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With a rapidly growing job market, a competitive salary starting at $105,000 a year, and a minimum employment requirement of a bachelor’s degree, a software engineer position is a valuable career to pursue. As a software engineer, you craft applications and systems using a specific toolset and computing environment.
This software engineer cover letter sample includes tips by section that help you communicate your experience. Depending on how you want to present yourself, you can use our sample software engineer cover letter or organize a specific cover letter with keywords and select action verbs that connect to your resume.
The most common sections you’ll see on a cover letter include:
Cover Letter Sections
Begin with your contact information on the software engineer cover letter example. Use your name with credentials, a business-like email address and your contact number. For example, if you have your bachelor’s degree along with additional certifications such as Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), Java SE Programmer or Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) or Java ME Mobile Application, you would update your name to the following format.
“Brian Travis, OCP”
“Brian Travis, M.S.”
Personalize the letter to a manager or development team leader if possible. You may need to research and make some educated guesses to identify the correct recipient for your cover letter.
We advise that you scan the company website and social media accounts like LinkedIn for anyone who works in the engineering department and has “manager” in their title. If there are multiple employees that meet this distinction, you’ll need to make an educated guess based on their job description.
Introduce yourself briefly and mention your interest in the company. Say what type of position you are looking for, such as website design or real-time programming. Ideally, you need to identify a key requirement from the open job description and provide a real world example of how you've successfully done that task in the past.
As you see on our sample cover letter, Mr. Brian Travis claims that his skills and qualification match the open software engineer requirements, but he doesn’t share any specifics. He doesn’t reference a specific task or skill mentioned of the hypothetical job posting. This is a dangerous tactic for you to take — it makes your cover letter seem like a templated cold call and makes your application less likely to advance to the interview stage.
Briefly describe your background, inspired by this ACM description of software engineering, as you would to a colleague. Remember, the cover letter builds on information you provide in your resume by sharing specific projects and professional accomplishments. Let the reader get to know you more robustly than a resume allows. Mr. Travis does a decent job of describing his core proficiency in software maintenance, application testing, business analysis and system development.
However, you can improve on this by adding quantifiable metrics. If you’re competent in software maintenance, offer the hiring manager details related to your skills. How quickly can you update or reboot software? Did your previous company experience an uptick in improved network service due to your contributions? If yes, detail them in your cover letter. A hiring manager is more likely to interview you if you provide them with detailed experience rather than a vague summary.
Speak once more about your interest in the company and the projects their work involves, such as large-scale Agile software development or automated software testing. Offer your appreciation for their time and interest.
Finish with a formal closing. “Sincerely” will do. Type your name as in the heading. You can also add certifications below your name such as PMP (project management professional).
This template is perfect if you’re seeking a bold visual statement, and also demonstrates that you are as up-to-date as your potential employer.
With its striking fonts and vivid coloring, this cover letter template helps you make a strong impression with hiring managers.
For job seekers who want to show off strong qualifications and experience without distracting bells and whistles, this clean cover letter example fits the bill.
The classic cover letter template is a good choice for job candidates with minimal experience who want to project a professional image.
This sharp layout places emphasis on job experience and major achievements, highlighting your abilities as a top-level manager.
This cover letter example is easily adaptable across many professions, allowing you to detail your experience, leadership skills, and technical expertise.
This clean template emphasizes your progressive, up-to-date experience and achievements -- the qualities that pioneering, cutting-edge companies seek.
This solid template lets you get to the point with your credentials, and why you are a good fit for the job.
When you need to get all the important details about your capabilities across without wasting space, use this compact, well-organized template.
Make your cover letter your own using keywords and action verbs related to your work as a software engineer. This will make a strong impression on the hiring manager and will also affect processing by ATS (applicant tracking system) software that filters incoming applications. ATS uses keywords to estimate the strength of your application. Build strong sentences around specific action verbs such as the examples below to sell yourself.
Implement: Give an example of when you’ve implemented new programming logic to speed up processes or make them more efficient.
Test:Make a note of how diligent you are about testing your own scripts, so others don’t have to.
Maintain: You might point out how you can maintain the team lead’s creative vision on a project while still injecting your own creativity.
Design: If you’ve got a mind for design as well as programming, make this known in your cover letter./p>
Develop: In addition to developing software, don’t be afraid to highlight your skills for developing working relationships or other elements conducive to team success.
ATS programs help provide an objective prescreening of applications and prioritizes those that appear to best meet the company’s candidate criteria. This process helps busy managers focus on a smaller pile of resumes — about half of those received. Putting the software engineer cover letter sample to good use with additional keywords and text can significantly improve your ATS results.
Software engineer job applications should create a picture with the technologies you work with, like Python programming, and the methodologies you employ, like Agile development or Test Driven Development. Mention your certifications such as those from trade association CompTIA, Cisco for networking or Salesforce for CRM systems to establish your expertise in specific areas. Use available certification topics to guide your cover letter emphasis in areas such as Linux development or AWS cloud development.
Personalize your software engineer cover letter example by going beyond a list of skills; add an example of your past success with key techniques you used. Maybe you designed an asset-tracking cloud application and led a team to develop and test it. For example, “I used AWS cloud services and developed in Java, providing web and app user interfaces.”Build a Cover Letter
Your cover letter expresses yourself and tells your story. You can go beyond resume facts to share your skill, experience and enthusiasm and encourage interest in you as a software engineer. Use the software engineer cover letter sample with your personal details and keywords to capture an employer’s attention.