Job seekers often dismiss cover letters these days, treating them as a kind of relic of another time. And while it’s true that many employers do not require a cover letter as part of their application process, a great cover letter can be a significant tool during your search for a Software Engineer job, giving Hiring Managers a better sense of the context around your experience, as well as your personality, style, and ambitions.
So, what is a cover letter? Simply put, a cover letter is a personal letter that gives you the opportunity to outline the software development skills, work, and educational experience that make you a potential asset to their organization. A great way to think about it is to consider your cover letter as a complement to your resume; are there any potential questions your resume might not be able to address? Is there anything else you’d want prospective employers to know?
A well-thought-out software engineering cover letter can truly set you apart from other candidates, and given the competition for Software Engineer and Web Developer jobs, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that?
Software Engineer Cover Letters – a Step-by-Step Guide
To write a cover letter for a Software Engineer or Software Developer job application, you will want to focus on a few common ideas.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started on your cover letter:
- Write a strong introduction that captures the interest of prospective employers
- Highlight relevant skills and explain how they could benefit an employer
- Describe notable projects and achievements
- Explain persuasively why you want this particular software engineering job
- Edit the cover letter until your writing is polished and error-free
1. Write a strong introduction that will capture the interest of the prospective employer
The goal here should be to concisely list your years of experience and some kind of connection to the role or company, which would make you stand out. This could be as simple as stating, “I have over 10 years of experience as a Software Engineer, and I have been a power user of your product for much of that time. I’m confident I can be an asset to your organization.”
2. Highlight relevant technical skills and soft skills and explain how they could benefit the employer
Try to answer this question when writing your cover letter: How has your past experience prepared you for this job? Mastery of programming languages, and particularly the programming languages mentioned in the job description, would be a good addition as it clearly indicates your ability to step right into their role and the benefit you can bring them.
3. Describe notable projects and achievements
Completed projects are a great way to showcase your ability. Clearly outline the role you played on each project — software development team lead for instance — and add numbers that provide additional backstory and illustrate the success of the project (e.g. audience/user growth, increased engagement, etc.).
4. Explain persuasively why you want this particular software engineering job
You can’t assume that someone reading your cover letter has read the rest of your aThoroughly research the company you’re applying for and consider what makes it unique. Explain why you’re interested in this specific software engineering role.
5. Edit the cover letter until your writing is polished and error-free
Try to imagine the Software Engineer cover letter pile that a Hiring Manager is working This is maybe the simplest but most important guideline on this list. Nothing can disqualify you faster than a sloppy cover letter – one typo can put doubt in any hiring manager’s mind, and that can be hard to overcome when you’re competing with many other applicants.
How to Write a Great Cover Letter
Whether you’re writing a Software Engineer cover letter or trying to switch careers into product management, there are a few principles you can follow.
Here are a few general tips for writing great cover letters:
Personalize your Software Engineer cover letter
Recruiters and employers can quickly spot a generic cover letter that has been tossed around. Use what you know about a company’s culture or history to further make your case for why you’d be a uniquely good fit there. If you know the name of the Hiring Manager, include it in your letter for that added personal effect.
Highlight the skills that are in-demand
As mentioned above, take the time to carefully read the job qualifications and responsibilities in the job posting, and tailor your cover letter to show that you meet or exceed all the prerequisites. Show that you have all the technical skills necessary to do the job, but don’t overlook soft skills – again read the job description carefully to understand what they really value.
For jobs that have strict educational requirements, make it clear that you meet them. And it’s wise to highlight any continual learning or coding bootcamps you’ve pursued – that’s an attractive quality to any employer.
Showcase your work
You can’t assume that someone reading your cover letter has read the rest of your application package. It’s normal for a Software Developer cover letter to include links to a development portfolio or previously completed projects that now live online. If you have data or charts to show the success of past projects, don’t be shy about including that in your cover letter as well.
Try to imagine the Software Engineer cover letter pile that a Hiring Manager is working through and consider how to get your message across effectively in as few words as possible. If you write a cover letter that is concise and easy to read, the odds of it actually being read will go way up.
Prepare for any audience
You don’t necessarily know that the person hiring for a Software Engineer position is in software development or even in technology at all. It’s important to write your cover letter in a way that anyone could understand — not just other Software Engineers and Software Developers.
Triple check before hitting send
Read your cover letter, again and again. Show it to a trusted friend or colleague. Yes, we know that you’re not applying for a writing job, but as we said earlier, spelling and grammar mistakes are a big problem as they seem careless and sloppy, which are not goods trait for a Software Engineer to have.
How to Create an Outline for a Software Engineer Cover Letter
After you have carefully reviewed the job description, consider all your Software Engineer skills, experience, and knowledge that are relevant to the position.
When you’re ready to start drafting your cover letter, you can follow this general outline:
- Hiring Manager’s name and title
- Greeting (Dear …)
- Introductory paragraph with an overview of who you are
- Body paragraphs with more detail on your qualifications and experience
- Closing paragraph summarizing why you’re the right fit for the job
- Polite sign off
Let’s take a closer look at each component:
This should include your name, email address, and phone number, along with links to your web or software development portfolio and any professional social media accounts. Don’t forget to include the company’s name and address along with the hiring manager’s name, if you have it. You should also greet the hiring manager by name if you have that information.
Write your introduction as if it’s the only part of the cover letter that a potential employer might read. Don’t wait until the body of the cover letter to tout your professional achievements, programming prowess, or training milestones. Express right away why you want the job and why you would be an ideal hire.
Software engineering skills, experience, and accomplishments
In the ensuing paragraphs you can go into more detail on your years of experience and all the relevant skills you bring to any Software Engineer job. Highlight your education and training, the programming languages you understand, and any notable projects you’ve worked on. Include numbers and data that back up your success, like a huge traffic boost or notable user feedback.
Close the deal
Wrap up your letter by reiterating your interest in the potential job and how you can be an asset to the company. If a busy employer has made it this far in the cover letter, there’s likely some interest, so bring it home with a persuasive and well-written ending circling back to the points you made previously in the letter.
Software Engineer Cover Letter Samples
As you’re writing, search for other cover letter examples and use these as a comparison point. Are there any elements that you’ve overlooked? Is there any information that would make a good addition to your letter? Do you like the way another Software Engineer cover letter worded something? Take bits and pieces of these cover letter examples and combine them to make something of your own.
Let’s take a closer look at a couple of Software Engineer cover letter examples:
Sample Software Engineer cover letter example #1
Dear hiring manager,
As a passionate Software Engineer and long-time admirer of 123 Technical, I was excited to see an opening for a Junior Software Engineer role. Considering my significant programming experience, technical expertise, and the recent internship I completed in software development, I am confident I have the key skills to be an asset to 123 Technical.
During my internship with ABC Business, I gained hands-on experience coding under the direction of a team, collaborating on software projects, and testing systems and applications. One of my responsibilities was developing innovative solutions across a variety of software platforms. Some of my accomplishments include helping to create mobile-ready expense tracking software for clients as well as the creation of a new document management system.
I was also instrumental in building and implementing an automated bug tracking system that would spot issues in the development process, ultimately resulting in a 22 percent reduction in issues reported in the later stages of development.
I have attached a copy of my resume detailing my education and experience. I look forward to learning more about the Software Engineer position at 123 Technical. I can be reached anytime by phone at 555-555-5555 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sample Software Engineer cover letter example #2
Dear hiring manager,
Please accept my application for the Software Engineer position at Technology Resources. Over the course of five years in software engineering, I have attained significant experience coding with a variety of programming languages, working directly with corporate leadership and clients, and steering projects while leading software development teams. I believe I would be an excellent addition to the Technology Resources team.
I also have experience in Agile project management, data science, and creating and maintaining custom web and mobile applications.
Thank you for taking the time to review my application. I look forward to sharing more about my skills and experiences and how they could help me hit the ground running with Technology Resources. Feel free to contact me at 555-555-5555 or email@example.com.
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