If you're still wondering why you haven't been shortlisted by some of the top tech companies, the culprit could be your software engineer resume. Even highly qualified candidates often miss out on opportunities due to poorly crafted resumes. However, don't jump to the conclusion that you lack qualifications – the real issue might be how your resume is presenting your skills and experiences.
Fear not, though! In this post, I'll guide you through the best practices for preparing a compelling software engineer resume. From setting up an ATS-friendly template to optimizing its content for top-notch companies like FAANG, you'll learn how to stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of landing your dream job.
Most top tech companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen and parse through resumes, even before they reach human eyes. Many companies have different ATS screening softwares which can make creating a resume difficult, because it will only pass a handful of screeners.
Luckily, you can user the Refer Me Resume Builder (opens in a new tab) that will create an ATS friendly resume builder for you. If you'd like to create one yourself though, you can use the following tips to ensure your resume passes ATS screenings:
- Use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to create and edit your resume. These platforms are ATS-friendly and ensure your content is easily readable by the system.
- Save your resume as a PDF file to preserve its formatting, ensuring that it looks the same to recruiters as it does to you.
- Reduce the margins of your resume to maximize space on the page, but maintain readability and consistency.
- Avoid using graphic design tools or online resume builders, as ATS may struggle to interpret complex layouts.
Your professional summary can be a game-changer, capturing the attention of hiring managers in a concise yet impactful way. This section summarizes your entire professional experience and explains why you are an ideal fit for the job. Here's how to create an outstanding software engineer resume summary:
- Identify your best selling points from your professional experience, such as specific skills or key accomplishments.
- Condense these selling points into a summary of less than 50 words, using an active voice and action-oriented language.
- Start your summary with a clear job role noun, such as "Software Engineer" or "Front End Engineer."
- Write a headline for your summary, giving it a unique and attention-grabbing touch.
Your contact information is crucial for recruiters to get in touch with you. Make sure it is easily accessible and presented clearly:
- Include your name, personal phone number, and email address at the top of your resume.
- Provide your location, including city, state, and zip code, to indicate whether you are a local or international candidate.
- Add your LinkedIn profile and other relevant links, such as GitHub, personal website, or Stack Overflow, to showcase your online presence.
The skills section of your resume is an opportunity to highlight your expertise and technology stack. Follow these tips to showcase your skills effectively:
- Structure the skills section with a [Skill summary] : [List of skills separated by "|"] format for clarity.
- Optionally, mention your familiarity with specific programming languages by the number of lines you have written (e.g., "Over 10,000 lines").
Your work experience section should demonstrate the value you bring to a potential employer. List your work experience in reverse chronological order, including the company, location, title, and duration. To make your work experience stand out, highlight your top accomplishments using the following structure:
- [Accomplishment summary] : [Action you took] that resulted in [quantifiable outcome]
While most software engineering jobs require at least an undergraduate degree, the education section should not overshadow your work experience. Here's how to present your education:
- Include your degree name, year of graduation, university name, and GPA (if it is high and worth mentioning).
In addition to education, include at least two projects you have contributed to, outlining your key contributions. Link your projects to GitHub or relevant platforms for easy access by hiring managers.
Showcase any awards, accolades, or certifications that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Quantify your accomplishments and use the [Year][Quantification] [Competition] format to make them stand out.
To stand out from other candidates, optimize your resume with relevant keywords from the job description:
- Incorporate job-specific keywords under the skills, work experience, and education sections.
- Use the language used in the job description to align with ATS requirements.
- Avoid keyword stuffing, as your resume will ultimately be read by a recruiter or hiring manager.
Before submitting your resume, take advantage of free tools to review and optimize it:
- Get feedback from the community in the Refer Me Discord Server. (opens in a new tab)
- Test the readability and formatting with industry-standard ATS using Resume Worded.
- Copy-paste your resume content into a plain text document to ensure proper organization and clarity.
- Take job application forms seriously, as they could serve as the first screening step.
- Avoid applying to too many roles at the same company, as it may raise questions about your focus and interests.
Unlock the full potential of your software engineer resume with these expert tips and pave the way to your dream job. Embrace the journey and ace those interviews!