these five steps:

1. Start with a header

Include a header at the top of your resume. The header can consist of your name, phone number, email address, location, and links to professional websites, if relevant. Professional websites could be any website or link to a portfolio that showcases your experience, skills, or work for employers. Have your name be clearly visible, making it easy for employers to read and refer to if they want to contact you for more information or to schedule an interview. Consider making it two to four font points larger than the rest of your text.

Template

Here's a template you can use to help you write your header:

[Your Name]
[Phone number], [Email address], [City], [Province or Territory]
[Professional website]

Example

Here is an example based on the template above for a resume header:

Jacob Johnson
(555) 555-5555, JacobJohnson@email.com, Toronto, Ontario
JacobJohnson.ca

2. Include a professional summary

After your header, include a professional summary that inspires prospective employers to continue reading. A professional summary briefly describes who you are to help employers decide if you're a good fit for the role. Include your level of experience, skills, strengths and what you're looking for in the role. As this is just a summary, limit yourself to two to three sentences or bullet points and expand on them later in your resume.

Example

Review this example of a professional summary for a software developer:

Experienced software developer with over eight years of experience in mobile application development. Looking to join the team at Evergreen Games to use my technical skills and experience to create innovative applications. Excellent communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills after two years in a managerial role.

3. Highlight your skills

Depending on the format of your resume, your list of skills may come next. For example, if you have little work experience, typically three years or less, highlight your skills by listing them first. Your skills section can be a mix of hard and soft skills to show prospective employers you have experience and are suitable for the role.

To determine which skills to include, review job postings or descriptions you're interested in. Note any frequent keywords, such as in-depth knowledge of Java or strong problem-solving skills, and include them in your resume. This helps you be more memorable to prospective employers as you're showing them why you are qualified for the role. Write your skills as bullet points to make your resume easier to read.

Example

Here is an example of a resume skills section:

Skills

  • In-depth knowledge of Java, Python, and C++

  • Strong problem-solving skills

  • Excellent analytical skills

  • Ability to multi-task

  • Cloud computing skills

Related: Top Skills for Software Developer

4. Prioritize your experience

If you have a lot of relevant work experience, highlight it before your skills. If you have little, include your work experience next. Whether you choose to include your work experience before or after your list of skills, list the company you worked for, dates of employment, important contributions you made, and skills you gained. Include this information in three to seven bullet points for each role. This makes it easier for employers to read and includes enough detail for them to learn about you and your experience.

To make this section as relevant as possible, limit it to work experience you've had in the last 15 years. This can include formal positions, internships, or volunteer opportunities if they taught you valuable skills to use as a software developer. This ensures your work experience section is meaningful yet comprehensive as you can focus on highlighting the experience that applies to the position.

Example

Review this example of a work experience section for a resume:

Software Developer, Greenwood Technology | December 2018 - Present

  • Created mobile applications using Java and JavaScript

  • Enhanced existing mobile applications by adding new features or updates

  • Worked closely with the development team to produce excellent work

  • Reduced customer complaints by 10% on one application by fixing a bug

  • Developed in-depth privacy settings on each application to protect customers' information

Related: Writing a Resume With No Experience

5. List your education

Finally, list your education. You may choose to include your education in another section of your resume, depending on what you want to highlight. Typically, if you have less than three years of work experience, emphasize your education by placing this section under your professional summary. If you have more than three years of work experience, your education section can be listed at the bottom of your resume.

This section shows prospective employers you have the credentials they seek. As a software developer, you need a bachelor's degree, so employers will review your resume to ensure you have the proper education. Include the name of the school you attended, the type of bachelor's degree you earned, and when you graduated.

Example

Here is an example of an education section on a software developer resume:

Bachelor of Science Engineering, Computer Science, June 2020
Pine Grove University

Related: How to List Your Certifications on a Resume

Software developer resume tips

Before you submit your resume, consider the following tips:

Choose a format that works for you

Before you start writing your resume, decide on the format. Here are the three main resume formats for you to choose from:

  • Chronological format: This format is the most popular as it highlights your work experience by listing your most recent work position first. If you have prior work experience as a software developer, this may be the best format for your resume.

  • Functional format: If you have less than three years of work experience, use the functional format instead. This format focuses on your skills by placing them at the top of your resume. You still include your employment history, but it is at the end of your resume and less detailed.

  • Combination format: If you are unsure which of the two formats to choose, you can combine them. The combination format allows you to highlight your skills while still including your chronological work history. This shows employers that you have the relevant skills and work experience for the role.

Make it visually appealing

As many hiring managers only have a short amount of time to review a resume, aim to make it visually appealing to earn their attention. There are many resume templates available online you can choose from to create the ideal resume. If you want to create one yourself, remember to keep it simple and professional. Select a font that's readable in print and on a screen, such as Arial or Helvetica, and in an appropriate size, such as 10 to 12 points.

Start each section with a subheading, to help hiring managers know what they're reading. This also keeps the format of your resume simple, helping it to be more compatible with applicant tracking systems (ATS) many employers use. If you have too many columns, graphics, headers, or footers on your resume, it can make it harder for their ATS to recognize your information. This may cause your resume to get rejected. Keep your resume within one or two pages. If it is longer, hiring managers may ignore it.

Related: The Best Fonts for Your Resume

Limit yourself to key information

As you only have one to two pages, only include key information. For example, instead of including your entire address, just put the city and province or territory where you reside. Instead of writing long sentences to explain your skills or experience, use bullet points. If certain skills or experience are irrelevant to the position you're applying to, exclude them. Filling two pages is unnecessary since hiring managers are happy to read shorter resumes.

Create a new resume for every posting

Although this can be time-consuming, it's important to create a new resume for every job for which you are applying. Create a template to modify, and add in specific skills or formatting listed in each job description. Review each job posting to determine exactly what information to include or exclude in your resume.

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