How To Write a Software Engineer Cover Letter (With Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 2, 2022 | Published October 18, 2021

Updated October 2, 2022

Published October 18, 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.

Related: How To Write a Cover Letter: Top 3 Tips, Format & Examples

In this video, Holl explains what employers want from a cover letter, the optimal cover letter format, and 3 key strategies for success.

A software engineer is a technology professional who develops systems and software for businesses. When applying for a job as a software engineer, it can be helpful to include a cover letter. Learning more about cover letters for software engineer positions can help you create a more effective application document and increase your chances of getting hired. In this article, we explain what a software engineer cover letter is, explore how to write one, learn tips to help make yours more effective, and review an example to help you create your own.

What is a software engineer cover letter?

A software engineer cover letter is a document that informs an employer of your key qualifications for the job. A cover letter is typically the first impression you make on a prospective employer and can help you demonstrate your personality, experience, knowledge, and skills. Here are some details you can include in a cover letter for a software engineer position:

  • work experience in software development

  • soft and technical skills

  • certifications

  • licenses

Read more: How To Address A Cover Letter (With Examples)

How to write a cover letter for a software engineer role

Here are the steps you can take to create an effective cover letter for a software engineer role:

1. Review the job description

Read the job description carefully to understand the type of candidate the employer is looking to hire. Highlight the key qualifications, such as educational background, length of experience, and skills, necessary for the role. Reviewing the job description enables you to write your cover letter in a way that matches the job requirements. The job description can also contain specific details about the company, such as a physical address, phone number, and email address that are useful when addressing your letter. Be sure to review the specific details about how to submit your job application.

2. Decide on the cover letter format

There are many formats you can choose from when deciding on the format for your cover letter. The traditional three-paragraph format is typically suitable for most jobs, including software engineer positions. This format is easy to scan and helps the employer learn more about you with little difficulty. Check whether the company has its own template that they prefer candidates to use.

3. Formulate your heading

A cover letter is an official document that uses the business letter format. Create a header for your cover letter that lists all your important details, such as your full name, contact information, mailing address, email address, and phone number. Also indicate the date you are sending the letter. Add a line and include the recipient's contact information. If you are sending your cover letter electronically, you can avoid writing the company's address.

4. Introduce yourself

In the first paragraph of your cover letter, introduce yourself to the hiring manager. Tell them why you're writing and the position you're applying for. A strong introduction is essential in conveying your professionalism and personality. It also invites the hiring manager to read the rest of your cover letter and other application documents. Keep the introduction brief, ideally only three sentences or fewer.

Read more: How To Become A Mobile App Developer (With FAQs and Steps)

5. Write the body of the cover letter

The second and third paragraphs form the body of your cover letter. This section aims to demonstrate to the employer how they might benefit from hiring you. Mention your most recent role and most important accomplishments. Revisit the job posting to enable you to align your qualifications and skills with the key competencies required. Indicate technical and soft skills that make you a suitable candidate for the position. You can include a maximum of three examples of skills and achievements to convince the hiring manager that you're a strong candidate. If you have certifications, mention them in this section.

6. Include a call to action

Conclude your cover letter with a call to action and mention that you hope to hear from them. Show enthusiasm and invite the reviewer to read your resume and any other application documents. If you have an online portfolio, such as a website of software development projects, provide a link to help the employer access it easily. Encourage them to contact you if they require additional information. Close the letter by thanking the employer for their time and consideration. End with a closing salutation such as Sincerely, Kind regards, or any other acceptable salutation.

Related: What to Expect from Software Engineer Interview Questions

7. Proofread and sign

Review your cover letter to identify grammatical, typographical, and formatting errors. It's advisable to use online grammar and spelling tools to flag any errors. Alternatively, a friend can help you identify any mistakes. After determining the cover letter is error-free, include your signature. If you are sending an electronic application, a signature might be unnecessary.

Related: How To Apply To Jobs Online in 16 Actionable Steps

Cover letter writing tips for software engineers

Here are several tips you can consider for writing a cover letter for a software engineer position:

Use numbers in your examples

Provide evidence of your contributions in previous roles by including figures. Using figures such as percentages, size, and amounts help convince the hiring manager of your suitability for the job. For instance, if you developed software that has become a market leader, you can state the number of users or how much money the software has saved companies. Figures and symbols such as "%" or "$" also stand out in your cover letter, and employers are more likely to notice them.

Make your letter unique

Use your cover letter to focus on your strengths and skills that demonstrate you're a suitable candidate. For instance, if you have participated in a coding boot camp, mention this in your cover letter as it shows your commitment to improving your technical skills. You can also be unique by highlighting your experience with a particular coding language.

Avoid generic greetings

Consider using personalized salutations to gain the attention of the hiring manager. Generic greetings such as Dear Sir/Madame or To whom it may concern are impersonal and outdated. Look for the hiring manager's name on the company website and directly address them in your cover letter. You can also contact the company to get their name if you are unable to find it.

Praise the company

Include a few lines in your cover letter dedicated to the company. Conduct background research about the organization, such as workplace culture or community involvement, to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role. Reinforce that you're a good fit by mentioning some desirable traits that seem to fit in with the company.

Align document styles

Align your cover letter and resume by using the same fonts and font sizes. You can also use a similar header in both documents. Using a consistent style in your application documents creates a visual brand, and demonstrates your organization skills and attention to detail.

Format your cover letter

A well-formatted cover letter increases your chances of the employer reading the entire document. Consider these tips for formatting your cover letter:

  • Use basic fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial, font size 10 to 12, with slightly larger fonts for your header.

  • Adopt a one-inch margin throughout the page.

  • Include a space between paragraphs to improve readability.

  • Justify your text to the left to create additional white space to the right.

  • Split long paragraphs into two or more to improve readability.

Include a postscript

You can consider including a postscript at the bottom of your cover letter. A postscript is a great way of gaining the attention of the recruiter because it's noticeable. The postscript can provide information you want the employer to remember, such as a key accomplishment, an industry award you received, or a successful project you lead.

Related: How To Become a Game Engineer in 7 Steps (With Salaries)

Cover letter example for software engineers

Here's an example of a cover letter for software engineers that you can use to write your own:

James Jones
1020 College Street
Queensville, Toronto

September 30, 2021

Dear Mr. Christian,

My name is James Jones, and I'm writing to express my interest in the software engineer position you advertised yesterday. As someone who is deeply analytical and attentive to detail, I find myself to be very suitable for this role.

In my previous role as a software developer at Pink Can Software Industries, I developed innovative solutions for fintech companies. Specifically, I lead the development of the best mobile finance app of 2021, according to a recent consumer survey. The app has 10 million users and has enabled two fintech companies to grow their market value by 60% in the last three months.

I understand you are looking to start a mobile micro-loan product, and I couldn't think of a more exciting time to join your team. Being a certified developer for various platforms, proficient in multiple coding languages, and a proven team player, I believe I can be a great addition to your team.

Please review my resume attached. I hope to hear from you to further explore my suitability for this role. Thank you for your time and consideration.

James Jones

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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