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How to customise your software engineer CV template
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Replace the information at the top with your own personal details.
It isn’t strictly necessary to include the title ‘Software Engineer’, unless you’re specifically applying for this role and you haven’t had this as a job title previously. Employers sometimes use ATS software (Applicant Tracking Systems) to digitally scan and filter CVs. You therefore need to make sure that your target job title appears on your CV at least once.
Include a link to your portfolio. You’ll claim to have a lot of skills on your CV but this shows employers that you can actually use them to a good standard. It doesn’t matter if some of the projects aren’t commercial, provided that they demonstrate your skills to a high standard.
Here are some good examples of an online portfolio:
- Yevgeniy Brikman – https://www.ybrikman.com/ – I love the simplicity of this design, especially the project page
- Chris Demody – https://chippd.github.io/ – you can get the code for his portfolio for free too!
Stay away from the cliché one page templates with moving project counters that show the employer very little of your work. Take inspiration from the above two designs which make it very easy for employers to navigate to past projects.
Include LinkedIn and supercharge your profile before applying. Make sure it includes your portfolio (in case the employer visits this rather than your website), endorsements and recommendations from industry-credible people. Find out more about supercharging your LinkedIn profile here.
Include your Twitter profile and make sure you’re active within the development community. This shows employers that you’re passionate about what you do, and that you’re staying up-to-date with the latest developments. Here’s an example of a profile that has been set up well and tweets appropriate industry-relevant content.
With software engineer jobs, hard skills play a huge part in hiring decisions. Include a list of your key languages and frameworks high up on your CV so employers can quickly see that you have what they need. This also helps if they’re using ATS software.
Make sure you address any specific requirements of the job advert early on. People read digital documents in an ‘F’ pattern so the top section of your CV is gold. Use it to quickly grab the employer’s attention and leave them in no doubt that you have everything they need.
The ability to learn quickly and pick up new concepts is relevant here. If you can provide examples of how you’ve picked something up quickly and used it commercially in the past, this will add weight to your application.
Another idea is to simply delve into the framework and start learning straight away, for example by taking a Codeacademy course. You could then write ‘I have extensive experience with both Angular and J Query, and I am currently working through the ReactJS course on Codeacademy’.
Whilst the specific requirements of the job are most relevant to your application, it’s always helpful to be aware of what the most desirable languages and frameworks are. A working knowledge of additional languages, frameworks and technologies is always nice to have and may set you apart from other candidates. See e.g. GitHub: Python and TypeScript gain popularity among programming languages.
Give your work history in reverse chronological order (most recent first). Mention any specific responsibilities and projects that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Don’t forget to offer evidence of soft skills such as teamworking. See the ‘skills’ section of this career profile on prospects.ac.uk for inspiration.
Qualifications and training
List formal qualifications, highest first. If you have a degree or Masters, you can leave off GCSEs if you’re short on space.
Our example CV is split into two sections: qualifications and training courses. The training courses section is a great way to show that you’re keeping your knowledge up to date and covering lots of new technologies. There are plenty of online free or cheap courses to help you boost this section.
Hobbies and interests
The hobbies and interests section is optional and is not included on our example CV. However, it can be useful for:
- Demonstrating that you’d fit well into the culture of the company. Have a look at the company’s website to get a good feel for what this might be.
- Showing that you have built some of the skills they are looking for through activities outside of work.
- Showing that you take an interest in your health and wellbeing.
You don’t have to provide the names and details of references on your CV, since employers will ask for them later anyway. Find out more about including references on your CV here.
If you’ve gathered recommendations on LinkedIn or you have a reference already from a past employer, you may want to include a quote on your CV. This works as a third-party endorsement of your skills and abilities which can be very powerful.
Of course, recommendations may already appear on your LinkedIn profile but there is no guarantee the employer will look. Adding them to your CV (if you have the space) puts them right in front of the employer.