Learning how to format a resume is a straightforward process, but you should understand a few basic guidelines before you begin. Whichever format you choose, the experience section, summary statement and skills section are some of the most valuable components your resume should feature. As a software engineer, focus on demonstrating your industry knowledge and your professional abilities.
1. Choose a chronological format, a functional format or a chronological-functional hybrid format. When deciding how to format a resume for your desired position, consider how much experience you have, how frequently you’ve switched jobs and what you’ve accomplished in the capacity of a software developer. If you already have significant experience working as a software engineer and do not have large gaps in your employment history, you’ll want to choose the chronological format. List your career accomplishments in the experience section along with the number of projects you’ve completed. When using this format, list your previous employers in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent and ending with the oldest.
Functional resume formats are generally not preferred, but if you are completely changing up your career, graduating in the near future, or attempting to disguise a lack of workplace experience, consider adopting a chronological-functional hybrid resume format. With this resume type, you prioritize experiences or skills based on relevance to the position. A traditional chronological work experience section may be unable to convey your skills, knowledge and suitability, whereas a hybrid format is a flexible tool for doing so. If you don’t go with a chronological format, for the sake of completeness, considering including a brief work experience section after listing your main qualifications. When it comes to learning how to format a resume, you should always highlight any relevant experience you have attained.
2. Write a resume summary statement. Rather than a resume objective statement, use a strongly worded summary to highlight your main selling points as a job applicant. Think of the summary statement as a brief elevator pitch regarding why you’re an excellent candidate for the job. Use about four to six lines to explain your most important experiences, skills or educational qualifications. Use paragraph format, although sentence fragments are permitted. A summary statement for a software engineer resume may sound something like, “Seasoned software engineer with more than 10 years of experience within the field. Familiar with a variety of different software types and confident in team-oriented environments.” Notice that first-person language (e.g. “I have …”) is omitted from summary statements.
3. Consider including a skills/areas of expertise section. The skills section is especially important for a software engineer because it includes the languages you know as well as the design patterns and production cycles you have experience with. You may actually want to feature this section prominently on the first page of your resume, or consider placing it before your experience section. When it comes to knowing how to format a resume, keywords can play a big part in skills sections; be sure to include as many relevant keywords as possible to increase your chances of being noticed by an employer. These keywords may feature specific language from the job posting. Organize skills in either bullet or table format, using columns of 3-8 skills. Use short, powerful phrases.
Now that you have some idea of how to format a resume for a software engineer, you should have no trouble getting started. You can learn even more helpful tips and formatting guidelines on LiveCareer.