Which Software Engineer skills belong in your resume?

Much of the modern technology that powers our civilization would be nothing without software to guide its operation. Software Engineers play an essential role in ensuring that today's technology is both effective and reliable for its users. Of course, to land a great job in that field, you need a resume that highlights all the key Software Engineer skills employers expect to see.

That's easier said than done, though. After all, how can you know which skills those employers are looking for? And even if you can identify the best Software Engineer skills for your resume, what's the best way to add them to your resume to make the right impression on employers?

In this guide, we'll explain why Software Engineer skills are so vitally important for your resume and job search. We'll also examine some of the top Software Engineer abilities employers prioritize and offer some helpful tips you can use to add these key skills to your resume in the most compelling way possible.

What are Software Engineer skills?

Software Engineer skills include all the hard, technical skills you use to develop, improve, maintain, and troubleshoot software systems. These skills are essential for analyzing project needs, designing solutions, and implementing coding plans. 

In addition, that skill set includes an array of key character traits (i.e., soft skills) and interpersonal abilities that help you interact with others and fulfill your job responsibilities. 

Your resume needs to include skills that accurately convey your ability to meet those job qualifications.

Related reading: What Are Skills? (With Examples and Tips on How to Improve Them)

Why are Software Engineer skills important for your resume?

One of the key things to remember when you're searching for a new job is that your resume is the single most important tool you can use to make a great impression on employers. Moreover, you only have a few seconds to make that impression – since the average hiring manager won't even be reading your resume unless they see something of interest while skimming its contents.

That's why it's so important to include Software Engineer skills in your resume. Those skill qualifications are at the top of any employer's priority list when they review your resume. If they don't see those skills when they initially skim your resume, chances are they'll skip right over you and move on to the next job seeker. On the other hand, if their brief scan of your resume confirms that you have the right skill qualifications, they'll be more inclined to spend extra time reviewing your candidacy.

Related reading: Make the Perfect First Impression With Your Resume

Which Software Engineer skills do employers prioritize?

Before you can add those key skills to your resume, you first need to identify them. The best place to start that process is the role's job description – which you can find in the job posting. If the job posting doesn't contain a good description, try searching online. 

That description will provide you with a good idea of the job's duties and the skills needed to successfully perform those responsibilities. Typically, those responsibilities include things like:

  • Full lifecycle development of applications

  • Software and code analysis, review, and reliability analysis

  • Software modeling

  • Software documentation

  • Project planning and/or management

  • Expertise in standards compliance

  • Object-oriented Design and Analysis

  • Software systems integration

  • Programming language proficiencies

  • Code testing and troubleshooting

  • Development of software solutions

  • Deployment of software solutions and processes

  • Software application maintenance

  • Collaboration with system architects

  • Quality control expertise

  • Knowledge of security best practices and risk mitigation

  • Commitment to continuous learning and skill improvement

Key Software Engineer skills for your resume

Once you've identified all the possible relevant Software Engineer skills you need for the job, the next step is to narrow that list to the ones that meet the employer's needs. Remember, your resume's purpose is to present you as the best candidate for the position. 

To achieve that goal, you need to focus on highlighting hard and soft skills that demonstrate your ability to provide real value to the company. That mix of skills will show you have the technical abilities and personal skills the company is looking for in any new hire.

Below, we'll examine an array of the top hard and soft skills employers often look for when they're reviewing Software Engineer skills in a resume.

Hard skills for a Software Engineer resume

1. Programming language proficiency

Your resume should always include your programming language proficiencies. Employers who are looking for top talent will want to know that you have expertise in core coding languages like Java, C++, and Python. These and other languages are used to write the code that fuels applications and software programs, so any candidate whose resume fails to highlight those vital abilities will likely be immediately rejected by hiring managers.

2. Code writing

Coding is the process of using those programming languages to write detailed instructions that form the foundation of the software that computerized technology relies on for its operation. Knowing the languages is not enough; you also need to know how to use that proficiency in an organized and effective way. Make sure to include examples of your coding success to demonstrate that you possess these critical skills.

3. Software testing

Even if employers recognize that you have the programming abilities and knowledge to code their software, they'll still want to make sure that your quality control is up to par. Don't forget to highlight your testing capabilities, including your ability to design tests, run them, and eliminate any bugs or other deficiencies identified during the testing process. That debugging skill is vital for any successful Software Engineer, so try to highlight it in your work experience achievements.

4. Project management

Software projects need to be carefully managed at every step of development. Including project management skills in your resume can help to give you a leg up on the competition, even if you're not applying for a team lead or project manager role. Employers appreciate those organizational and leadership skills and will be more likely to give your resume the extra attention you need to earn a coveted interview.

5. Object-oriented design

Object-oriented programming has become an important skill for today's Software Engineers as employers increasingly rely on reusable code and modular designs. If you've developed skills related to object-oriented design (OOD) principles, it's important to highlight them in your resume.  

6. Cloud computing

For many companies, migrating to the cloud offers a host of benefits for data storage, security, and cost management. As a result, cloud computing has become one of those skills that is in great demand – and that trend is likely to continue for the immediate future. Make sure you effectively convey your familiarity and experience with cloud computing, data migration, and other cloud-related abilities.

7. Software documentation

Of course, creating software requires effective documentation skills as well. Your ability to create accurate and comprehensive user manuals, release notes, and other technical documents is vital for ensuring that other developers and end-users can fully understand your software's effectiveness and functionality.

Soft skills for a Software Engineer resume

1. Collaboration

Successful software development is often a team effort, so employers will want to see that you have the ability to work effectively in collaboration with your team. Do you have the interpersonal skills needed to align your vision with other programmers on the team? Highlight those skills in your resume so employers can be confident you're a team player!

2. Communication

You need both written and verbal communication skills to succeed in this role – and prospective employers will be looking for proof that you possess those abilities. You'll need to demonstrate that you're capable of effectively communicating ideas with colleagues, superiors, clients, and other stakeholders. Again, it's best to showcase these abilities by referencing them in your work experience bullet point achievements.

Related reading: 11 Best Communication Skills for Your Resume (With Examples)

3. Multitasking

Many Software Engineers find themselves working on multiple projects at the same time, each with their own unique project parameters, expectations, and deadlines. To succeed, you need to be able to multitask to make sure that every project receives the attention it deserves. Your ability to prioritize, manage your time, and effectively meet those expectations will be critical.

4. Organization

Organizational skills are vital for multitasking, managing project demands, and navigating competing priorities. It's important to stress organization skills in your resume so employers recognize your ability to coordinate your work duties in a productive way.

5. Attention to detail

There is no room for error in software design and development since every bit of code needs to be precise for the program to meet expectations. That level of precision requires keen attention to detail – from the initial design of the program to the coding process, testing, and debugging. Make sure you highlight your detail-oriented approach in your resume to demonstrate your competency in this area.

6. Creativity

The top Software Engineer skills should also include your sense of creativity. Employers are always interested in considering innovative coders who aren't afraid to think outside the box to craft creative solutions to problems. You will want to include some examples of your creative approach to coding in your resume to help employers understand just how innovative you can be.

7. Adaptability

Technology changes at a rapid pace. To be successful, today's Software Engineers need to be able to adapt to these changes. Employers need to be confident that you can adapt, learn new systems and techniques, and continue to keep pace with technological innovation. Make sure you express your flexibility and commitment to continuous learning.

8. Problem-solving

Every piece of software that is written, tested, and implemented exists for one primary purpose: to solve a problem. Employers want to know that you have the skills needed to identify challenges, analyze every aspect of a problem, and create workable solutions in software form. It's a good idea to prove your problem-solving abilities by detailing an example of how you used those skills to achieve real value for a previous employer.

How to add Software Engineer skills to your resume

Now that you've had a chance to review those top Software Engineer skills let's take a few moments to examine some of the best ways to add them to your resume in a way that increases your chances of landing an interview. To achieve that objective, you'll need to write your resume with two different audiences in mind: the applicant tracking system that employers use to automatically screen resumes and the hiring managers who will review your resume. The following tips can help.

Related reading: How to Write a Targeted Resume That Lands You an Interview

Find vital keywords in the job description

Before you can effectively add Software Engineer skills to your resume, it helps to know which skill-focused keywords you need to include. Those keywords are vital if you want your resume to get past the employer's ATS scan. Fortunately, you can find the most relevant skill keywords by reviewing the position's job description and noting any terms used to describe skill qualifications. Those exact terms should be added to your resume so that the ATS will see them during its scan.

Related reading: How to Make an ATS-Friendly Resume - Tips for ATS 2024

Add skill keywords in your resume headline

Once you've added your contact information at the top of your resume, you should create a resume headline that highlights your job title and key competencies. You can include one or two of those relevant skills in this headline to really focus the hiring manager's attention on your qualifications. For example:

Innovative Software Engineer, Experienced Problem-Solver, and Project Manager

Related reading: 27 Great Resume Headline Examples to Stand Out

Include keywords in your resume profile

Of course, you'll also want to add skills to your resume profile – that brief summarization of your qualifications that goes right below your resume headline. Focus on highlighting your experience, core competencies, and achievements in a way that demonstrates your potential value as a new hire. For example:

Dynamic Software Engineer with 7 years of experience in successful design and implementation of software solutions. Proficient in multiple programming languages, including Java, C++, and Python. Skilled in OOD, database administration, and cloud computing. Led ABC Corp. project to implement machine learning models, improving customer satisfaction response rate by 35%. As project manager at DynaCorp., successfully reduced team error rates by 27%.

Related reading: Resume Profile Explained (with Examples)

Focus on relevant skills in your skills section

All those skill keywords that you identified from the job description can form the foundation for your list of core competencies. As you create this skill section, include anywhere from nine to fifteen of the top skills. Use bullet points for the entire list and a two or three-column format for the section.

Add skills to your work experience achievement statements

You can also include some of those relevant skills in your work experience section. Once you've outlined all your relevant jobs and the company information, add four to six bullet-point achievements for each of those roles. Focus on quantifiable achievements that showcase how your skills helped you create positive results and real value for your former bosses. For example:

  • Wrote 95% of code for [major client name] website, delivering working version in 17 days and earning 100% customer satisfaction rating
  • Developed multiple e-commerce sites and apps for clients, resulting in customer sales of more than $50 million over two years
  • Led testing and debugging team for [major client name] project, eliminating application security vulnerabilities and improving operational efficiency to 98%
  • Project Manager for twelve campaigns involving data migration to cloud platforms, with 100% operational success rate

Separate yourself from the crowd with the right Software Engineer skills

No matter how skillful you might be, those abilities won't get you anywhere if you're unable to convince employers you have the right qualifications. Fortunately, a well-crafted resume can help you show employers you have the Software Engineer skills needed to fill their open position and add real value to their team. By following the tips in this guide, you should be well on your way to landing the interviews and job offers you need!

Are you still feeling a little bit unsure about your resume's ability to convey your Software Engineer skills to employers? We have the solution! Get a free resume review today, and let our experts provide the guidance you need to move forward with your job search!

Recommended reading:

Related Articles: