As a software engineer, your job is all about analyzing the user’s needs and then developing and testing software to meet those needs. With excellent communication and collaboration skills, you apply the engineering principles and strategies to software development to make it happen—all while integrating data and tucking it away for future problem-solving.
Your process likely includes recommending software upgrades, translating data into actionable improvement strategies, coordinating and working with software development and programming teams, and documenting improvements made to easily address clients’ questions or concerns in the future. You also do your fair share of planning, strategizing, and hands-on work with programming and database tools.
You’re eager to dive into your dream job, but first, you’ll need to write a software engineer resume along with an excellent cover letter that attests to your job skills and accomplishments. We get that most people dread writing cover letters, but we’re here to simplify the process. Refer to these three software engineer cover letter examples and helpful pointers to build yourself a solid starting point for your path to greatness!
Why this cover letter works
Why this cover letter works
Why this cover letter works
All in all, the best cover letter will demonstrate a strong understanding and connection with the company. A software engineer can do this by using their technical skills to relate to the role in the job description coupled with the company’s overall vision and goals—all with a winning tone and positive message, of course!
So many cover letters out there are complete snooze-fests that just wind up in the recycling bin. To ensure yours isn’t one of them, it’s imperative to pay attention to the details of the specific software engineer position you’re applying for and tailor your cover letter accordingly.
Read the software engineer job ad. Then, read it again, keeping an eye out for little things that set it apart—details like specific programming languages and software strategies, for example.
Make sure you remember to research the company, too! Your cover letter must not only demonstrate a crystal-clear understanding of the role as laid out in the job description but prove that you’re a great fit with the company’s values, goals, and core missions as well. Just a handful of details showing that you know the company’s vision and software engineer role better than the average applicant will go a long way in setting you apart from other applicants.
Your software engineer resume offers recruiters a quick and to-the-point peek at your skills and professional history. Since it’s less than a page, you don’t have much space within your bullet points to give a more extensive explanation of how your skills and experience make you an ideal candidate for the specific position. That’s the job of your cover letter!
Touch upon the best points in your software engineer resume but expand upon them with descriptions of how you accomplished said achievements as well as the positive impact they had. Don’t just talk about what you created—talk about what it did to benefit others.
Taking this a step further, your resume might list your Python and MySQL skills—but how did you apply them during your last job? Did you create an application that boosted profit margins and kept them growing after you departed? Did you engineer an analytical or testing application that significantly reduced bug and error reports? Maybe you singlehandedly optimized an application to skyrocket customer satisfaction rates: If you did, say so!
This is your opportunity to show off your greatest accomplishments anecdotally and tie them into what the job description requests.
As you can probably imagine, there’s a lot more that goes into your software engineer cover letter besides technical information. The overall message of your letter should mirror the qualities that the job listing calls for and demonstrate the values and vision of the company as a whole. You don’t want to just convey that you’re a software engineer who can work wherever—your message needs to convey that you want to work there!
As a software engineer with a vast array of technical skills and fascinating professional experiences, it might be tricky—but you’ll need to keep your cover letter to a page. And within that space, you’ll want to consider your tone of voice.
Your tone should match the role: Senior software engineer candidates should convey confidence and experience, and all applicants (especially entry-level ones) should demonstrate enthusiasm and eagerness to contribute to the company.
Additionally, consider the company culture and vibes. Working for a healthcare company likely means you should take a bit more formal tone while employers at a gaming company will probably appreciate a little pizazz and a more conversational approach.
Lastly, set aside time for editing and revising. It may take several tries to get the message and tone of your cover letter just right, but the extra effort is worth it! Ensure you clean up embarrassing typos or copy-paste mishaps in your cover letter, and be deliberate about word choice to refine your tone.
Outlining your software engineer cover letter is a great way to make sure you don’t forget any key points. And just as formatting your resume is important, format matters in your cover letter, too; we’ve got you covered.
Your contact info: List your name, phone number, location, and email (if you’re using a templated cover letter).
Formatting: Leave out your name here if you’re using a business block format for your address.
Date: Use the exact date that you submit your application materials
Formatting: Write out the full date instead of shortening it, e.g., May 4, 2022.
Inside address: This is the recipient's address. Include their name, company and position, and the company’s address.
Clive Russo, Hiring Manager
UCLA Health Human Resources
4562 Larwin Ave
Cypress, California 90630
Formatting: Each part of the address should be on a new line. Remember to double-space between the inside address and your greeting, too.
Greeting: Your greeting/salutation is your crucial first impression! Do your homework and uncover the name of the hiring manager or employer, avoiding generic terms like “To whom it may concern,” and please, at all costs, never start with “Dear Sir or Madam.” Ick!
Formatting: Use a colon instead of a comma after your greeting for more formal companies. Companies like Rushdown (see the Python software engineer cover letter sample) are far more casual; a comma will do just fine.
Body: The body of your software engineer cover letter should be 3-4 paragraphs that demonstrate your interest, show off your credentials, and exhibit an appropriate level of enthusiasm for future discussion.
Opening paragraph: Don’t be generic or vague. The last thing you want is for a potential employer to say “Boring!” and toss your cover letter aside.
Bad: I really like gaming, so it’d be great if I could work for your company. I'm familiar with plenty of technical tools that would help your company.
Why It’s Bad: Based on what we just discussed, this cover letter has already been tossed. It’s great that the applicant apparently loves gaming and has technical skills—but exactly how will they help the company . . .? What “technical tools” are they?
Good: As a Python software engineer with 5 years of experience alongside countless more as an avid gamer, I’m confident I would make a skilled and valuable addition to Rushdown’s team. Just as I live for each new gaming challenge in Twisted Treeline, I thrive in environments that challenge my strategic planning and creative use of skills such as PostgreSQL, AWS, and Docker.
Why It’s Good: This introductory paragraph dives into the applicant’s experience and demonstrates a strong personal connection with the company’s passion for gaming—all while exploring technical skills the job description specifically listed in its requirements section. Nice!
Paragraphs 2-3: These paragraphs are for you to shine the spotlight on your best achievements that align with the job ad and with the company’s goals, values, and mission.
It’s time to put your money where your mouth is—but remember to maintain a clear focus in each paragraph. You don’t have room for all your awesome achievements, so try to stick with one major point per paragraph and include only the most relevant metrics and results.
Example: My talent in engineering and developing large, highly responsive UX-personalization applications that can scale with rapidly growing datasets empowered me to engineer algorithmic software that responded and adapted to customers’ individualized needs based on personal history. This boosted sales by 19 percent, and I’m confident that this experience would translate seamlessly from improving customer experience to streamlining workflow for medical staff to care for patients more effectively.
Why It’s Good: Beverly highlights something from the job description that she’s already done (engineering large-scale algorithmic software) and provides the number as evidence of her claim. She also clarifies exactly how this accomplishment will benefit the place where she’s applying now, even though her past experiences were applied within a very different type of company.
Closing paragraph: Finish strong with a concise but compelling statement of how your traits and abilities as a software engineer align with what the company or organization needs. And lastly, end with an enthusiastic call to action that encourages future contact with the company.
Bad: As you can see in my letter, I’m well qualified for this position and would do a great job with my skills. Call me anytime for more info and I can tell you more about the other stuff I can do.
Why It’s Bad: Where do we even start with this one? Your cover letter should be specific, adding more tidbits on why you’re an excellent fit whenever possible. This redundant first sentence and boring, informal call to action are inexcusable.
Good: The strong team culture at Chipton-Ross resonates with me as I enjoy thinking analytically to resolve questions of program intent and translate documentation and data into helpful operating instructions for my coworkers. I welcome further discussion, so please contact me for details on how my software engineering experience will benefit your team and maximize client savings.
Why It’s Good: This one works. You can see how the applicant’s traits and experience align with the company’s values, and there are several keywords that came straight from the job description. Additionally, the call to action is welcoming yet professional while reinforcing the candidate’s value to the company.
Formatting: Lines should be single-spaced throughout the body but double-spaced between paragraphs.
Signature: Say “thank you” if you didn’t do that in your closing paragraph, and always use a professional close along with your real name.
Thank you for considering me to join your team,
Formatting: If you’re handing out hard copies of your software engineer cover letter (anyone out there still doing this?), quadruple space before your name. This allows space to sign by hand in blue/black ink.
Enclosure(s): This part of your cover letter is important since it signals the recruiter to look over any supplemental materials. Pay attention to the job description for requested materials like certifications or letters of recommendation.
Letter of Recommendation
Formatting: Make sure you use the correct singular or plural form of “enclosure” depending on how many items you’re enclosing!
We know you’ve probably put a lot of thought into your cover letter as a software engineer—after all, analytical thinking and strategic planning are among your strong suits! However, while your cover letter is important to refine and perfect, you’ll need to write a winning resume, too.
Even if you already have a resume, chances are it’s gotten a bit dusty. Take the opportunity to check your resume over for a quick refresh. Browse through our software engineer resume examples or start editing this one here if you’re ready to knock it out.
Easing your job hunt and taking your career to the next level is possible with the tools and resume tips we offer. Once you nail down the perfect cover letter and resume, recruiters will know why you’re such a great hire. They’ll be hard-pressed to turn you down as a result!