Now that you’re applying to be a software engineer, consider writing a resume skills section. This summary of the most relevant skills to the position is the best way to quickly convey your key qualifications on resumes where they otherwise may not be noticed, but there are several factors to consider before committing to it. Read on to find out when to include this section and how to produce it.
Should You Include a Skills Section in your Software Engineer Resume
The main reason to start writing a resume skills section is if a job posting explicitly gives you a list of required skills. On a typical resume, skills are incorporated into work experience sections, but recruiters who are prone to read for job titles and experience before any other part of your resume need their attention drawn to these skills first. Once they see this information, it’s more likely they’ll read through the rest of your resume.
Because software engineers have many exceptional technical requirements to meet, creating a specific technical skills section with a header like ‘Technical Tools’ or ‘Systems Proficiencies’ somewhere on the first page of a resume is good practice in general.
What to Include in a Software Engineer Resume Skills Section
The most common format when writing a resume skills section is to use a table with at least three items per column but no more than eight to keep it balanced and legible. Your objective is to fulfill the posting’s requirements, so a brief, focused list with few outliers will be more effective. If you cannot populate this table with more than four skills, write an even briefer skills summary.
Software engineers will pack key capabilities in this section based on various areas of expertise. Technical skill sets include programming languages, operating systems and applications, all areas where fluency is required. Broader, transferable skills for this industry involve interpersonal, analytical and creative talents. Although it’s tempting to include as much as possible, obsolete tech should be cut out unless the position mentions them, and irrelevant skills like push-up count should be pruned.
Get to the point with short, fast phrases without periods. Examples include ‘Content Management Systems,’ ‘Facebook Development,’ and ‘Team Player.’ Skills very specific to the applied position take higher priority; list them first, and the level of skill they require should also be emphasized. Broader, transferable skills that still relate to the field take second place. When in doubt, take your cues from the job posting and group together similar skills to maintain flow.
For example, a web developer description states at the start that applicants must be experts in a list of programs, debugging long lines of code and encrypting information but may also have entry-level experience in tech support. In this case, the posting serves as a template for writing a resume skills section.
Example of a Great Software Engineer Resume Skills Section
Programming Languages and Applications
- SQL and MySQL
- C and C++
- Google Web Toolkit
Now that you’ve finished writing a resume skills section, you may want to find resources for writing other parts of your job application at the LiveCareer website.