Software Engineer Resume : Do's & Don'ts of a Perfect Engineering Resume

software engineer resume

More than 30% of CakeResume users are associated with software engineering background. As the most popular career choice in recent years, we would like to take this opportunity to share the Dos and Don’ts of Software Engineer resume with you to help you avoid making the same mistakes as others.

Generally, job applicants can be divided into two categories: first, fresh job seekers who have just graduated; and second, people who have worked for a period of time (about 2-3 years) and need a job change for higher salary or other reasons. The two categories commit similar mistakes when writing resumes, which would be explained as “Don’ts”. The “Dos” will focus respectively on these two categories of job seekers, and corresponding suggestions will be provided pertaining to both.


1. GitHub's repo has serious error

Nowadays, software engineers put their own GitHub on their resumes to show that they have experience and ability in using Git. However, the following errors will be considered serious failures:

  • Directly putting the project source code that seems to be in use within the company on GitHub.
  • Uploading files that are supposed to add to gitignore on GitHub (e.g. idea, and etc.), which shows that the candidate doesn’t understand how to use .gitignore.
  • Putting the IP and password of the project database directly on GitHub for anybody to view. Weak security awareness is a serious mistake that will result in immediate disqualification.

2. The demo website provided is already invalid

Sometimes candidates provide links to their demo sites. If such websites are provided, attention should be paid to the status of these websites. If the interviewer clicks on the links and cannot get access to the websites, or sees “Error” shown on the website once he opens it, it would leave an extremely negative impression.

3. Too many typos and grammatical mistakes on resumes

It is common to see incorrect characters in articles. However, resume is the key to an interview. If there are too many typos and ungrammatical sentences, it is doomed to be brushed off right in the beginning. In addition, with so many mistakes, it only means that the candidate is not meticulous in terms of work. Having too many ungrammatical sentences also means that there might be communication obstacles with people.

4. Duplicate online resume templates

This is a very common and serious mistake. Interviewers have read hundreds of resumes, and they can easily identify whether it is a template from the Internet. By coping and Googling a very suspicious sentence, the source article can be easily found. Basically, once they find out that the resumes are copied from online templates, they will immediately be ruled out.

Looking for a unique template & format to demonstrate your professionalism? Check out our Free Resume Templates & Formats!

5. Standard and dull resume

Many standard and outdated resume templates on the Internet contains:

  • Family members 
  • Education background before university
  • Personal traits
  • Future outlook

This kind of typical content really bored people out. It is suggested to write more about your experience related to the job. If you are clueless about what to write in your resume, you can check out CakeResume’s Resume Samples and refer to other engineering resumes created by users.

CakeResume provides professionally-designed resume templates to help you build a highly-customized resume and stand out from other candidates. Free Download!

resume for software engineer


Fresh graduates

1. Prepare portfolios

As there is not much work experience to write for a software engineer fresher, it is common to not know what to write on resumes. In fact, the best way is to write about personal projects or works that are demonstrable.

If you are interviewing for a web engineer position, you can write a piece of simple crud work and put it on GitHub. The interviewer will then know that you have knowledge in GIT version control and understand your proficiency level. However, you should pay attention to the mistakes mentioned earlier. Do not put sensitive information on GIT. Basically, if you have a portfolio ready, you have outdone most of the resumes that only contain a self introduction.

2. Frequently participate in relevant communities

Many fresh graduates often mention in their resumes that they are passionate about programming, but they have nothing to prove themselves. You can participate in or volunteer for relevant communities and get to know some engineers working in the industry. It can be a nice touch to show that you have these relevant experiences.

Further reading:  Computer Science: Resume Examples, Formats & Tips

People with work experience

Compared to fresh graduates, resumes for candidates with work experience are easier to prepare.

1. Frequently update resumes

First of all, remember that as you already have work experience, your resume should be updated frequently. Any gaps on your resume would be challenged by the interviewers.

2. Focus on important information

Less important details such as college extra-curricular experience, family relationships can be omitted. Try to focus more on your professional skills at work and the projects you are currently in charge of.

3. Specify your professional skills

List the coding language you know such as PHP / Java / MySQL, and describe how proficient you are with these languages, and what related projects you have developed.

4. Describe your current job duties

It is recommended to write some main description of your current job so that the interviewer can know better whether you are qualified for the job. In addition to the positions you have held and the projects you were in charge of, if you have some outstanding achievements in the past, you can list them down specifically with examples.

However, do not exaggerate. For example, “developed a handwritten text recognition system with an accuracy rate of 100%” sounds impressive, but even Google at present cannot achieve 100% accuracy.

5. Prove yourself to be a self-learner

If you have participated in some open source projects or have some side projects going on, that would be a great plus! If you have experience in other related fields other than software development, you will have more competitive advantages, such as UX, management, etc. it is also the best evidence to prove that you are able to continuously learn and improve.

6. Highlight teamwork ability

Team work ability is also a key point. Most projects are the results of teamwork, not the contribution of a single person alone. If you are experienced in teamwork, prove it with examples in your resume, such as how to solve the differences within a team, or how to lead the team to break through difficulties.

Further reading:  5 Tips to Build a Strong Machine Learning Resume

sample resume for software engineer


In fact, the interviewer can tell whether the resume is prepared with effort or not. Being an applicant, you should update and check your engineering resume from time to time. If you can, you should constantly review your skill-set, accumulate portfolios, and take part in relevant communities more often. Hence when you need to change job, you have something to show.

Ready to embark on your job hunting journey? Learn how to write a convincing Cover Letter first to increase your success rate!

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