Being able to write lines of code is a great starting point to being able to land your dream software engineer job, but your future leaders and team mates will want to find out a little more about you during a recruitment process.

A well written CV will speak for itself, highlighting your key skills and how you’ve applied them in your previous roles. But we are well aware that writing a CV is difficult – we’ve all sat in front of that blank word document with just your name at the top and wondering where to begin. Luckily we are here to help out with this.

What structure should I use for my CV?

Before you start into writing that CV, have a clear idea in your head of how you want it to look. Regardless of the exact structure you use, include the essential and most impressive information from your education and work experience first, and in a prominent position so that the hiring manager can see it straight away.

If you’re an expert in scripting languages make sure you mention that early on, or if you completed a recent training course and certification in AWS, Azure or other cloud technologies that makes you more employable make sure that is highlighted and close to the top of the page.

Structure the CV clearly so that the person looking at it can find the key sections quickly ie experience, skills and education. When considering what to include in your CV, don’t overthink it and detail any experience you think your future team would like to know about, and you would be comfortable speaking about in an interview.

We're sure you will have heard that your CV has be a maximum of two pages or that a recruiter will spend only six seconds looking at your CV – don’t believe everything you hear. If your CV showcases your technical ability relevant to the job you are applying for, you can expect a recruiter email to land in your inbox within a few days of applying regardless of whether your CV is two or five pages long. Once your CV is full of valuable information, your recruiter will be glad to read it!

In terms of format, it’s good practice to keep a word format saved so you can amend and update your CV as required. Whether you want to submit your CV in word or PDF form, is totally up to you! There is no need to rewrite your CV for every role - start out with your 'core' CV and then tweak it depending on what the role is asking for. This might include adding an intro highlighting why you'd be a good fit for the role/company. 

What skills should I highlight when applying for a software engineer job?

While it is OK to highlight the soft skills that make you stand out on a personal level, you need to get specific on what software skills you have acquired to date. Flaunt your tech stack, whether you’re a guru on AWS or have advanced JavaScript experience, lay it out in a clear way to showcase your talent.

Even if you don’t have extensive experience in a particular area, but have completed a course or even worked alongside a developer who was a master on Big Data or infrastructure development – don’t be afraid to showcase your knowledge.

Software engineer positions are usually located within a larger team, so be sure to highlight any experience you have of working alongside a team and how you engaged with the other developers and engineers across a range of programmes.

The tech sector is constantly evolving so if you have knowledge of any new or innovative programmes or ways of working, showing you keep up to date on the latest tools, that would be a major bonus.

Any key achievements you have garnered in your time working as a software engineer should also be highlighted as part of your employment experience section. That amazing app you helped to build, or the time you helped to debug the code which was holding back an entire website - show it off!

My application has been shortlisted – what can I expect next?

The most common first step will be an initial contact with your recruiter to let you know you were shortlisted for the role – use this as an opportunity to find out what the recruitment process is so you can be prepared.

The recruitment process can include steps such as a technical assessment or take home test; a 'screen call' with your recruiter; a technical phone interview with a tech lead and formal face to face interviews.

In phone screens and technical interviews make sure you talk in detail about what you’ve been doing so far in your work and studies and build on the detail you have given in your CV. Be sure to highlight any initiatives you ran in your team or innovations you suggested to a project.

When completing the technical assessment, make sure to focus on the quality of the code you are delivering. Teams and Tech Leads like to see high quality, tested code in these submissions over something that 'just works'.

Finally for an interview, preparation is key. Work with your recruiter (we are there to help!) to find out as much information about the format of the interview and prepare accordingly. 

And don’t forget…

Leave your contact details on your CV! It’s surprising how many people craft a really on-point CV and tick all the right boxes, yet when the recruiter goes to get in touch there is no number or email. We can still track you down – but it will take a little extra time!

Are you looking for a role in software engineering? We are hiring for a number of roles – check out our opportunities page now!  

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