So, you've found a perfect entry-level software engineering job, and you might just apply. But they're asking for a resume, and you're not sure where to begin. Your resume will be the first thing recruiters and hiring managers see, and you want to make a good impression. How do you do that?
Below, we'll guide you through building a junior software engineer resume. First, we'll look at what's expected of a junior engineer so you have a better understanding of what you need to highlight in your resume. Then, we'll move onto the details of what you need to add to stand out in the job market.
What is expected of a junior software engineer?
It's vital to have the correct mindset when creating your resume. You're applying for a junior development job, not a senior-level position, so recruiters aren't expecting a long list of past work experience. Instead, they'll focus on other aspects of your life to determine if you're right for the job.
The first thing hiring managers expect from a junior software engineer is a passion for the field. Side projects and open-source code contributions are essential additions to your resume as they show your willingness to go above and beyond to hone your craft. Interest in your field goes a long way towards helping you get that junior software engineer job.
You should also have confidence in your skills and abilities. So, before you work on your resume, know that you have the skills needed to do the job. Recruiters expect junior engineers to have a basic handle on technology. Anything extra you can add is a bonus.
Recruiters are also looking for a willingness to learn. As a junior developer, you'll be a blank slate. They want to know you can absorb new concepts and run with them, so those one-off projects you coded for fun will carry a lot of weight on your resume.
What should be on a junior software engineer's resume?
Now that you understand what recruiters are looking for, let's explore what needs to be on your resume.
What resume structure should you use?
Generally, your junior software engineer resume should include these sections:
- Contact details
- Employment history
- Software projects
- Awards, accomplishments, and/or hobbies
- Technical skills
This structure is flexible, and your arrangement of the sections will depend on your background. If you recently graduated from a computer science program, you'll want to prioritize your education. If you taught yourself to code, move the Software Projects section higher in the structure to emphasize it.
A recruiter will most likely scan your resume quickly, so keep it limited to 1-2 pages. Make sure that it's simple and straightforward, with a heading and fonts that are easy to read and adequate line spacing. Keep everything concise because space is at a premium.
Contact details are a small but crucial part of your resume. Include all the common ways a recruiter can contact you, like your phone number and email address. Add links to your LinkedIn and Github profiles if you have them fleshed out. That should be all you need here.
If you're applying for a position as a junior developer, you may not have much work-related experience. If you do, add all of your related jobs, starting with the most recent. Include your role, the company you worked for, and how long you worked for the company. Also, add a brief, bulleted list of the projects you contributed to and the things you accomplished while working there.
If you have unrelated work experience, add your two most recent jobs and all of the information listed above. What matters here is that the recruiter sees you can work with a team and contribute to the goals of a business.
If you're self-taught or have little related work experience, this section will help hiring managers gauge your capabilities. Even if you already have relevant work experience, adding quality projects to your resume can help boost your chances of landing an interview.
If you have many side projects to choose from, it's best to select five at the most. Prioritize those that illustrate your capacity with the skills and concepts outlined in the job posting. Then, add projects that show you can work in a variety of areas, like:
Make sure you describe each project, the problems you solved while working on it, and the technologies you used to build it. If you created a Github repository for any of these side projects, that's a bonus. Link to them. Your side projects will show recruiters your passion for technology.
If you have an excellent education but little relevant experience, you'll want this section to stand out. Add all the educational information you can, including any certifications you may have earned. Include your final year projects to illustrate your hands-on experience. If you want a recruiter to focus on your employment history or the software projects you worked on, only list your highest educational achievement.
Hobbies and accomplishments
In this section, list your extracurricular activities, awards, and achievements. If you've been to local technology meetups or attended conferences related to the field, add those as well. It'll help show your passion for the industry.
Finally, list all of your technical skills (e.g., programming languages, libraries, frameworks, etc.) to give the recruiter a quick reference to your current skill set. They'll reference this section more than any other, so add the skills most relevant to the position at the top.
Next steps: Preparing for your interview
After you've finished building your resume, the next step is to prepare for your upcoming interviews. In another post, our friends at Career Karma provide some helpful tips about behavioral and technical interviews.If you're looking to add more skills to your resume to help it stand out from the competition, take a look through our catalog. We'll teach you programming languages like Java and C++, and our Skill Paths offer a certificate upon completion that you can feature in your resume.